There seems to be a trend of my favourite film franchises reaching instalment # 3, declaring themselves trilogies and then overjoying me about a decade later with a new fourth movie. It happened in 2011 with Scream 4 (for which I contributed several articles to Scream-Trilogy.net) and it’s happening now with Jurassic Park 4 AKA Jurassic World. It’s weird that I’ve not written about it yet, but I’ve been pre-occupied with my new web series, Andrew and…
I have, however, spent plenty of time mentally over-exciting myself at the prospect of a film that I’ve waited nearly 15 years for; a film that has come tantalizingly close to fruition so many times over the past decade, having been in Development Hell for so long (check out my Screen Robot article from last summer about other franchises we are all holding hope for). There was a time when Jurassic Park 4 was going to star Keira Knightley and be about dino-human-dogs. That’s actually true.
I’m not writing this post to tell you how the release of this movie makes me feel like a child again, because who cares about my personal obsession with it. What I do want to do is analyse one major missing link from the publicity and the trailers; a missing link that no-one seems to have addressed at length yet – which is slightly nuts.
The trailers have very cleverly focused on the “New Attraction” arriving at Jurassic World (which is now in full swing of being a functioning dinosaur theme park with members of the public in it and everything). It’s all about the Indominus Rex. It’s big, it’s bad, it ate its sister. It’s a hybrid – and a dangerous one. They obviously didn’t think that crossing the DNA of a graceful brachiosaurus with a frolicking gallimimus was going to cut the mustard.
So the publicity for Jurassic World has very much been Indominus Rex-Indominus Rex-Indominus Rex (with a new underwater dinosaur and some house-trained velociraptors thrown in for good measure). But who are we forgetting? Which JP star is blindingly absent from all of this prehistoric hoopla?
One Ms. T. Rex, of course.
Now, we know she’s there. There have been a couple of subtle blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references to her in the trailers. Namely in the form of these very brief shots:
Let’s analyse shall we? We know that there’s a section of the new park called Tyrannosaurus Rex Kingdom. But only really die-hard fans who probably have “Jurassic World” set up on their Google alerts will be aware of this kind of information. Did you know, for example, that there are two websites in existence that are plugging the film as if it were actually a real theme park. Jurassicworld.com and masraniglobal.com are the official websites of the park and it’s founding organisation respectively. Trawling these sites explains all sorts – from what happened when those pteranodons got loose at the end of Jurassic Park 3 to how Masrani Global managed to herd up all the released creatures from Jurassic Park 1 and get them back into containment. The Jurassic World website lists all the areas of the park (you don’t go round in an electronic jeep anymore – they’ve obviously learnt that isn’t great if there’s a power cut) including Tyrannosaurus Rex Kingdom, which houses the only T-Rex in the park. And this isn’t any old T-Rex – it’s only the same ruddy one from Jurassic Park 1. She’s not some green new creation, she’s a seasoned pro.
So why hasn’t this been talked about in the run up to release? Why have we only been offered a quick glimpse of the new T-Rex enclosure, featuring a goat for old time’s sake? Why have we just seen a brief shot of the tyrannosaur’s head? Why haven’t we celebrated Ms. Rex’s comeback with a royal visit and a midnight luau on a Costa Rican beach?
I’ll tell you why, bitches! Because the filmmakers and PR people are clever little geese. T-Rex is the star! She was the star of Jurassic Park – her emergence from that paddock was exhilarating. She didn’t come out of the trees when the tour stopped outside her fence during the planned tour. She waited til it was rainy and dark to make her entrance. Her Site B counterpart was the star of The Lost World. But they had to make her three-times as threatening so threw in a Mr. Rex and an infant to add to the drama. Say what you want about The Lost World (some people didn’t like it, never really understood why not) but the two adult tyrannosaurs teaming up to save their offspring by pushing that trailer of a cliff was actually more thrilling in a way than what happened to the kids in the car in JP1. And then of course there was the rampage in San Diego.
Then came Jurassic Park 3 – and T-Rex was totally cheated. There was one appearance, in broad daylight, which was short-lived. This T-Rex got about 2 minutes screen time before being killed off by a spinosaurus. Whatever. I appreciate JP3’s attempt to mix things up with a new villain, but at least have the T-Rex trash a vehicle or something!
One might assume that the T-Rex is being given the same treatment in Jurassic World. But my theory is that the publicity is focusing on Indominus Rex for a reason – to swirl mystique around our old friend the tyrannosaur to make her entrance all the more spectacular. The way, I suppose, to build up the same intensity that a T-Rex encounter had in 1993 is to leave a 14 year gap between Jurassic Park films and barely reference her at all; make us wonder where she is, so that when we first see her in Jurassic World it’s as thrilling as it was back in the day.
My other theory is that the old gal will actually save the day. Jurassic World doesn’t appear to suffer from a power outage, from what I can deduce from the trailers. Indominus Rex looks like she escapes because she’s just a bad-ass. My guess is that Bryce Dallas Howard will whip out her flare circa 1993 and use it to force Ms. Rex out of Tyrannosaur Kingdom and into the wild to stop the new kid on the genetically modified block. And when this finally happens, the elusiveness that has been wrapped around Tyrannosaur 1.0 like a publicity-fuelled electric fence will have been all the more worth it.
Oh, and I’m pretty sure this shot is T-Rex related as well. Just a hunch: