To the surprise of no one, Jurassic World is officially getting a sequel. Last night, Universal announced that Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and screenwriters Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly will all be returning for the film, which has a confirmed release date of June 22, 2018. The untitled sequel will technically be the fifth film in the blockbuster Jurassic Park franchise, despite that Jurassic World did not acknowledge the events of The Lost World or Jurassic Park III in its timeline.
Jurassic Park was a monument in the evolution of cinema that opened the door to unlimited possibilities in special effects. It also captured the imaginations of kids, adults, and film fans everywhere. On top of that, it gave us great characters with smart ideas and an engaging story.
Jurassic World has made a monumental effect on the box office pulling in over $1.5 billion worldwide and counting, making it the third highest grossing movie of all time. In terms of its quality however, reaction has been decidedly mixed. Some critics and audiences loved the film, citing it as mindless fun or the best of the sequels. Others have derided it as unbearably stupid or a slap in the face to the original. I myself enjoyed Jurassic World in the same way as I enjoyed Sharknado or The Room, which means I thought it was entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
Regardless of your feelings towards Jurassic World, I doubt anyone would or could defend that it is in the same level as Jurassic Park. At best, it’s a big dumb fun monster movie. And while it would be difficult to create a film as powerful as the original film was, I don’t believe it’s impossible. Below are a few suggestions as to how the filmmakers of Jurassic World 2 can make a film that could be seen as the Empire Strikes Back of the franchise:
Bring Back the Original Cast
Granted this did not work for The Lost World or Jurassic Park III, but in the case of Jurassic World, these characters would have pivotal reactions or roles in relation to keeping Jurassic World from ever opening. Imagine Ian Malcolm launching a protest conspiracy blog or seeing Tim and Lex go on record having been almost eaten by both a T-Rex and a pack of velociraptors. Now with the aftermath of the events in Jurassic World, there is a chance to include these characters at the very least in cameo appearances.
Hire Dan Murrel as a Writer or Story Consultant
If you haven’t seen Dan Murrel’s Movie Fight against Andy Signore on my favourite You Tube channel – Screen Junkies – regarding the plot of the next Jurassic Park film, go watch it once you’re done reading this article. In it, Mr. Murrel pitches a pretty amazing Jurassic World sequel that expands on the lore of the original films but takes the franchise in a new direction from dinosaurs chasing and eating people. Even if that story does not make it to the screen, this is a chance for Universal to bring in someone who is a fan of the franchise who is also passionate about good cinema.
Get Rid of the Blatantly Obvious Product Placement
I completely understand that you need to have product placement in a film. But it’s one thing to see products in the background and another thing to be able to create your own drinking game based on how many times you see someone holding a Starbucks cup. This cheapens the movie immensely as Michael Bay has proven so many times.
Expand on Chris Pratt’s Character
By far the most only interesting character in Jurassic World, Owen (Chris Pratt) has an ability to tame one of the most menacing creatures of any movie. Pratt also manages to include the condescending snarky humour that Jeff Goldblum brought to Jurassic Park. Keeping the sequel focused on developing his character, and working him even more into the mythology takes care of including the best aspect of Jurassic World.
Make a Serious Movie
Jurassic Park had a lot of humour but the film took itself seriously. The biggest problem with all of this franchise’s sequels is that they dumb themselves down to brainless monster movies with cookie cutter characters making really bad decisions while spewing bad one-liners like “Mommy’s very angry” or “The triceratops are going at it again.” If a movie is going to carry the Jurassic Park name, it has to have that Jurassic Park essence, something that none of the sequels have been able to accomplish.
Focus on Likable Human Characters
You know something is wrong with the portrayal of the humans in your movie when the best scene is a bitchy assistant getting yanked up by a pterodactyl, thrown into a body of water and then subsequently eaten by another dinosaur. This was entertaining because you hated this character, and you don’t connect with any of the characters in Jurassic World, at least not in the way you connected with Alan Grant, Ellie Sadler, Lex, Tim, Malcolm, and Samuel L. Jackson. This has to change for the next movie, because if you don’t care what happens to the characters, you’re watching nothing more than a big dumb monster movie.
Less CGI and More Animatronics
Jurassic Park came out 22 years ago and the effects are far superior to anything in Jurassic World. That is sad. Yes, the CGI dino vs dino action was fun, but it looked cheesy and unrealistic. There was nothing cheesy or unrealistic about the way the animatronic dinosaurs in Jurassic Park looked and moved. The CGI in Jurassic World was lazy and unnecessarily overused. This needs to be corrected for the sequel by replacing the overuse of CGI with better use of animatronic dinosaurs while using CGI to smooth it out. It may also help the filmmakers from coming up with stupid ideas like the Gyrosphere, a free roaming, customer controlled bubble designed to move into dino hoards that would never pass any plausible liability regulations or safety tests. Animatronics may also help by establishing a scale of the dinosaurs, instead of having the Indominus Rex looking about as big as a skyscraper in one scene and then smaller than a T-Rex in another.
These are just some suggestions from an armchair critic who loved the original Jurassic Park and is still waiting for a sequel in the same league as that film. Oh, and one last suggestion: More Ian Malcolm.