Director J.P. Bayona has said repeatedly he wants to take the Jurassic franchise in a different direction with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and at this point he has little choice. Until now, every movie in the series has followed the same structure: people get stuck on an island, dinosaurs hunt them, they freak out. Jurassic World was able to ride a nostalgia wave to make the well-worn plot feel a BIT fresh, but that trick won’t work twice.
In this new featurette, Bayona and the cast reveal how they’re attempting to take the story off the island and shift the focus to things the previous movies haven’t delved into before, at least not as devotedly. That’s the goal, but dinosaurs visiting the city may remind people of Lost World (and the dinosaur auction may remind people of King Kong). Is there really anything left to pick among these bones?
It doesn’t help that Universal has packed the Fallen Kingdom trailers with things that feel familiar. Scenes intended to be intense, like when the long-fingered dino creeps up on a kid in bed, just fall flat. We know Universal will never allow a child to be eaten, especially in a tentpole PG-13 movie. But the thing is, that was also the case back in 1993 and yet the scene with the raptors in the soup kitchen is still incredibly tense. If the directing is good enough, people will forget how tropes work.
JP and company have a plan to extend this narrative’s life, but whether it succeeds or not will depend on the final product. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens June 22.