Jurassic World Movie Analysis
The Jurassic World movie revived a franchise that lay dormant for fourteen years. After the mixed critical reception of the prior sequels, Universal put the Jurassic Park series on hold. While numerous scripts were presented, none of them gained enough traction to move forward, until now.
This story successfully combines progress and nostalgia. Twenty-two years after the disaster in Jurassic Park, a park is finally open on Isla Nublar. Jurassic World brought audiences back to the original island to experience the park we had always dreamed of seeing.
The Masrani Global Corporation, our new InGen owners, once again exposes the hubris of man. Despite the obvious draw from seeing dinosaurs and other extinct animals, the public is always demanding something bigger and better to hold their attention.
Advancements in cloning have given geneticists the tools necessary to make dreams a reality. In a business move, the company decides to pursue genetically modified dinosaur hybrids. The plot mirrors the Hollywood production standards, even with this franchise. Each movie sought to outdo its predecessor, to meet growing audience demands.
Jurassic World delivered on its promise, earning a $208.8 million opening weekend. This, at the time, broke the box office record, to the surprise of most in the film industry. Indeed, many still hail this entry as the best Jurassic Park sequel. What made this movie such a success?
Making Jurassic World
Director Colin Trevorrow was selected to direct Jurassic World despite only directing one prior movie (Safety Not Guaranteed). With the aid of Steven Spielberg as executive producer, Trevorrow would silence most critics with his faithful continuation of the Jurassic Park franchise.
After Jurassic Park 3, a series of downright terrible scripts emerged. Leaks of a plot involving militarized dinosaurs concerned fans. Hope for the direction of this sequel would fall directly on the shoulders of Trevorrow, a relatively unknown director at the time.
Trevorrow, like Spielberg, took the approach of directing from the perspective of a child. The audience gets to experience a fully-functional theme park for the first time. To achieve this, the production required a new approach in set design than that of the prior movies.
Putting it all Together
As this was the first film to return to Isla Nublar, props to recreate the artifacts of the original park were created. Jurassic World employed a heavy amount of nostalgia by continually giving fans callbacks to the original. This included the original pair of night vision goggles, artificially aged for the film before being returned to their display case.
Though nostalgia was the name of the game, full-sized animatronic creatures were no longer the norm. The advancement of CGI, a tool that the previous films had pioneered, led to a nearly complete adoption of CGI over practical effects. The team at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) continued to innovate during the years since Jurassic Park 3.
One standout achievement was the implementation of a dinosaur app. This allowed those on set to visualize how a shot would appear once the dinosaurs were added.
Motion capture technology was used to give the dinosaurs fluid motions and achieve a greater degree of realism than was possible before. Still, audiences felt that something was off.
Choices made in lighting, scale, and overall dynamics lacked the authentic feel that some scenes from the original performed masterfully. The over-dependence on CGI was heavily criticized and remains a decision that Trevorrow has moved to roll back in the following Jurassic World movies.
The Cast of Jurassic World
Played by: Bryce Dallas Howard
Bio: Claire Dearing works as the park manager for Jurassic World. She is a businesswoman extremely focused on her career. When her nephews visit the park, she must leave her comfort zone as an administrator to become a hero on the front lines. She learns to appreciate the dinosaurs as more than assets.
Played by: Chris Pratt
Bio: Owen Grady was recruited for the IBRIS (Integrated Behavioral Raptor Intelligence Study) Project to study Velociraptor intelligence. Owen successfully trains the Raptor Squad to follow commands. He is skeptical of Vic Hoskin’s plot to weaponize dinosaurs but must go to extreme measures to save lives. His bond with Blue becomes one of the most important relationships in the franchise.
Played by: Irrfan Khan
Bio: Simon Masrani is the CEO of Masrani Global Corporation. He acquired InGen following the death of John Hammond in 1998. Masrani finally brings John Hammond’s dream to the world. Unfortunately, his desire to bring about more impressive attractions leads to his downfall. Masrani learns that the Indominous was a mistake and must act to save his park from disaster.
Dr. Henry Wu
Played by: B.D. Wong
Bio: Dr. Wu resumed his genetic research before the events of Jurassic Park 3. He continues to push the boundaries of genetics. Under pressure from park supervisors, he creates the most vicious creature the world has ever seen: Indominous rex. Wu finds opportunities to continue his research despite the collapse of Jurassic World.
Played by: Vincent D’Onofrio
Bio: Vic Hoskins eagerly hopes to perform a field test for the IBRIS Project. When Owen demonstrates the obedience of the Raptor Squad, Hoskin finds an opportunity to do just that. While he meets resistance from Owen and Bary, he stands firm on the mantra “that progress always wins.”
Played by: Omar Sy
Bio: Bary is involved with the IBRIS Project training of the park’s Velociraptor. Bary shares his friend Owen’s skepticism of weaponizing dinosaurs and tries desperately to stop Hoskins. When the tide turns, Bary realizes that his fears were correct.
Played by: Ty Simpkins
Bio: Gray Mitchell is Claire Dearing’s dinosaur-obsessed nephew. While traumatized by his parents’ impending divorce, Gray is excited to see dinosaurs in the flesh. When chaos erupts in the park, he must work with his brother to survive. His knowledge of dinosaurs proves vital to restoring order to Isla Nublar.
Played by: Nick Robinson
Bio: Zach Mitchell is Claire’s nephew who reluctantly comes to visit the park with his brother. He is characterized as a typical teenager, tied to his phone and unphased by the wonder of dinosaurs. Once the Indominous escapes, Zach must step up to help his brother. The two must overcome the dangers of the jungle to make it back in one piece.
Played by: Katie McGrath
Bio: Zara Young is Clarie’s assistant who is tasked with the job of nanny once Zach and Gray arrive at Jurassic World. Zara becomes distracted by her phone while watching the kids, allowing them to sneak off into the park. While frantically searching for them, she has an adventure of her own.
Played by: Jake Johnson
Bio: Lowery works in the control room of Jurassic World. He serves to provide comic relief during tense moments. In fact, he is a remarkably relatable character that is nostalgic for Jurassic Park and is prone to awkward moments.
Played by: Lauren Lapkus
Bio: Vivian works in the control room at Jurassic World where she is faced with tragedy after the breakout. Vivian remains involved in directing communications until InGen takes control of operations as the situation spirals out of control. She later departs the island for the last time.
Dinosaurs of Jurassic World
The Science of Jurassic World
Was Mosasaurus That Enormous?
The Mosasaurus in Jurassic World is very oversized in comparison to its extinct counterpart. Mosasaurus probably reached a maximum size of around 50 feet (15 meters) in length. There is notable controversy over the actual length of the creature portrayed in Jurassic World. Some have used the Great White Shark from the feeding scene to estimate length, erroneously assuming a shark length of 21 feet (6 meters). This is the size of the largest Great White ever officially recorded.
Promotional materials associated with the film give varying size estimates. The most likely estimates put the overall length of the animal at around 72 feet (22 meters). While this is tremendously oversized, Dr. Wu gives a reason for why this might be the case. He explains how pressure from park management has led to the creation of monsters to excite the public rather than accurate representations of animals. It is plausible that genetic manipulation was done to make the Mosasaurus more impressive to audiences. The filmmakers had a similar purpose in mind.
Was Indominous a ‘Monster’?
A common criticism of the dinosaurs of the Jurassic Park franchise is that they behave too much like monsters rather than as animals. Jurassic World presents many interesting behaviors with the hybrid Indominous rex. The animals portrayed in the films are extinct and very little is known about the complexities of their behavior. This is especially true of the hybrids which combined traits of multiple animals.
The I. rex was created to be a monster, though, it is no more monstrous than modern animals. Many are shocked to learn that she killed and ate her sibling. Yet, fratricide does occur in nature with many modern animals, including many species of birds such as the Golden Eagle. The notion that humans are the only creatures that kill for sport is a myth.
Killer Whales have been known to torture their prey and dolphins have been witnessed killing porpoises for no apparent reason. Dr. Wu even states, “To a canary, a cat is a monster.” House cats are some of the most ruthless killers of all, rarely consuming what they kill. Indominous was no more a monster than modern animals.
Were the Indominous Abilities Possible?
Some would argue that Indominous rex took on the persona of the movie monster Godzilla through its unique abilities. Though the prospect of so many features on one creature is terrifying, all of its traits are paralleled in nature. From the film and official sources, we know that the classified genome of I. rex consists of the following: Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Carnotaurus, Giganotosaurus, Rugops, Majungasaurus, cuttlefish, tree frog, and pit adder. Dr. Wu tries to explain away these dangerous traits as byproducts of its genetic code, but as we may infer from the dialogue that follows that these traits were selected to create the ultimate military weapon.
Cuttlefish possess some of the most impressive camouflage of the animal kingdom, blending rapidly into their surroundings. Likewise, tree frog camouflage works beyond visible light, into the infrared spectrum of light. Additionally, many snakes can detect infrared thermal radiation through what is known as the loreal pit. These traits could theoretically have been used by dinosaurs.
From the dinosaurs listed here, we can infer that the thickness of the skin derived from the abelisaurids, characterized by their bony osteoderms. The addition of Giganotosaurus and Tyrannosaurus for size and power, Therizinosaurus for killing arms, and Velociraptor for intelligence, makes this the ultimate predator. Isolating the genes to create such an intricate specimen would be a tall order, but given the already impossible feats of these movie scientists, it’s not too shocking.
How long did Tyrannosaurs Live?
In Jurassic World, we witness the return of the Tyrannosaurus seen in the first film. The promotional material states that she lived on Isla Nublar for around 25 years. While no one has a living Tyrannosaurus to test the actual lifespan, paleontologists have the fossil record as a guide. Using analysis of growth lines and comparisons between similar animals, some paleontologists believe that the Tyrannosaurus we know as Sue was about 28 years old at the time of death.
It is presumed that Sue did not die of old age, as few wild animals ever do. The Jurassic Park T. rex had the advantage of being the largest predator on Isla Nublar for most of her life. She spent less than 10 years in the wild, being fed in the safety of a park setting. The addition of veterinary care often extends the lifespan of animals in zoos. Her appearance in Jurassic World falls within a reasonable age range given the circumstances.
Could Anyone Train a Dinosaur?
The answer would depend on what one would consider trained. The Velociraptor portrayed in the Jurassic Park saga are highly exaggerated. Based on the evidence from the previous films, this training program makes perfect sense. These fictional Velociraptor are touted as the smartest animals to ever live aside from humans. While this is a huge upgrade from their extinct counterparts, some dinosaurs have been trained by humans.
Modern birds are now classified as dinosaurs. Birds of prey, pigeons, crows, and other species have demonstrated the ability to follow commands, as explained by National Geographic. If the extinct dromeosaurs shared similar levels of intelligence, it would be feasible to assume that they could respond to modern training techniques.
Are Hybrid Dinosaurs Plausible?
One aspect of Jurassic World that made many fans cringe was the hybrid dinosaur plot. For many, this was a radical idea that threatened to further damage the believability of the franchise. Scientifically speaking, how plausible are these hybrids?
Looking at the prior movies in the franchise, we realize that all the animals are hybrids. Scientists combined DNA from various species of modern animals in order to fill the gaps in the fossil remains. Therefore, the Indominous offers a more realistic portrayal of the cloning outcomes than the other dinosaurs. If dinosaurs were spliced with frog DNA, we would expect amphibian traits to be more pronounced. Instead, almost all visual attributes resemble dinosaurs, albeit with Hollywood adaptations.
Hybridization is likely the closest we will ever come to dinosaurs. The current consensus among scientists is that there would never be enough DNA to reconstruct a dinosaur; the best hope would be reverse engineering modern birds, in essence, turning on select genes to resemble traits of extinct dinosaurs.
Best Jurassic World Quotes
“It’s all about control with you. I don’t control the raptors. It’s a relationship. It’s based on mutual respect. That’s why you and I never had a second date.” – Owen Grady
“You ever wonder why there was a job opening? Don’t turn your back to the cage.” – Owen Grady
“We needed something scary and easy to pronounce. You should hear a four-year-old try to say Archaeornithomimus.” – Claire Dearing
“The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control.” – Simon Masrani
“We have always filled gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And, if their genetic code was pure, many of them would look quite different. But you didn’t ask for reality, you asked for more teeth.” – Dr. Henry Wu
“Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.” – Dr. Henry Wu
“I know. It was terrible. I mean, I know a lot of people died, but that first park was just legit, you know? They didn’t rely on all these genetic hybrids. They had real dinosaurs.” – Lowery Cruthers
Jurassic World Trivia
Chris Pratt, in a behind-the-scenes video for Parks and Recreation, joked about texting with Steven Spielberg about his upcoming role in Jurassic Park 4. Little did he know, he would go on to star in Jurassic World.
Lauren Lapkus, the actress who plays the character, Vivian Krill, improvised the line “I have a boyfriend” in response to Lowery’s kiss attempt. Colin Trevorrow found this line funny and kept it in the film.
The scene where Claire Dearing runs from the Tyrannosaurus wearing high heels drew a surprising amount of criticism for being a sexist stereotype. Bryce Dallas Howard insisted that her character keep the heels on for this scene for consistency.
The Tyrannosaurus featured in Jurassic World was intended to be the original dinosaur from Jurassic Park. She can be identified by her scars which were dealt to her during the epic final battle with the Velociraptor in that movie.
Jimmy Buffet makes a brief cameo appearance in Jurassic World. As the guests flee from the attacking pterosaurs, he is the guy who braves danger to save some precious margaritas.