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Beloved as Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is, the first two sequels in the franchise don’t exactly get the same kind of respect. Upon their release, both The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III failed to inspire the same kind of awe and joy that their predecessor did – which goes a long way in explaining why it took so long to get a fourth chapter. Many people have different opinions on why these follow-ups failed to be as successful as the original, but Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow has a theory of his very own, which all has to do with the perception of what an island of dinosaurs actually means in the context of the story.
The filmmaker explained this theory to me this past weekend when I had the chance to sit down with him for a one-on-one interview during the Jurassic World press day in Los Angeles. I asked the director if there was were certain lessons learned from the previous sequels that were applied to his process making the upcoming blockbuster, and he explained to me why he believes that neither The Lost World: Jurassic Park nor Jurassic Park III live up to the modern classic they followed. Said Trevorrow,
I felt like both of those movies had a disadvantage in their fundamental architecture, and that is that the first movie had a place that you could go to that was wondrous and magical and would bring you great joy - but surprise, you’re going to die. In those other movies, you’re going to a place that’s dangerous and you’re going to die, and sure enough, you do. So, you know, the equation was different in those two.
If you think about that theory for a second, you’ll come to realize that Jurassic World actually comes organically from this kind of thinking. Sure, audiences go into the movie knowing that shit is going to hit the fan and that catastrophe is going to occur, but that isn’t the case for the characters in the new movie. While Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm and Sam Neill’s Alan Grant were terrified of returning to dino island in The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, respectively, the individuals we follow to the fully functional theme park in the third sequel are a pair of kids (Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson) who aren’t fearing death, and are excited by the prospect of seeing real dinosaurs.
That being said, Colin Trevorrow admitted that this aspect of Jurassic World’s plot was actually already in place before he and co-screenwriter Derek Connolly took control of the writing process, and came directly from the proverbial godfather of the series. He explained,
We came in, that was already there; the idea to have the park be fully functional was already there. It was an idea of Steven [Spielberg]’s and he has great ideas.
Jurassic World arrives in theaters this Friday.