Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. A film which has grown on me more as I have had the opportunity to re-watch it after its release. Now, I know what you’re thinking – Fallen Kingdom being a fundamentally human story? How? Isn’t this the entry in the series with the most dinosaurs yet – so surely, it’s a dinosaur story? Well – you are right to some extent. Whilst the dinosaurs are an important component of this film – they are, in many ways, a consequence of human actions. Let’s take a deep dive into Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and how it is a compelling study on many human characteristics.
Let’s start with a very visual representation of part of the human element – our inability to learn from our mistakes, even when we burry them. We get a very deliberate, very crucial visual representation of this within Fallen Kingdom – when the submarine in Mosasaur Lagoon uncovers the Indominus Rex skeleton. This sequence here is a clear, un-paralleled representation of how we, as a species, are often blind to our mistakes – even when we burry them. The end of Jurassic World is apparent – the mistake which ended the park has been buried deep in the waves, as it should be. So, seeing it resuscitated here within Fallen Kingdom’s opening sequence almost shows us how we as a species often find ourselves stuck in an infinite loop – making the same mistakes repeatedly without learning from our mistakes. This emphasises how feelings such as greed, and the desire to succeed and build our ego, can often blind us to our failings and shortcomings as individuals. It’s an interesting factor – and an element which has many real-world parallels. Take, for example, the Great War. Believed to be the war to end all wars, humanity was meant to learn from their mistakes and avoid future conflict. This, of course, did not happen – and it is this idea of us sometimes being blind to our mistakes even when colossal loss occurs that Fallen Kingdom really explores well.
We also see, quite clearly within the film, how greed can perhaps blind us to our ethical and moral responsibilities within a situation. Take, for example, the sequence where Wheatley tranquilises Owen and leaves him behind. Or, the sequence where Claire and Franklin are trapped within the control bunker by the mercenaries supposed to be protecting them. In both scenarios, the actions of individuals motivated by greed put people in situations where they can potentially lose their lives. This is not too dis-similar to situations which have un-ravelled within the real world, where companies have perhaps focussed on profit at the expense of the lives of employees and innocent parties. This creates, again, an interesting parallel to the real world – and the idea that our lack of comprehension of the bigger picture within the real world can sometimes be mired by greed and personal motivations. This is a popular topic for many films and television shows to study and tackle – but it feels particularly prominent within Fallen Kingdom – particularly when we later come to the sequences which unfold at Lockwood Manor.
When we arrive at Lockwood Manor – the stakes are elevated – with large, world effecting actions occurring where individuals are focussed on the monetary value of something. This almost becomes a study on consumer greed – with auction guests keen to buy the most exotic and rarest dinosaurs so they have something to hold as distinguishing them out from the crowd. It’s an interesting study on human nature – as we see very similar behaviours within the real world, particularly when it comes to themes like fashion and class. Often, you will see individuals investing in expensive clothes, expensive watches or vehicles – losing sight of their far-reaching actions as they are absorbed within a moment of status. Fallen Kingdom uses this to communicate to us how greed and status can be damaging – showing us how these creatures are not meant to be in our ecosystem but we have lost the far-sightedness necessary to prevent potential horror from being thrust upon our world. It’s interesting as well because the idea of class and status marries beautifully with the idea of trophy hunting – something which exists within the real world. In the real world, you may have ivory markets or markets selling certain creatures – something which again is not too dis-similar to the themes explored in Fallen Kingdom. Fallen Kingdom uses this to create a poignant reminder of how human actions such as animal trafficking has a damaging and negative lasting impact on the planet.
Lockwood Manor also serves to further this idea of greed – where we get a perfect look at imperfect human consumerism through the Indoraptor. The Indoraptor is the literal representation of consumer greed in itself – and the demand for products before they are ready. This is something we see within the real world – particularly with technology. The second something is released, there is usually the demand for the next item – forcing designers and developers to rush to develop technology which isn’t quite ready for release. The Indoraptor, as such, has its flaws – something which is interesting as it parallels a lot of what we do see when this occurs within the real world. Here – the Indoraptor being a sickly prototype which is bid on anyway perfectly emphasis how the consumer world has become focussed on the want and necessity for a product without questioning whether it is fit for purpose. This has become an incredibly unhealthy characteristic – and something which Fallen Kingdom chooses to explore to its full extent, really emphasising how our lack of patience can betray us in the long run.
The very end moments of Fallen Kingdom also beautifully reflect a common misconception of humanity – that we can control things which are far out of our control. These are themes we have seen first addressed in Jurassic Park. As Ian Malcolm says: “Life cannot be contained. It breaks free. Life, finds a way.”. This is a very true statement and can be applied to elements of life where we think we can control nature but in fact we cannot. I find this incredibly interesting as it explores beautifully the misconception of control – when very little is under our control. By showing the creatures at the end out in the wild – we show that crucially, actions have consequences – and that our actions as a species, if they do indeed damage the ecosystem, can have consequences that we cannot begin to comprehend. This – combined with the rest of the elements we’ve touched on – beautifully describes the ‘Human Element’ of the Jurassic World franchise.
I personally think that Colin Trevorrow has done a fantastic job exploring this – as it explores themes which are relevant to the real world and which may very well become real if we are not careful. Whilst dinosaurs will not suddenly exist on the mainland, we may very well face consequences we cannot begin to comprehend if we do not understand the ‘Human Element’ and learn to control it and our lust for greed. Fallen Kingdom is more than a dinosaur film – it’s a study on both our strengths and shortcomings of a species, and is something which I hope we will see more of in Jurassic World 3. Colin, Emily – over to you!