How Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Drives Home the Franchise Themes

WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, in theaters June 22.

Since 1993, audiences have flocked to theaters whenever a new instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise is released. The films won people over with thrilling scares, unforgettable shots of colossal reptiles and all the gory action any horror film fanatic could ask for. It's why the Velociraptors and T-Rex are the most well known creatures from the film series.

It's all great fun, but it also makes it tragically easy to forget that there's actually something more meaningful beneath the vicious action that almost none of the films in the franchise have been able to successfully convey, with the exception of the original Jurassic Park (directed by Steven Spielberg) and the recently released Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (J.A Bayona). To really appreciate how the newest film returns to the franchise to form with regards to its themes, we have to take a look back.


The original Jurassic Park was highly focused on illustrating the points of a philosophical and moral debate, much like Michael Crichton's novel of the same name, on which the film was based. The movie goes a step further than the book, altering the characters just a little bit. For example, among other changes, Alan Grant (Sam Niell) behaves like much more of an academic in the film than his novel counterpart.

More importantly, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who is the voice of reason in the story, is far less abrasive in the film (arguably due to Golblum's incomparable charm), which allows a real discussion to take place with little interference from emotionally charged dialogue. The crux of the film's debate takes place at the lunch scene in the first film in which the major characters discuss the ethical, philosophical and practical issues with a cavalier attitude toward science, in this case represented by potentially destructive ancient dinosaurs.

It was a great discussion, but its impact wasn't as large as it could have been because there was very little emotion behind it. It didn't help that the film essentially forgot about the conversation by the second act when all hell started to break loose on the island with the exception of one brief scene in which Ellie Satler tries to make Hammond see that he's clinging to the illusion of control. The films that followed failed to revisit the debate and focused on showcasing different dinosaurs for no other reason than because those dinosaurs are exciting to watch. The purpose behind those dinosaurs, in the context of the franchise's message, was almost lost as they came dangerously close to becoming little more than gimmicks.

Starman feature header
A Constellation of Starmen: DC's Weirdest Superhero Legacy, Explained

More in CBR Exclusives