Posts Tagged ‘Jurassic World’

 

 

First I want to start off this blog post by saying that I am in no way an “insider,” or know really anything about anything. I’m a die hard fan of Jurassic Park (big shocker there,) and Universal theme parks in general. I can only speak on behalf of the experiences I’ve had, what I’ve read in articles as well as other postings online, and also from what I’ve heard from interviews. I’m just a nerd, with big thoughts and big questions.  Also, for a majority of this post I’ll be talking mainly about Universal Orlando although it does not totally negate the dynamic of Jurassic Park at Universal Hollywood.

Secondly, I’ll start with this:

 

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I received this letter… oh, back in 2004 when I was 12 years old. A little bit of context to the letter: in 2003 my family surprised me with a trip to Universal Orlando for my birthday. This was a BIG deal. Literally ever since I knew that Universal Hollywood had a Jurassic Park ride I had wanted to go. When Orlando announced Islands of Adventure and their Jurassic Park island (called Isla Adventura for those who are wondering) I was dead set on going at some point in my life. The problem was a trip like that is that it’s obviously expensive and I was never sure I was going to be able to go. Then came my 12th birthday and my parents absolutely shocked me when I was handed the plane tickets for our Florida getaway.

That trip in and of itself is an entire grand memory and filled with stories I may sometime divulge. But for now all you need to know is a few things:

  • From that moment on Universal was set in stone as my theme park destination of choice
  • Jurassic Park awed me
  • Not all of the Jurassic Park area was open.

You see, unbeknown to us at the time Universal had closed down both the bottom half of the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, as well as their Triceratops Encounter. At this time Universa was working on that years Halloween Horror Nights, and they were using the Jurassic Park area for a zone and these specific areas for two houses- Jungle of Doom, and Psycho Scareapy.

Once I got home my first instinct was the write to Universal and tell them how amazing of a time I had (mind, this was the days before Twitter and other forms of social media like that.) In that letter I told them how much fun I had, as well as how much I hope to attend again in the future so that I could hopefully get the full experience (since two of the attractions were closed) as well as attend Halloween Horror Nights- which I very quickly became enamored with as well.

Months went by and I had all but forgotten about the letter, until the gem I posted above arrived at my house. I was so excited when I got this. Like, beyond excited. Not only was I getting a letter back from Universal directly, they were telling me special information about their Jurassic Park area. A new attraction was going to replace Triceratops Encounter? No way! While I always wanted to experience Trike Encounter, I couldn’t not be excited for the idea of the Jurassic area getting some new love! It had been two years since Jurassic Park 3 and this was right on the cusp of Jurassic 4 going in to perpetual limbo for a LONG time. I was excited.

But then years went by and… nothing happened. Nothing came of this “new” attraction, and Trike Encounter remained closed. So now not only were we not getting any new movies as the years passed,  but the Jurassic Park rides/areas at the Universal parks were seemingly getting little to no attention as well.

 

Then came 2009 and this is when I made my second trip to Universal. It was kind of an early high school graduation and birthday gift to myself. Not only would I be returning to the park, but I would be going to HHN for the first time that year as well.

Much like the first time I ever went I had an amazing time. Construction was just beginning on Hogsmeade and while I felt a little territorial about Harry Potter encroaching on the Jurassic area’s space- it looked awesome. This time I also got to experience the Discover Center in all its glory. But two things really were itching at me in my mind: one being that I just couldn’t understand why Trike Encounter was still closed if they planned on doing nothing with it. The second being, despite all my love for it and how technically amazing it still was… once I removed my rose colored glasses it was hard to deny that Jurassic Park River Adventure was aging. It had been around for over a decade now, and some aspects were just really not up to par with where you could tell they originally were. Slow mechanics, and several effects and dinosaurs not working at all. This caused me distress because I realized that the license I loved most just really was getting no attention or care for at all. Period. All around. Nobody seemed to care about Jurassic Park. I’ll hit more on this point later but just know that at the time, while I don’t mean for it to sound as overly dramatic as this does- it stung.

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Image from Behind the Gates

There was a final note though to this trip. Anybody who’s ever been on the River Adventure may recall a giant mockup of the island at the beginning of the ride. Each area is pointed out with a red tag. If you go to the back side of this island though you will see a red tag that reads “Jeep Safari.” Literally every other tag on this model corresponds to an area physically in the park… except this one. My first thought was that this had to have been the ride that was originally planned to replace Trike Encounter. But what happened to it? We’ll get to that later.

 

Hop forward to 2013. I am going to Universal in September of that year again for research concerning my senior thesis covering horror in theatre. To say that was all I was doing down there would be a downright lie because obviously I spent the days at the park, but at night I was doing “research” by attending HHN. By this point Hogsmeade had been opened, and literally a week after Jurassic Park 4 (before it was given the title Jurassic World) had been announced and had a release date. I was PUMPED. When I got to Universal it hadn’t seemed like a lot had changed in terms of their Jurassic area. And it wasn’t like I expected a complete overhaul overnight because of the new film. But I was excited for the future. I though “hey, this could really get things started” and JP could finally be getting some much needed love. The ride still was aging, and there seemed to be even more mechanical problems now than there was when I last went in 2009. The only thing that the JP area was getting that was new (at this time) was street games where you could win prizes, and they weren’t even operational yet.

Earlier in 2013 there was an official notice that went online for the JP ride going through refurbishments. While  it’s well known that many/all the rides go through yearly maintenance word of this spread like wildfire in the JP fan community, as everyone was expecting something big to happen with the newly announced Jurassic World AS WELL AS the fact that Jurassic Park was reaching 20 years old and Universal was re-releasing it on 3D. When the ride reopened though… nothing had changed. The animals got a few color tweaks on their skins, but that was it. Nothing majorly new had been done.

Then came 2015. Jurassic World was literally around the corner and… it seemed like Universal had nothing planned. While I still tend to think that Jurassic World had some fairly decent marketing, I do concede that it wasn’t as strong as it could have been and many fans though it was even less than that. Many felt that Universal was not pushing it as hard as they should have. Now I know everyone thinks their fandom or interest is special, and obviously I’m no different. Jurassic Park really helped shaped my life; my interests, creativity, goals- everything. So I wanted it to get the attention I thought it deserved. What I couldn’t (and still don’t) understand is why Universal seemingly couldn’t see it. Jurassic Park was, for the longest time, Universal’s highest grossing franchise and was only recently passed by the Fast and the Furious franchise (which I would like to point out only surpasses Jurassic by $300 mill, but has seven (soon to be eight) films. In other words Jurassic has done WAY more for Universal with less. ) And Universal is treating it like it’s this outsider property. The fourth film took more than a decade to develop, the rides at both parks have been slowly wearing down with only minor upkeep, and even with a new film finally underway it seemed like Universal wasn’t pushing it or doing anything exciting at their parks for it.

As the release of the new film crept closer everybody was surprised at the kind of presales Jurassic World was doing. A few weeks before the release of the film Universal Orlando surprises everyone with the opening of their Raptor Encounter (quickly followed by Universal Hollywood- both inspired by the “encounter” at Universal Singapore.) While it may not have been a new ride or anything many fans were excited to see Universal parks finally back in on Jurassic and hoped that it led to more soon.

Jurassic World released and smashed box office records just like the original film back in 1993. Nobody expected it to do that well, and many fans hoped that this would grab Universal’s attention. Yet there was seemingly nothing on the horizon. I made my fourth trip to Universal in September of 2015, and while the Raptor Encounter was everything I had hoped it would be, and I had an amazing time I couldn’t help but feel that there could be more. Why wasn’t Jurassic utilized at HHN (they don’t have to use the area at IoA, they could have just made a house)? Why wasn’t there any real updates to the ride, or elsewhere? Obviously there was tons of Jurassic World merch and signs, but… that was it. And there were no substantial news or new rumors anywhere that Universal had anything planned. Even with Universal Japan announcing that October they were going to build a new Jurassic themed roller coaster,  Universal stateside was mum on everything about the prehistoric franchise.

 

Now that I’ve recapped a lot of my personal park going timeline and experiences I’ll tack on some other info and rumors that have been long standing. Ever since 2010 (perhaps even before) there have been rumors of Isla Adventura/Jurassic Park being shut down and removed. I don’t know if there is any true substance to this, or if is just forum talk- but I’ve conversed with many who have suspected it. Jurassic Park was an expensive ride to build to begin with, and it has a lot to upkeep. There is a reason why not very many rides nowadays utilize animatronics and practical effects the way JP rides do and are now leaning more to “dark rides/screen rides”… their cheaper. Take Jurassic Park: The Ride’s $100 million price tag (and JUST for the ride mind you, that doesn’t even cover the rest of area) and compare that to the $256 million it cost to create the entirety of Hogsmeade. (that’s the Hogwarts ride, the area- everything.)  The thought was that Universal felt they were losing money in the JP area. By not having a new film or any new interest there was no point in the island. They could easily dismantle it and fit several cheaper rides in that area which would a.) bring in more guests, and b.) save them money in the long run.

A lot of fans have wondered why not just “fix” the problems with the River Adventure? Well, it kind of goes back to the price tag. The cost to completely rip out the existing mechanics of the current ride and replace them, or to add anything new is theorized by some to be “too much” for Universal. So while it’d be amazing for them to not only update their animatronics but perhaps update some of the dinos with more film accurate molds (I.E- like the stegos we see at Universal Singapore) overall it’d be easier  and more cost efficient to rip it all out and replace it with a newer, cheaper ride.

So why not replace it with a new Jurassic Park ride? Two theorized reasons:  One being contract stipulations with Spielberg possibly.  And two being that before 2015 Universal felt that there was no real interest in Jurassic Park as a brand anymore. No film, and not a lot of new merch meant that Jurassic Park was going extinct.

Now that there IS a new record breaking film (and let us not skim over the fact that the very limited 3D re-release of the original film tacked on an EXTRA $45 million)why don’t they build something new? And THAT dear readers is the ultimate question.  Luckily because I have nothing else to do with my free time, I have some thoughts on the matter.

 

 

The original ride, which first opened at Universal Hollywood took five years to develop and cost $100 million. That’s more than the actual movie itself. But the ride was a mega hit, and Universal quickly gravitated to copying and theming one of their islands at IoA around Jurassic Park. When IoA opened, once again Universal had a mega hit. Not only was there the ride but there was the Trike Encounter, the Discover Center, and Camp Jurassic with Pteronodon Flyers. Now, remember that little “Jeep Safari” tag on the model I mentioned earlier? Apparently it’s always been there.  Rumor has it that there was a “phase 2” prepared for the Jurassic Park area. In Jurassic World Claire Dearing says “The park needs a new attraction every few years in order to reinvigorate the public’s interest.” That was the idea here. Universal had plans on future rides happening because JP was so popular. The Lost World had just been released and there were already rumbles of Jurassic 3 in the near future. JP was a hot franchise. While spacing and land had always been an issue for Universal, they had specifically spaced out several parts to build on eventually.

Then11892202_1454710778189750_1240067115970479703_n came and went Jurassic Park 3, as well as all the plans Universal had for their Jeep Ride at the time. From what I’ve gathered it’s officially unknown as to exactly why it was fully scrapped but some theorize it was due to a number of reasons, the main one being that Universal feared that the Jeep Safari would have been too similar to Disney’s Countdown to Extinction/Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom.

Apart from the concept sketches of the ride not a lot is known about it other than the fact that it basically would have been a vehicle tour (like in the first film) that followed a similar plot to the River Adventure- everything is nice and calm until the final moments and you have to escape. A secondary theory I have about this ride pertains to another hidden Easter egg in the JP

Discovery Center. On the bottom floor there is a mural that crosses over the entire wall. On that mural (as well as the corresponding mural upstairs) every single species of dinosaur/prehistoric animal that is on there is represented… except for two.

One being these guys:

DSC_0512

Yeah. That’s right, Carnotaurus. Keep in mind that this area was being developed around the time that The Lost World was in production, and Michael Crichton’s book was being written. It’s long been thought that carnos were originally supposed to be in the film adaptation of TLW (like they were in the book) but were scrapped. My theory is Universal liked the animals, and wanted to use them in the Jeep ride eventually. But because a.) they weren’t in the films and b.) because of Disney’s use of those specific dinosaurs they didn’t use them.

 

The second animal not represented is this guy:

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Elasmosaurus. Not this is interesting because I’m not sure where it may have fit- but it’s a fun little find no matter what and makes me wonder if Universal had originally intended on having an animatronic Elasmo neck and head in their lagoon near JP.

All that being said, I want to give a shout out to current Universal character actors in the JP Discovery Center- I always ask them about these creatures and where they are in the park whenever I visit, and I always get really unique and interesting answers from each of them.

 

In-between the Jeep Safari being scrapped and 2013 there was rumors of another new ride being developed. It was supposed to take place in the mines on the island and while you were going about, raptors had also escaped and start attacking. Basically along the lines of The Mummy ride, but  Jurassic themed. Your cart would start in the open, then go through dark tunnels. During that transition though scratches and dents would appear on your6 cart after it had been in the dark or exposed to special kinds of light.

 

 

It’s also important to note that for a short span in the late ’00’s Universal reopened the Trike Encounter, but only seasonally- during the winter months.  They only did this for about two years though and then announced its closure forever.

Once Universal obtained the rights to create their Harry Potter world though is when a lot of fans of JP started becoming a little nervous. The new island would mean creeping in to some of the land that was specifically set aside for an addition to Jurassic Park and for many that signaled that perhaps Universal really didn’t care about Jurassic anymore. Slap on top the removal of one of JP’s main gates and the construction of Kong: Skull Island (which, oddly enough, is incredibly reminiscent of the scrapped Jeep Safari ride) fans were really starting to feel their paradise get smaller. No matter the fact that Kong too has dinosaurs… it’s just not Jurassic Park.

 

As it stands there are now two areas in the Jurassic Park area that currently have nothing in them. One by the Discovery Center, and the other is the entire rest of what used to be the Trike Encounter.

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While the area by the Discovery Center is seemingly small, it is feasible that something could indeed fit down there.  And where the Trike Encounter was is indeed large enough to fit something new.

I admit though that it becomes disheartening when seemingly everything else gets the attention you wish your favorite properties did. Universal Orlando is opening their Jimmy Fallon ride, Volcano Bay this summer, and their currently constructing their Fast and Furious ride. They’re also set to build and open their Nintendo Land  by 2020, and there are rumors of even more in store for Harry Potter, not to mention they also  purchased 450 acres of land to build on recently. That is all well and good, but what about Jurassic Park? When, if ever, will we see anything new?  That’s the question. I honestly think it would be unwise of Universal not to have something planned or be currently planning something. While I praise the work that Universal Creative does all around, and am thankful for the experience we already have- when compared to what Universal Japan has been doing, I don’t understand why we don’t have that here in the states.

Take a look at what is at Jurassic Park Japan:

 

 

 

The Raptor Encounter is hella cool, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad we have that! But why stop there?  I am sure the reason we don’t have these things boils down to costs, but the question I reiterate is- obviously Jurassic Park has pull, so why doesn’t Universal exploit that more? The movies make ridiculous amounts of money, and the current Jurassic World traveling exhibit is doing real well! So why such an absence of anything new at the parks? Even if it’s little things like trying to fit a mold of a trike from the closed encounter on the

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Art by Joshua Malone, inspired by new research on psittacosaur and their appearance in the Jurassic Park River Adventure 

Ride as an easter egg, or updating the look of the Psittacosaurus , or having a special screening event, or… well, anything?

 

 

In 2018 we have “Jurassic World 2” on the way, and Universal just recently announced they are re-releasing Jurassic Park once again next year in honor of it’s 25th anniversary. I’ll be really curious if Universal will announce something this year or next to coincide with that films release.  And Jurassic World gave Universal a TON to play with. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t enjoy a gyrosphere ride through a jungle filled with dinosaurs! I’ve also heard a rumor that Universal has considered closing their current Jurassic Park area and opening a new one/Jurassic World area on a part of their new 450 acres.

I’m also really interested in the future of the River Adventure. It needs some major work, and these yearly referbs I feel like just aren’t getting the job fully done. It’s still an amazing ride, don’t get me wrong. I will love it until the day I die; not to be too cheesy but it’s special to me (as is Universal in general.) But something obviously needs to be done with it to fix it. Universal has spent so much time and effort in to creating this immersive world for you to experience at their parks, and when you’re on a ride where the animatronics flake out halfway through their routine… it ruins the illusion. At the Hollywood ride the car doesn’t even fall anymore.  I would love to see these rides restored to their full glory, but also acknowledge that for something like that to happen they would a.) have to be closed for a while and b.) Universal would have to feel like they’re getting out what they’re putting in.

 

The love for dinosaurs is… ahem, universal. I think the recent success of Jurassic World (despite if people think it is a good movie or not) proves that the franchise still has life in it yet, and that the general public craves more. Universal has a great opportunity here to take this franchise and run with it again- the ball is in their court. When I look at classic promotional videos like this:

It makes me incredibly nostalgic and giddy. They put so much care and pride into these rides/parks originally and I would love to see that come back.

 

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Jurassic World

Excerpt from:

Jurassic Court: Inside the Proceedings of the Jurassic World Incident

By Michael Winston

A little over two decades ago John Hammond sat in the very same courtroom in San Diego that Claire Dearing, the now former Jurassic World Senior Assets and Operations Manager, sits- under very similar circumstances.  As the proceedings began the room was painfully still and quiet. Everyone was tense, especially Ms. Dearing.

A year and a half ago on the island of Isla Nublar an animal we now know to be the Indominus rex (a new carnivorous dinosaur which was set to be an upcoming new attraction to the park at the time) had broken out of its enclosure. In doing so several employees of the park were killed as it began its rampage across the island towards the main resort. The creature also broke through and subsequently caused the release of several other species of animals on the island, including the park’s aviary which released Jurassic World’s dangerous pterosaurs upon visitors. The parks guests and most of the staff had little to no warning and no means of escape, and subsequently many were injured or worse. It wasn’t until darkness had begun to fall on the island before the first ferry arrived on the island to take people away from the nightmare to a medical center on the mainland.

While there are many more factors and individuals involved, Ms. Dearing has come under intense fire of her handling of the situation. “It was a very unforeseeable accident,” she had said last month before a preliminary hearing. “Nobody could have guessed what was going to happen, and it was very unfortunate.” She then went on to say that while certain strategies could have been followed through better to ensure guest safety, she claimed that she had done all she possibly could.

Many are saying that it was not enough, especially after word got out that after the initial breakout of the Indominus she had ordered all of the rides and attractions north of the resort closed, but then quickly disappeared from her post leaving it to her subordinates to take control of the situation.

“She just left her staff high and dry, and ran off,” said head prosecution lawyer Bob Morris. There have been claims that Dearing was actually off with park staff member Owen Grady, attempting to rescue her two nephews that were also present on the island the day of the incident. “Look,” continued Morris, “she had a job to do and she failed to do it. Her incompetence led to the death and injuries of thousands. The creature should have never broken out of its paddock, people should have been evacuated earlier- it’s just as simple as that. She dragged her feet and then left the situation for others to handle. It’s inexcusable.”

A long year and a half of stipulation, scrutiny, and investigations over Ms. Dearing’s performance on the island resort of Jurassic World are finally coming to a head, and while this may not answer all of the burning questions about what happened, in the coming weeks there are bound to be at least a few answers.

“Jurassic Park”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “Jurassic Park ///”, “Jurassic World” are Trademarks of Universal Studios, Legendary Pictures, and Amblin Entertainment.

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Jurassic World: One Year Later

By Michael Winston

 

 

A year ago Jurassic World, a five star tourist destination that saw nearly 8 million people annually, fell in to chaos. Survivor Sally Benton remembers the event clearly, as if watching a movie.

“They just came down on us. A huge… flock of them, straight at us.”

It’s been a year since the devastating events that took place on Isla Nublar, and thousands of families are still feeling the effects.

“Every day,” says Sally, tears in her eyes. “We’re reminded every day, because he’s no longer with us.” As she referred to her husband and father of two Robert Benton, whose life ended protecting his young daughter from one of Jurassic World’s escaped animals.

Specific details are still sparse, but from press releases and insider information from various individuals a picture has begun to emerge.  At some point in the late morning of the day of the incident a large carnivorous dinosaur of some kind had escaped its paddock, causing the death of several Jurassic World employees. Many have speculated that this animal was the previously announced Indominus rex, a new attraction that was set to open in June of 2015, although no official confirmation has been made by Masrani Global or International Genetic Technologies (InGen) representatives.  The animal then proceeded to cross the island, unbeknown to many of the park guests. At some point in the afternoon the creature broke in to the park aviary where subsequently hundreds of animals known as pterosaurs escaped and owner of Jurassic World Simon Masrani died. The pterosaurs then flew towards the main resort area causing havoc, injuring and killing hundreds of visitors. All the while the unknown carnivore continued its rampage across the island breaking through several enclosures allowing for other types of dinosaurs to be released.  Park visitors sought refuge as the Animal Control Unit and InGen Security Division attempted to subdue the escaped animals and get a handle on the situation. It wouldn’t be until late that night before the ships would come to take the gathered survivors back to the mainland.

There were approximately 22,216 visitors on the island of Isla Nublar that day, as well as the parks several thousand regular staff members.  Hours after the primary evacuation a secondary rescue team was sent to Isla Nublar to retrieve any remaining survivors they could find. About a hundred people are, to this day, still unaccounted for and presumed dead.

“It’s not giving up hope, it’s just being realistic,” Michelle Cruz said whose father, Danilo Cruz, was an employee of Jurassic World. Danilo has been missing since the evacuation. “If they haven’t found him by now it’s unlikely that they ever will.”

Since the incident InGen and military taskforces have been present on the island. The UN held an emergency meeting shortly after the event last year, deciding the immediate control of the island. Newly appointed CEO of Masrani Global Edward Regis pleaded to let the InGen Security Division help with the recapture of escaped animals and search for missing people on Isla Nublar.

“We have an obligation to make sure that this incident remained contained to that island,” Mr. Regis said when asked for a comment after the UN meeting. “It is our responsibility, and we must do our share.  Our first priority obviously is to continue searching for remaining survivors. But we also need to makes sure that we do not have a repeat of what happened in 1997 or 2001.” Mr. Regis obviously is referring to the ’97 incident in which InGen, at the time with now late Peter Ludlow as CEO, brought a Tyrannosaurus rex to the mainland in hopes of opening a Jurassic Park destination in San Diego, as well as the 2001 incident following the rescue of Dr. Allan Grant, his assistant William Brennan, and the Kirby family when a trio of Pteranodons escaped the island of Isla Sorna.

On top of the extra security around Isla Nublar, security has increased around the island chain known as Las Cinco Muertes (“The Five Deaths”,) most notably around Isla Sorna which was the main manufacturing center for the original Jurassic Park as well as Jurassic World.

Outside of the rescue and maintenance teams though the UN has ordered to cease all other activity on the islands. The future of InGen and Masrani Global has also been called in to question. Masrani Global, while continuing their other operations in telecom and oil is no doubt feeling the heat, as stocks have drastically dropped. InGen’s security division has been the target some major scrutiny because of their poor management of the incident on Isla Nublar. Certain individuals, as well, are being closely investigated. Among those are Jurassic World’s Senior Assets Manager and Park Operations Director Claire Dearing.

“Why wasn’t the park shut down, and an evacuation ordered sooner?” asks a Jurassic World survivor who wished to remain anonymous. “If there was a breakout the evacuation should have happened immediately.”

“I’m sure Ms. Dearing did everything she could.” Mr. Edward Regis says in defense of the Operation Director’s actions. “In the coming months I’m sure the evidence will state as much. This was very unfortunate accident and our prayers and thoughts are still with the victims and their families.”

Claire Dearing was unavailable for comment.

The future of the “assets” themselves raises some questions as well. Today we find ourselves, essentially, in the same place we were before Simon Masrani obtained InGen and the islands from the late John P. Hammond. We have two islands with genetically recreated prehistoric animals, amongst other things. A trusted source from inside InGen gave details that Dr. Henry Wu, the lead geneticist of InGen (who too has been missing since the incident last year, and is presumed dead) was having his teams work on many more side projects other than just assets, and InGen is also known for creating new technology. All of these projects and undocumented/unreleased technology are sitting in a proverbial limbo at the moment, and what happens to them is unknown.

“And let’s not forget,” says University of California, Berkley professor Dr. Richard Levine, “the hundreds of fossil specimens they’ve collected. InGen had their own private paleontology teams and house the specimens they find somewhere. How many rare specimens do they have or even holotypes? Species and specimens that they have simply not published on. They also had twenty different living prehistoric species on Nublar alone, and we know from past instances that they have many others. What’s going to happen to them, and these fossils?”

Dr. Levine has been one of a few scientists who are petitioning to have the fossils as well as all data on the recreated animals to be made public, something that Dr. Wu and InGen never allowed.

More details about what specifically happened on Isla Nublar are bound to come into the light during the coming months, as official trials are set to begin in October. These trials will help determine the future of Masrani Global, InGen, and the individuals involved, as well as how the assets and islands are dealt with, along with the lawsuits from thousands of victims.

Regardless of the outcome of the trials it is unlikely that the gates of Jurassic World will ever be open to the public again. An incident that eerily echoed events that took place on the same island twenty two years before hand may finally be the end of a once great empire.

 

 

 

“Jurassic Park”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “Jurassic Park ///”, “Jurassic World” are Trademarks of Universal Studios, Legendary Pictures, and Amblin Entertainment.

Based off Characters Created by Michael Crichton and Scott Ciencin.

Allosaurus vs. Ceratosaurus

I have always had a very active imagination. As a child, one of my many outlets of creativity was playing with toys. Now, lots of children play with toys- that is not new. But I didn’t just play with them, I created stories and adventures with them that sometimes lasted several hours at a time. My favorite toys were (and this probably comes as no surprise) my Jurassic Park figures and playsets. As I’m sure many of you realize by now, Jurassic Park is my favorite franchise of all time and has been since I was two years old and saw that film on the big screen (yeah, I still remember some moments of that, but that’s a story for another time.) With these toys I would often pop in my VHS copies of the movies and then get out every single figure I had and play through the entire film, scene by scene, with them. I would lower my head so that I would replicate and match the angle on screen. Then, when I would finish with the films I would create my own Jurassic adventures, creating whole stories of peril and survival then playing them out with the toys in my living room

One of my very first dios

One of my very first dios

(much to my parents dismay I’m sure.) Humans often running away from the ferocious dinosaurs created by InGen, many of which not running away quick enough. Ironically enough, the story line I most often recreated with my figures was Jurassic Park finally being opened to the public.

In 2003, I believe, we moved out to the Malone family farm outside of Kempton, IL. A year or so before my family had purchased our first home computer and I was introduced to something amazing: the internet. And on this internet I quickly realized that there were other people out there just as passionate about Jurassic Park as I was. One group of people was those found on the forum site JPToys. There, collectors and JP enthusiasts gathered to talk about the franchise as well as the toys that I had grown so fond of. But in being introduced to these people I slowly began to realize something: that these toys had value outside of just sentimental. These weren’t just toys any more but actual collectors’ items, and really expensive ones at that.

Still early in my dio career. I used a sparkler and placed it behind the fence and lit it right before I took the image to get the effects of the sparks.

Still early in my dio career. I used a sparkler and placed it behind the fence and lit it right before I took the image to get the effects of the sparks.

You want to know how expensive? Just go to eBay and look. I was inspired by others on the site to take pride in my collection and show it off in my room. On top of that I was introduced to “dios.” Members of JPToys would take their figures outside and set up scenes with them and take pictures. It reminded me of the images on the back of the boxes of the JP toys, and I was instantly hooked. One year my parents bought a digital camera for the family for Christmas and I latched on to it the following summer and took pictures left and right. Art has always been another passion of mine, and this was defiantly art to me.

I used the Dino Valley spinosaur and actually used white gas to make flames. I dug a trench around the figure and poured the gas and then lit it. It was inspired by the final spino scene in JP3

I used the Dino Valley spinosaur and actually used white gas to make flames. I dug a trench around the figure and poured the gas and then lit it. It was inspired by the final spino scene in JP3

I did this for several years during the summer months, but as I got older my “dio” making began to dwindle. I was becoming incredibly self-conscious and was

reminded several times by some people that I was a young man, just playing with toys. I’ve generally always prided myself in not caring what people think about me. I mean… it’s kind of a fine line actors and artists need to walk down. But I cared what people thought about this. I was soon going to be heading to college, and while there are plenty of people who collect figures and such who are older I was thinking that perhaps it was something that I shouldn’t do.So near the end of my high school career and in to college I had completely abandoned dio making. My art blossomed in other mediums. Writing defiantly became a facet for me, and I focused my photography on other subjects that interested me.

Then, about halfway through my college career, I took a digital imaging class with Professor Christian Mortenson at Augustana (IL.) He taught us to really go out there with our photography and try and capture things that spoke to us and to really make our own voices be heard on our projects. Find subjects and places that were unique. So, on a whim, I asked my mom to go through my figures (which I had, by then, packed away in large plastic boxes in the attic) and ship a few to me. She did, and then I took those figures around campus and took images.  And they weren’t all dinosaurs and Jurassic Park. Some were of Batman and the Joker and at least one was of the WolfMan. With

Sulfur Field

“Sulfur Field”

a lot of my early work I just went out with the figures and snapped pics, but for this project I really focused on angles and getting the lighting correct and making scenes look natural. It reminded me of when I was a child, playing with the toys in my front room and trying to captures those angles from the film. I brought these images to class, and I remember Chris being fairly impressed. He joked that the Batman and Joker one reminded him of two people cos-playing, and that the dinosaur images looked really natural and realistic- like from a documentary. I welcomed those comments with open arms, but then just sat on the images. I did nothing with them.

Later that year though there was a submission call for art for Augustana’s literary and art magazine- SAGA. I actually went Clever Girlthrough some of my older images and sent one of my early dios that still really resonates with me: a

tyrannosaurus hunting a pair of pachycephalosaurs through a “sulfur field.” The field itself is just a post-harvest corn field and I added the fumes in through PhotoShop. Weeks later I was contacted by the magazine and informed that my image had been selected to be published. My senior year I sent in a few more for thatMosasaurus SAGA mag and they were accepted as well and it was slowly beginning to dawn on me. My photos, my “geeky” toy photos were actually liked by people. People enjoyed looking at them. And not just JP fans, or comic fans. My peers were coming up and telling me what they thought of the images and how they liked them. More important than any of that acceptance though… it made me feel good. Just taking the pictures felt good. Going out, location scouting, and finding that perfect place and position for the figure and then figuring out the lighting felt right. It was fun, and it was a way to escape.

It still is. Today I’m having a resurgence in dio photography. I can attribute at least a part of it being because of the release of Jurassic World, but it’s also because it’s something I find a lot of joy in doing. I live close to a forest preserve and I will take a duffle bag of figures and sets there and spend hours setting up scenes and taking images. Yes, I get a weird looks from time to time but I genuinely do not care. I do think that college and allowing myself to grow as an artist really rex Pursuit helped with that, but also allowing myself to be more connected with my work is a major part. Also, I am realizing that I have a style when it comes to this type of photography and I am attempting to apply that to film projects I make. Setting up these scenes and moments really allows me to think like a director as well as a DP, and it has helped a lot I feel. I’m becoming more daring with some of the shots and angles I take, and sitting down and planning out each and every shot and doing multiple takes of each one. Being this type of micro photographer is helping me become more versatile.

I don’t know if anything will actually come out of my photography. Maybe someday. I’ve had a few people tell me they’d love a coffee table book of these images. My DeviantArt account has never been more alive and active, and I’ve been debating on Brachiosaurus and Gyrospherehitting up a few craft and art fairs with these images. I’m still not certain tCarnotaurus Capturehat there is an actual [paying] audience for these images, but really that’s not the point at all. You do art because you need to. It’s a part of you, and this type of photography is very much a part of me. It’s therapeutic, and fun. It allows my mind to race with creative scenarios and scenes, and at times tests my capabilities. I’m constantly growing because of it. I’m a twenty-three year old man who still actively plays with toys… and I’m damn proud of it.

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1by ELIZABETH GELMAN /AP

Guests to the Jurassic World theme park were evacuated late Friday night after many of the parks animals suddenly escaped from their enclosures.

While it’s only been a few days since the horrific incident at the five star resort, the lawsuits are already accumulating quickly. Most of the park was successfully evacuated, but unfortunately not before several hundred of the guests were injured, or killed. Many guests are still missing, and the death toll is still being counted. Among those dead is Jurassic World owner Simon Masrani, who was killed in a helicopter crash while trying to contain one of the escaped “assets.”

“This is a horrific event,” stated Masrani Global Vice President Edward Regis. “We are doing everything in our power to offer aid to our visitors and to get this situation under control.”

Many of the evacuated guests and staff are still being held in Costa Rica for questioning and evaluations but should be released in the next few days.

The official comment from Masrani Global regarding the escape of the animals was “it’s under investigation.” However, some guests claim to have heard rumors of a large predator of some kind being the cause.

“I saw it,” said Jurassic World guest Ed James. “Some freaky thing, I can’t describe it. But I was on the monorail back to hotel and I saw this big  creature crash into the aviary and soon after the pterodactyls or whatever just started flying out of the dome. They attacked a helicopter, and then started flocking towards the park. It was chaos.”

While Masrani Global seems to be keeping face about wanting to get the situation under control and the park running again, stocks are already beginning to drop. Since Saturday stock in the company has dropped from 139.18 to 78.25, and guests who have pre-purchased tickets are demanding refunds. It’s a trend seen before by the company, and what led to InGen filing for Chapter 11 in 1997 after the incident in San Diego involving an escaped Tyrannosaurus rex.

“I just don’t know how this happened,” park guest Deborah Holland said, nursing a broken arm. “How could they let this happen? After what happened before, you’d think they would have known better and been able to prevent a catastrophe like this.”

We’ll keep you updated on Jurassic World news as it comes in, including the upcoming U.N. meeting regarding the incident.

“Jurassic Park”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “Jurassic Park ///”, “Jurassic World” are Trademarks of Universal Studios, Legendary Pictures, and Amblin Entertainment.

Based off Characters Created by Michael Crichton and Scott Ciencin.

                                                                      Universal Pictures

I’ve now seen Jurassic World three times, and have enjoyed it every time. It’s a fun thrill ride of a film, and now is the film with the second highest grossing weekend at the box office of all time!  While I really enjoyed the film and think it’s a great addition to the franchise, there are some thoughts and questions that have been keeping me up at night that I had along the way while watching it.  I thought that maybe I’d highlight a few of them here.

1.) The opening is awesome and a nice homage to Alien I feel… but I really would have liked a flashback for the opening instead I think. All of the JP films have great prologues and I feel like it would have been cool to see some of the post-1993 incident clean up or even the recapture of the rex or something.

2.) The bird in snow shot is wonderful, and is actually the only reference we get to the dino-bird relationship in the whole film.

3.) Okay, JW is open and it looks spectacular- everything I would want and expect in a Jurassic Park. But why? I mean, know why because I followed the online marketing but it’s not actually explained in depth in the film past John Hammond willing JP to Masrani. Last time we saw Hammond he had gone from “capitalist to naturalist” and was more concerned about protecting the animals. Now he thinks the park is a good idea again? Also… after all the incidents and deaths of the three previous films combined, how did they actually convince anybody that this would be a good idea again?

4.) The I. rex introduction is amazingly perfect.

5.) The innovation center is breathtaking. It’s like the Discovery Center at Islands of Adventure on digital roids.

6.) I actually don’t mind the raptor training at all… but why breed them in the first place. Even if they are for this military experiment who thought it was a good idea to take the most dangerous, human hating animals created at JP? The animals that are responsible for the most deaths in the series, and try and train them. Did anybody think that maybe, for once, you shouldn’t breed raptors?

7.) Why is the rex CGI? Also, I wish I could have seen more Jurassic World carnivores in captivity other than the  rex (albeit briefly,) and raptors.

8.) I feel like it’s now a statistic for kids of divorcees to end up on Isla Nublar or Isla Sorna. That should be in an ad: “Our park is sure to make your kids forget about your separation, because they’ll be too busy running from dinosaurs!”

9.) Speaking of Sorna… what the hell happened to it? They are acting, once again, like Nublar is the factory floor (like they did in the original film.) Is there nothing going on on Sorna? Or is it just so overrun by dinosaurs that they were like “screw it, we only need the one island” ?

10.) Zach is probably a bigger dick than any other human villain in the JP series.

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11.) Mosa is awesome. Period.

12.) We really haven’t seen all of I. rex yet so when her actual reveal happens I really would have wished they did more of the JP rex full reveal and roar from the first film rather than I.rex suddenly blocking Owen’s escape and we only see half of her. It’s like they can’t decide if they want to show us I. rex or not.

13.) Why not have a access door at… both side of the paddock for people?

14.) The moment where I. rex searching for grady is super suspenseful and well done. Plus the I. rex looks beautiful.

15.) Petting zoo is cute and the riding of the baby trike is a nice reference to a cut scene from the first film and the novel.

16.) I’s so glad Wu is back. All of his scenes in this film are gold- mainly because it follows his character from the novel to a T.

17.) I’m already kind of “done” with the amount of comedy in the film. It’s just a personal thing, although I realize that they need to offset the amount of violence in the film. But does every film have to be so “funny” now? Age of Ultron had the same issues. I get some of it, but a lot is unneeded and out of character for some. It makes me really happy they cut the poop scene with Claire later.

18.) The moment when Claire walks in to control and everyone is quiet is awesome. Wish there were more moments like that in the film. It’s really effective.

19.) The I. rex coming out of hiding via camo is one of the most amazing things I have seen in the JP series, and something I’ve been waiting for since Crichton’s The Lost World. Also, the moment it takes out the ACU unit is a great nod to Aliens.

20.) Also, love the blood on the wrist. “Which way is the drop going to roll off?”

21.) Yay! Fallon mention’s dilophosaurs! So… wait, they’re in Jurassic World? Why haven’t we seen them yet!?

22.) The gyrosphere ride is awesome, and leads to a great “It’s a dinosaur” scene.

23.) Why are the stegos nearly dragging their tails here but weren’t earlier on when they were at the river?

24.) I’m going to assumed I. rex broke the gate open that the boys enter the restricted zone through… but if so, why is the I. rex still in the jungle and not rampaging through the valley yet towards the park?

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25.) The I. rex looking at the boys ala JP rex style should have been a practical effect…

26.) Dying apatosaur scene is a near tearjerker. It’s seriously right up there with the sick trike from JP.

27.) Old park scene(s) = BEST moments in the whole film. Just wish we could have stayed there longer. How did the boys end up here anyway? Also… why is the norther side of the island “restricted” if it seems like any ol’ JW employee can trounce around there at any time? Are there supposed to be wild dinosaurs around? What haven’t we seen any? And if so is that what killed the JW worker whose helmet Gray finds, or was that supposed to be I. rex again?

28.) AH! Pterosaur beak killing ACU. GREAT reference to he cut final sequence of The Lost World.

29.)  Masrani dies and it’s sad… but still would have liked to had more time to get to know him. It’s not as sad as if, say, Hammond was to have died in the first film. Also… the trailers totally ruined it.

20.)Why do the pteros look so different… again?

21.) Jesus, what are these pteros MADE OF!?

22.) I can deal with almost everything these pteros can do except for it lifting a baby trike off the ground. Cool shot but… no.

23.) The pteros diving through the water is actually probably one of the coolest things they do in the film.

24.) Zara’s death is OVERKILL. Man, I mean she wasn’t a horrible person. Also the mosa’s appearance seems kind of the same as the one we’ve gotten before.

25.) Why are Owen and Claire kissing? Pteros… still flapping around everywhere. Not really the time or place.

26.) You’re going to tell me they tranquilized all the pterosaurs? All of them?

27.) It gets dark fast in Jurassic World.

28.) Really wanted Claire to either punch Hoskins instead or after Owen.

29.) Raptors turning on humans is probably one of the best moments in the whole film. It’s scary and is a really great mixture of the tall grass scene and Muldoon’s death. Also a little bit of Aliens thrown in again.

30.) YEAH, ROCKET LAUNCHER! Just like the novel. Man, I’m loving all these small nods to Crichton’s work.

31.) Okay, so Wu is cool using dinos for military. He wants to innovate because God complex. I get it. But damn it, now we’re going to be wondering what happens with those embryos now.

32.) Still… no BioSyn.

33.) Really Hoskins wasn’t a bad guy, he just makes some seriously bad judgement calls and is a dick. His intentions are good though. … … Still loved his death though.

34.) You know… we never do find out everything that is in I. Rex.

35.) YAY! DILOPHOSAURUS!!!

36.) Blue siding with Owen all of a sudden reminds me of Hiccup and Toothless…

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37.) Rexy emerging from the darkness is AWESOME AS HELL.

38.) Epic final fight is epic. Although they missed a chance to have it in the rain.

39.) Pretty sure Colin Trevorrow, when shooting the last scene, had a Spielberg JP moment and said “I think the star of  this movie is the mosasaur” then threw it in as the one being heroic and killing I. rex. Because… let’s be honest. Rexy and Blue were gonna have their hides handed to them.

40.) Okay, totally get animals teaming up to take out a common threat- okay. But I really REALLY think the rex should have roared/chased Blue away instead of having that “good job bro” look at each other. I mean, at one point Blue uses Rexy as a springboard to pounce on the I. rex. That means her claws dug into Rexy’s back… I’d be pissed. Those claws are sharp- as the scars on Rexy’s neck can attest to. Her chasing Blue away would have saved us that Owen nod to Blue as well…

41.) Also unless you saw the scars and put two and two together and/or followed the marketing for the film you would totally not realize that this was the same rex from the first film. There should have been a scene explaining it or showing her recapture. Also, wish more of her was practical effects instead of CG.

42.) I really don’t like the love story. At least I don’t like a lot of the moments that involve it. I would have much rather Owen and Claire looked at each other like Ellie and Alan do in the end of JP that the whole “for survival” bit.

43.) Yeah, I see some straggling pteranodons. Who’s gonna keep them from getting off the island? Also… once again, unless you follow the marketing for the film you wouldn’t know what happened to the pteros at the end of JP3.

44.) Epic emotional final shot is epic and really emotional.

The park is open! Run, to go see Jurassic World in cinemas now!

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Fourteen years. Fourteen years of a constant up and down, “it’s happening” then “it’s dead” from those who brought to life this film series to fruition. Fourteen years of waiting for the next film, and then finally it’s released. Words can’t express how excited I was for this film to come out. The last time I was this amped up was when The Dark Knight was released in 2008.  And after months of build up from one of the most intensive marketing/viral marketing campaigns in recent history (which is actually continually happening throughout the films release right NOW,) the park was finally opened to an anxiously awaiting public. I sat with friends in that cinema, and when the lights went out I could feel my heart beat faster, and when it began I allowed myself to be transported back to Isla Nublar once again in Jurassic World.

It’s twenty two years since the closure of the original Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. Twenty two years since John Hammond’s dream came to a screaming halt. But a new empire has arose: Masrani Global. They have taken control of International Genetic Technologies (InGen) as well as all of their subsequent… assets. So out of the ashes of Jurassic Park (and apparently all the other subsequent incidents that happened in 1997 and 2001) Masrani has created Jurassic World, and John Hammond’s dream is now a reality. Jurassic World brings in over twenty thousand people each day, and each guest can now come face to face with the most fascinating creatures to ever roam the planet… well, fascinating for a period of time it seems. The novelty of dinosaurs living again seems to be fading, Dr. Henry Wu and his team are cooking up something that’s sure to excite everyone: Indominus rex, a genetic hybrid with the base genome of Tyrannosaurus rex with some other “classified” species thrown in to the mix (that are revealed throughout the film.) The problem is… it suddenly excites everyone in all the wrong reasons. During a inspection of the I.rex enclosure by Owen Grady, one of the resident JW animal behaviorists who is currently working with the park’s velociraptors, the I.rex escapes. Chaos ensues, as the monster rampages though the island killing everything and everyone in sight. Vic Hoskins believes that he and his InGen ACU unit can capture the creature, by using some very radical means. These radical means end up backfiring and even more chaos ensues as even more creatures on top of I.rex are now fanning out across the island. Is there any hope for survival for the people left on the island?

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I’m going to try really hard not to let my passion overshadow my judgement right now. ANYBODY who know me knows that Jurassic Park is “my thing.” It’s my Star Wars, my Star Trek, my whatever you want to say. It’s the movie [series] that inspired me and so many others. As silly as it sounds, they are the films that made me the person I am. But I’m also a huge cinema fanatic in general, as well as a paleo-guy. So there are several conflicting thoughts, impressions, and emotions flying around in my head right now.

I’ll be frank: liked this movie, a lot. It’s a fun ride, and director Colin Trevorrow delivered some astounding fan service while also bringing a lot of originality to the table. The film does have it’s issues, which I’ll discuss, but overall I left the cinema with an extreme sense of pleasure mixed with just enough wonder to make me feel like this film was a good breath of fresh air in a once extinct franchise.

Warning: from here on out there will be plenty of spoilers… you’ve been warned.

The plot to Jurassic World is probably a story that many have thought of in some way shape or form (I can name at least two videos games off the top of my head where JP is reopened after the events of the first film- the original JP Arcade and JP for Sega Game Gear (and then there is Operation Genesis where you can open your own park)) I remember playing with the toys when I was a kid and playing out what it would be like for the park to actually open.  I don’t feel like it’s super original. The way that it’s portrayed and handled by Colin Trevorrow is however. Everything that we saw at Jurassic World seemed like something I would totally expect to find at a world renown and SUPER expensive theme park.  And while I can recall many many people and die hard fans of the franchise rolling their eyes and groaning at the fact that we’d be getting a hybrid dinosaur I loved and understood Colin’s reasoning. I went to the zoo a few months ago with my family and saw so many people on their phone texting and not taking in all of the animals. Same thing happens in museums, so after Jurassic World has been open for ten years I would totally expect that people would be getting “used” to it, and when that happens at any theme park a new attraction has to be built. In this case it was the Indominus rex.

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I. rex was a wonderful antagonist I felt. Do I feel like it could have just been a normal dinosaur: yes. But as I said I totally understand why it wasn’t. Plus this was actually supposed to be a monster. When rewatching Jurassic Park 3 before hand (I had a marathon of all the films before seeing JW) I couldn’t help but think that a monster is exactly what the spinosaur was- and it irritated me. Yes, the rex(s) and raptors had their monster parts as well in the previous films but at least most of the time it was explainable as to why they were hunting the humans or tracking them (be it territory, food, or otherwise.) The spino had no reason to hunt the humans. The I. rex does. It is not a dinosaur, as Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady points out- it is a monster. It kills for sport, not to eat.  It’s scary looking, it’s big, and it kicks some major tail in Jurassic World. Also it has an ability I’ve been waiting to see in a JP film since reading Michael Crichton’s The Lost World: chameleon/camo skin. Technically it’s cuttlefish skin, but none the less I. rex has the ability to camouflage itself into it’s surroundings. While I really would have loved (and still would love) to see carnotaurus in Jurassic World with that ability like in the novel it looks amazing and is effective none the less. Plus, according to the official Jurassic World website I. rex does have some carno DNA in her so… that’s something I guess.

From a Jurassic Park canon standpoint, for the most part, all the dinosaurs looked great. A lot of the old guys are back and have some shining moments- including the original film’s Tyrannosaurus rex. There are some new guys as well, including the Apatosaurus (which interestingly enough was the sauropod in both of Michael Crichton’s novels but has never been in a previous JP film.) The one animal I would have loved to have seen more of… Dilophosaurus. We get one great moment, but it’s SUCH A TEASE. Oh well, even that one short moment answered an age old question in the canon: yes, the dilos in the first film were juveniles.

I’m going to keep my paleo-analytic critiques to a minimum here, because most of anything I have to say about inaccuracies in the animals of the film have been said by many paleontologists already. From a paleo-perspective the film’s dinosaurs are kind of “meh.” Inaccuracies have been in the JP universe since the first film (well… even since the novel.) To fan of the series they’ve always been able to be explained through the genetic modification that occurs during the “de-extinction” of the animals, and that’s even explicitly said in this film. But I will say that with them having a new park for this film and actually going back from “scratch” on many of these animals, it was kind of a missed opportunity to have some really accurate representations of dinosaurs on screen. While I was able to stomach a lot of the inaccuracies the biggest one I have a hard time dealing with is whenever a pterosaur tries to make off with a human, or even a dinosaur.  That and a near tail dragging stegosaurus.

My biggest complaint, above all, concerning the dinosaurs was the over use of CGI. In the first two JP films there was a perfect marriage or CGI mixed with practical effects- it was seamless. In JP3 it leaned more towards CGI, and the practical effects that were there for some reason didn’t seem as good as in the first two films. In this film nearly every shot of the dinosaurs was CGI. Now, a LOT of it looked good- I can’t lie. There was some really great computer animation work going on in this film. But there were plenty of scenes that they could have used practical effects on, and didn’t. But when they did, it was breathtaking. Like the dying apatosaur scene, it had me in near tears.  It was almost as emotional as the ick triceratops scene in the original Jurassic Park. It looked alive. It was wonderful, and I wish that we could have seen more practical effects- especially towards the end…

Universal Pictures

The acting was good. There were several kind of “cheesy” and forced moments, but I never found myself getting annoyed (in the wrong way) with the characters like I did in JP3 or even some in The Lost World.

Chris Pratt actually goes into some more serious territory with Owen Grady. While the signature charm we associate with Pratt  pops up from time to time, for the most part his character is more akin to Muldoon in the first film with a no-nonsense and practical approach to treating, training, and caring for the dinosaurs.  Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing goes through some good evolution through the film, and becomes kind of a Ellen Ripley of sorts. I think I would have liked to seen more from her in this regard, she does have an amazing and key moment in the end of the film. The one point I really disliked in the film was how Owen and Claire’s relationship just kind of sprung from nowhere. It felt really forced and I disliked it.

Vincent D’Onofrio plays, I guess, the human villain of the film. It’s all in the eye of the beholder really. But he does make some really bad judgement calls and his comeuppance is as good as Dieters in The Lost World. And I am SO glad we got to see some more from BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu. A lot of his material is straight from the original novel here and it’s stuff I, as a Jurassic Park fan, have been waiting to see and hear for a long time. He does a great job of playing Wu, like to a T and I really hope we see more of him if the series continues. 

Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson do a great job of being… well, the kids of this film. Their relationship feels plausible, although for the most part they were just kind of “there” in the film and didn’t offer a lot of support the way children in previous films have.

Irrfan Khan as Masrani did a great job but we really didn’t get to learn much about the guy before he goes down in a fireball. I knew I liked him but his death wasn’t as powerful as if it would have been if, say, Hammond was to die in the first film. If he was given more time I feel like that would have helped.

Other talent like Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Katie McGrath offered some variety in the supporting cast but we all knew they’d pretty much be fodder or just help the story along and have a few great moments.

Along with all the new, Colin Trevorrow does an outstanding Job of bringing back the old. We have a wonderful moment where we get to see the old Visitor Center again from the first film. The only problem, the scene(s) only last a few minutes and we move on. I really would have liked it if we slowed down the film when we got in to the “restricted” area of Nublar, which is almost the entire norther half of the island. There are still some unanswered questions, more locations I wanted to see. On top of it all, there were some thing that unless you’ve been following the marketing you wouldn’t really know. Like the rex. I’m sure few people actually realized that the rex in the film was the original (via interviews or websites, etc) the average viewer wouldn’t realize. I wish they would have shown or discussed the roundup of the rex and possibly more of the original animals from the first Jurassic Park. And damn it!- I wanted more dilophosaurs! Sigh… But really JW really has some super nostalgic moments.

The film also has a lot of inside jokes/nods towards the other films in some really clever ways. Take the ptero attack on the chopper. The pteranodon’s beak breaking through the bubble and into the chest of the ACU member- that’s taken directly from a cut sequence from The Lost World. Also that blood dripping on ACU member Hamada’s hand when he’s searching for I.rex… reminded me a lot of when Malcolm is trying to explain Chaos Theory to Dr. Sattler in Jurassic Park. “Which way is the drop gonna’ role off?” Moments like that, and many others in the film just left me tickled as a JP fan. Trevorrow goes above and beyond with the fan service in the film, and for that I thank and applaud him.  He also adds in some really tense moments very akin to the Alien franchise, and you’ll know them when you see them. These moments and Colin’s willingness to show gore actually make Jurassic World the most violent of any of the Jurassic films.

Universal Pictures

The fan service goes even into the soundtrack of the film. Composer Michael Giacchino is back for is third turn in the JP franchise (originally scoring the soundtrack to the The Lost World and Warpath: Jurassic Park PlayStation video games.) For JW Giacchino brings a lot of originality to the plate but really pays homage to nearly all the work done before for the franchise. Not only are their call backs to the classic motifs of Jurassic Park (and The Lost World theme at one major point) composed by John Williams but we get a lot of music that is similar to the themes heard in Operation Genesis, from Jurassic Park; The Game, and even a hint of the PlayStation games. It’s nice, and really brings some added emotion and nostalgia.  The new Jurassic World theme is majestic, and while it may not be as iconic as the classic JP, it’s exactly what this film needs, and the I. rex theme is creepy as well. There are a few moments in the film where I feel like the soundtrack is a tad much, and over the top- but it’s defiantly not as obnoxious as the JP3 soundtrack gets at points.

Some moments of the film really dance a fine line of being exactly what you didn’t know you wanted to see and absolutely overkill. The two main ones being the death of Zara and the death of I. rex. Zara’s death was just… crazy. I personally would have liked to have either had it be the mosasaur or just the ptera and not both, but I can’t like… it looked cool. And I. rex’s death… I actually won’t spoil. I saw it a mile away before it happened during the final encounter, and when it actually happened the cinema erupted in applause- and I was a part of that roaring audience. It was a bad ass death for a pretty bad ass monster.

In the end… to be honest, my head is still spinning. I caught the 7 pm showing (Central Time) of Jurassic World and it’s now almost 1 AM and I’m finishing this review. My thoughts are still jumbled, “but, uh… well there it is.” Jurassic World, while having some zany moments, and some nonsensical plot points about militarized dinosaurs… is pretty much everything I wanted in a sequel. I do wish it was a tad longer, taking more time to explain some things and slow down at some moments, but the pacing wasn’t bad really. I’m super interested in if there will be some deleated/extended scenes in the BluRay release. All in all though, after a fourteen year wait that came after kind of a very bitter bitter sweet third film I feel like this film is a great addition to the franchise. While it’s not as good as the original it’s defiantly a very worthy sequel.

Jurassic World answers a lot of questions I feel, while opening a whole new door for future teams to go down should they choose. If not, I’m actually not concerned. While there are plenty of loose strings it has an ending more akin to The Lost World and not super open ended like Jurassic Park 3. And that makes me as both a fan of this wonderful franchise and a movie goer satisfied. And those questions, along with the ones have have yet to be answered are still out there for future teams to tackle (oh please, let one of those teams include me! … I can wish….)

Jurassic World is a wild romp through the island of Isla Nublar that is not to be missed. It chaotic, fun, terrifying, and exhilarating. This movie is the definition of what a summer blockbuster should be and is defiantly not to be missed. If you’re a fan of the franchise though, bring some tissues- because the nostalgia train is gonna’ hit ya’, hard.

Universal Pictures

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Excerpt from Chapter 3 of Dr. Ian Malcolm’s book God Creates Dinosaurs.

Random House, New York. 2000.

Game Theory in a Dinosaur Infested World

We’ve established that systems change over time; that’s evolution. It’s natural and inevitable. These changes are initially unpredictable, and therein lays the chaos. But as they evolve into more complex organizations they begin to form a kind of sociology. This happened among humans, animals, insects, and even plants. Now, it is even happening among the dinosaurs on the islands in the Pacific controlled by InGen. This development and growth of social behavior and decision making is falling under a branch known as Game Theory.

The animals on the islands have developed a specific social behavior with each other as well as the native Central American species. And the rate at which they have developed these relationships is an extreme advancement in the evolution of animal sociology. Most of the species of dinosaurs on the islands are not only from mixed continents, but mixed eras as well. Each animal’s genes evolved to fulfil its economic niche millions of years ago.  Now, they are being forced to evolve at a rapid rate in body, social structure, and ultimately in intelligence, in order to survive in this new world. This example is just scratching the surface of the many problems these animals face when first brought into the modern world.

InGen’s raptors are a prime example. They are arguably one of the most radically affected animals manufactured by InGen. First of all, the genetic recreation process has obviously disrupted their natural physiology. It is now commonly known through paleontology that some/most raptors indeed did have feathers. These raptors do not. We know that the DNA of the prehistoric animals of Jurassic Park has been tampered with by Dr. Henry Wu when he naively added the inclusion of amphibian DNA to fill in the sequencing gaps when InGen was initially creating them. Along with a lack of feathers, these creatures are much larger than that of the true Velociraptor mongoliensis (but other hypotheses, such as Dr. Ellie Sattler’s proposal that the InGen raptors aren’t true velociraptors at all and are actually large Deinonychus antirrhopus or Achillobator giganticus.)

Furthermore, beyond physical changes, these animals show mental changes as well. Advanced animals such as dromaeosaurs, need proper guidance that is crucial during early stages of development. It’s when they learn to how to hunt, to act as a pack, and how they live and nest. Proper parenting was NOT supplied to the raptors (or for any of the animals for that matter) during their growth on Isla Sorna or Isla Nublar. As a result the InGen velociraptors were forced to teach themselves, and thusly the have become highly aggressive towards any other animals (especially humans,) and even their own kind- often fighting and even killing one another for dominance, food, or sometimes for sport. Back in the Cretaceous, Velociraptors presumably had very refined social structure. Scientists believe that as individuals these animals likely relied heavily on one another, with strong bonds being made-a pack–much like wolves or lion prides today. While the InGen raptors have seemingly retained the pack hunting mentality on the islands, all other keystones are absent. Instead they are developing their own new system, through trial and error. And do to the complexity of this new system they have not been, and probably will not be, understandable. The raptor’s structure may seem barbaric and very “tooth and claw,” but it seems to be servings these animal’s means of survival quite well apparently. We have no way of predicting the extent, limits, or future of their sociology- due to the fact that it’s still being developed. When Game Theory is applied to biology it’s all about how organisms react to a situation, and success is determined by the actions of both itself and others. To insure success, the raptors have to develop a community system among their selves that’s both a hybrid of what is in their genetic makeup and what insures that they will survive.

This eventually applies to the overall ecology of the islands. Each species on the islands has had to compensate for what is wrong or absent. The herbivores now have to make up for these highly aggressive, smart carnivores that live in packs as well as the off scale predator to prey ratio.  Some of these animals wouldn’t even encounter one another if they were living in their native time. Then we throw them into this new world without as much as a second thought, and disrupt everything embedded in their makeup. Everything is undone to them, and they have to build everything from instincts and social behavior from scratch. To live in their new world, they have to be on the ultimate learning curve.

And it appears as though they are. The fact that the animals on the islands are seemingly adapting at such an incredible rate is both amazing, and dangerous. If they are learning this fast, soon enough they will be some of the smartest animals in the world. Humans do not even adapt this fast. If InGen’s prehistoric creatures continue this fast pace adapting how can we possibly have the slightest idea of what to expect will happen to us as a species because of it?

God Creates Dinosaurs, by Dr. Ian Malcom, is available at all major book retail stores, for $25.98.

“Jurassic Park”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “Jurassic Park ///”, “Jurassic World” are Trademarks of Universal Studios, Legendary Pictures, and Amblin Entertainment.

Based off Characters Created by Michael Crichton

lot of my paleontology friends/colleagues will roll their eyes as soon as they see this, so sorry. But by now I’m fairly certain it’s obvious to anybody who knows me that I’m super excited for Jurassic World to come out.  And part of the reason  has to be the marketing.

Today it’s fairly rare to have a super extensive marketing strategy for upcoming films. It happens, but not like it did in the 90’s. Between ’92 and ’94 Universal just dropped $62 million on marketing for Jurassic Park. That’s because besides a few other movies around then it was the only MAJOR film Universal was releasing. Film companies were able to just focus on one film each year in the 90’s. Nowadays companies have several big films coming out each year and they can’t afford to compete with themselves. So seeing Universal taking the time to really promote JW makes me extremely happy.

It’s actually really nostalgic to go in to stores and see the amount of promotional material. Posters, toys, bedding and clothes, party supplies, and food. Even Dairy Queen is having a JW promotion in June with the Jurassic Smash Blizzard. All of it really harkens back to the 90’s when the first two films came out. The promotion for JP and TLW seemed as big as the dinosaurs themselves. You hardly ever saw the same t-shirt twice. Burger King had TLW and McDonald’s had JP. Arcade games, board games, and home platform games. And the toys, GOD, the toys. Then there was Jurassic Park The Ride and Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure which garnished their own promotions, the latter of which being graced with an entirely new toyline of classic JP toy repaints.

While there was promotion for JP3, it was nowhere near the extent of the first two films. And then, as we all know it went quiet for 20 years. When JP:3D was released and we saw a little bit of the classic marketing come back. A few standees, a BK promotion, and some new toys. For a rerelease that’s quite a bit, but obviously it wasn’t going to be anything big.

Then comes JW, and fans have been pretty damn lucky with the amount of merch we’ve been getting. A new arcade game,  food products (which so far include four different WalMart pizzas, three different Mike and Ikes candies, peeps, fruit snacks, Pringles, Dairy Queen, movie theatre popcorn buckets and cups,) toys from Hasbro (albiet kind of so so in quality,) bedding, other household items, books, games, a Barbosol partnership, clothes, and some really bad ass displays at stores and cinemas. Oh, AND a plethora of TV spots, clips, and trailers. On top of all of that JW has a pretty extensive viral marketing campaign- spanning over two websites, Masrani Global, and Jurassic World’s official site (which acts as if it’s a real place!) Seriously, this viral marketing has to be some of the most extensive that I’ve seen since The Dark Knight back in 2008.

With Universal have several major films coming out this year (some already) including Furious 7, Minions, and *gag* even Fifty Shades of Grey, I say that they’ve actually gone above and beyond with the marketing on Jurassic World. Everything about the marketing, and seemingly even the film itself, brings back that feeling I and I’m sure many others had in the 90’s seeing JP and TLW stuff in stores. It’s cliche but it really does bring back that inner kid. I love going to stores and seeing kids excitedly talk to their parents about the JW merch they see. It’s almost the same feeling I get seeing kid in museums. Knowing the effect JP had on me as a child, I can only imagine the future filmmakers and scientists that JW may impact.

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Along with toys, cups, clothes, and other such merchandise as well as the movies there has also been another staple of marketing and entertainment for the Jurassic Park franchise: arcade games. The original SEGA Jurassic Park arcade game is one of my all time favorite games, and I have many fond memories as a child going to places like Chuck E. Cheese and nearly wasting all of my tokens on playing the game from start to finish. Then SEGA released The Lost World: Jurassic Park arcade game which was just as fun and perhaps even more enthralling . The graphics had been boosted, the models looked amazing, and the game drew from the mythos of the films as well as Crichton’s novels (yeah, who can remember that amazing tense sequence in the game with the disappearing Carnotaurus!?). Then for the third film  Konami released the Jurassic Park 3 arcade game. While perhaps not as groundbreaking or immersive as it’s predecessors the third game still offered a great FPS experience with some good graphics and great moments.

And then it went quiet, much like the film series. For years there was not another arcade game and it seemed like the three we had were getting harder and harder to find.

Then Jurassic World was announced, and a year later (closer to the release date) Raw Thrills (an arcade company known for making heavy duty action driven and  fun arcade games for independent properties) announces that they are coming out with a brand new Jurassic Park arcade game. And not only that, that it would be hankering back to the style seen in both SAGA’s JP and TLW games. A few days ago I contacted Raw Trills about locations close to me with the game, obviously wanting to play it asap) and they told me locations close by so I was able to track one down.

When I first saw this game at the arcade, I was stunned. I had done research on the types available to the public, which there are two. There is the one you see in the header image (the one I played) which is a Jurassic Park Arcade™ 55″ Environmental SD (which is very much akin to the SEGA TLW Environmental Arcade version) and there is also the Jurassic Park Arcade™ 55″ Motion DX (which is like the original SEGA JP arcade game, with moving seats and vibrations. THIS version of Raw Thrills’ JP game is also a BOSA 2015 Best of Show award winner.) The cabinet is absolutely gorgeous, and I wish I had snapped more images (maybe on a return visit.) There are tons of small details and sounds that completely immerse you before you even put in your change. It completely drowns out the other sounds from the arcade, which is fantastic.

The game itself is broken in to three main stages/missions- which are then divided in to three levels each (making for a total of nine levels.) The first mission is to capture a Triceratops, the second is for Tyrannosaurus, and the third is Spinosaurus. The games story is kind of a pseudo-prequel to Jurassic World. The island has had an eruption from the volcano and the dinosaurs are still on the loose. Your job is to round them up to protect them from the volcano, and from other dinos (and one can assume as well as for use in the new Jurassic World park.) The levels that break up the missions start off easy and progressively get harder. Obviously to get the most bang for your buck/best experience/most story you start off each mission from the beginning, but you are allowed a level select- so you can just go right to the final level of each mission if you wish (much like how in SEGA’s TLW you were allowed to pick beginner or expert, and with the beginner you actually get a longer story and experience than with the expert- where it essentially starts right at the final level of the game.)

The guns, unlike with the TLW and JP3 arcade game, have unlimited ammo- which is like the original JP arcade. You also are able to collect grenades (activated by buttons on top of the gun, away from the trigger) as well as various other type of super powerful ammunition. Used them all wisely though because unlike the regular ammo all of the special powerups are limited supply. Like all of the other JP arcade games, the game allows for two players.

The game itself is pretty straight forward with what you need to do and little prompts pop up letting you know when and where to shoot certain threats. The game gets progressively more difficult as you continue on, but not having to reload (like you do in the TLW and JP3 games) is a life saver. Still, you will die- so make sure that you have some coin saved up if you want to play the game from start to finish (most arcades, since this is new, have each play at $1 or more.) To play through the entire game (all nine levels) it’ll probably take you around 30-40 minutes.

The graphics are nice, but not something that I’d consider super groundbreaking. I do think that out of all the JP arcade games the JP3 game probably had the best graphics and all of the animals in the game looked exactly like their film counterparts. In this game we are treated to a lot of animals seen in the JP films, as well as a lot not scene but none of them really look anything like the animals seen in the films. Many of them have bodies with very vibrant coloration. It’s a sharp contrast to the humans and even the environments which are actually fairly natural and realistic.

The environments in the game look PHENOMENAL, with my favorite being the Visitors Center. The game takes place on Isla Nublar, the original Jurassic Park island and we are treated to visits and glimpses of some of the most memorable locations of the film. The Visitors Center is great looking and there are some amazing sequences in there in the game, especially in the rotunda involving the rex and the kitchen involving the raptors.  I also love the nods the developers put in to the other films, such as the The Lost World poster appearing on walls in buildings.

The game showcases nearly thirty different prehistoric species throughout the experience. Like I said before, some have been in the films and some have not. While the general public won’t mind it’s sure to raise a few brows, I’m sure, among the die hard JP fans. Questions like “why is there a spino on Nublar,” “why are the brachios attacking people,” and “since when are their archaeopteryx’s on InGen’s list” are a few that come to mind. Obviously Raw Thrills had to include not only famous dinosaurs to the series, but new threats so that there is some diversity but it’s because of reasons like these that the game can’t be considered canon (which doesn’t make it any less enjoyable!)

The sounds are great! While the game has what I’d say is a pretty generic arcade score (with a few majestic moments sticking out) it’s defiantly not the highlight or overly memorable. The ambient, and general sounds for the game are the real treats! There is a great balance of sound effects mixed in to this game, ensuring for a captivating experience. While I would have liked to have heard more of the iconic sounds of some of the dinosaurs, they all still sound imposing and terrifying. And when the tyrannosaur actually DOES burst out it’s iconic JP roar (as opposed to the Dino Crisis roar it has for most of the game) it’s absolutely chilling!

Raw Thrills’ Jurassic Park is a blast, plain and simple. Which as an arcade game, it should be. While moments of it seem somewhat nonsensical (seriously… why did the brachiosaurs try to nom on people?) it’s nearly all forgivable due to the overall experience. It’s a wild romp through Isla Nublar where you track down these terrifying dinos, or… escape as they track you down. While the game is fun it does have some thrilling moments, constant weapon violence, explosions and creature violence, a few human deaths, and at times moments of gore (most of it coming from when you shoot some of the smaller threats like parasitic bugs and flocks of archaeopteryx,) so I’d give some parental advisory before letting small children play.

The game is incredibly nostalgic, capturing a lot of the feeling and moments (two tyrannosaurs!? again!) of the original arcade games while bringing something new to the table. If you see it in an arcade do yourself a favor and give it a play.