“Jurassic Park movies don’t fit into a specific genre. They’re sci-fi adventures that also have to be funny, emotional, and scary as hell. That takes a lot of construction, but it can’t feel designed.”—Colin Trevorrow
Jurassic Park has become an iconic series since its introduction in 1993, and the tale of criminally negligent amusement park owners has continued with the Jurassic World series. Star-Lord himself has joined the series’ new additions, with 2015’s Jurassic World, 2018’s Fallen Kingdom, and whatever additional sequels are likely follow because of how much money the movies bring in. Here are 42 gene-splicing facts about the latest entries into the world of Jurassic Park.
42. Clearing Up
Some early news about Jurassic World described it as a reboot of the series, and viewers might have thought so too since none of the original cast was present in the film—and who would want another theme park after the original trilogy? Eventually, director Colin Trevorrow verified that Jurassic World is a sequel that takes place twenty-two years after Jurassic Park. Some sites reported that Jurassic World would ignore The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. Trevorrow confirmed that the events in those films are “placed to the side” or were ignored for Jurassic World since the original sequels took place on a different island.
41. Glass Houses
The original trilogy used a classic dino for its main monster, the T-Rex. The third switched up the formula with the Spinosaurus and then Jurassic World gave us the fictional Indominus, Rex a mashup of dinosaurs who made memorable appearances in the first film, like the T-Rex and raptors. Director Colin Trevorrow said that the fictional dino is meant to symbolize human greed or our desire to always want more since the dino is a result of corporate execs who are desperate to give audiences something new in order to keep them entertained. Seems meta.
40. Long Time Coming
A fourth Jurassic Park film had actually been in the works since 2001, shortly after the release of Jurassic Park III. Director Joe Johnston said he had fun bringing the world to life in the third installment but was ready to step back and “let someone else play with the dinos.” By the end of 2001, Steven Spielberg, who directed the first two, already had some ideas for a fourth laid out that would “take Jurassic Park mythology to a whole new level.”
39. Lawsuit Waiting to Happen
The gyrospheres, the glass orbs visitors can use to navigate around the park, always seemed like a terrible idea to me, since they are slow and are also made of glass that can’t hold up to a dinosaur attack. It looks like Spielberg is actually responsible, so we can’t blame Trevorrow. Spielberg wanted to devise a way for visitors to get real close to the dinosaurs, but maybe he should have thought of an armored gyrosphere.
38. The Numbers
Jurassic World is currently the highest-grossing Jurassic Park film, unadjusted for inflation, standing at $1.6 billion dollars. World is then followed by the original, then The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III.
Jurassic World and previously held the title for the fastest film to reach $500 million, making half a billion in 17 days. The 17-day record was later broken by the current champion, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (10 days). Infinity War (15 days), The Last Jedi (16), and Black Panther (16) follow that record up.
Adjusted for inflation, the original still holds the crown with $789 million.
37. Money Talks
The author of Jurassic Park’s source material, Michael Crichton, passed away in 2008 and producer Frank Marshall initially expressed wariness about continuing with the series. “Maybe that’s a sign we don’t mess with it,” Marshall said. Ten years later, we’re two films deep into a new trilogy.
36. Get With the Times
Since the original trilogy, motion capture has become an increasingly popular way to bring CGI creations to life. We have motion capture to thank for Joel and Ellie in the video game The Last of Us, and Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. Jurassic World is the first of the Jurassic Park films to use motion-capture for its dinosaurs, mainly the raptors—and the behind the scenes photos are hilarious.
Trevorrow was able to visit Industrial Light and Magic and perform some of his own motion capture, in order to get a better understanding of how the medium worked. He decided to stick with the decision since he believes no CGI can match motion capture. Some people might disagree after seeing the movie.
Although “Jurassic Park 4” was ultimately scrapped, some of the ideas from the dino-human hybrid story remain. Aside from the Indominus Rex, we also have Chris Pratt’s character, who appears to be a tweaked version of “Nick Harris.” Like Harris, Owen Grady also controls a pack of raptors (who are human-raptor hybrids in the old script). Additionally, the original script also featured the island being threatened by an active volcano, just like in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Like Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards, Trevorrow is another director who graduated straight to a huge blockbuster after making his name with indie films. Trevorrow was handpicked for the role after Spielberg saw Safety Not Guaranteed. For Trevorrow, he says directing a big blockbuster is actually a more comfortable process than “being an actual person in real life.”
Jurassic World’s script was written in “a couple of weeks” (which explains a lot) but the film’s release was ultimately delayed about a year since Trevorrow wanted more time to incorporate practical effects into the film, instead of relying on CGI. Trevorrow praises Spielberg for being willing to stand by him and tell the studio they needed more time to “get it right.”
32. Location, Location
The Jurassic World series focuses on two fictional islands, Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna. Jurassic World takes place on Isla Nublar, like the original, while The Lost World and Jurassic Park III take place on Isla Sorna. As for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? I’m not gonna spoil it.
31. Moving On Up
The box office success of Jurassic World actually landed Trevorrow a gig as the director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Trevorrow has since left the project due to creative differences but most people can’t say they were signed on to direct an entry in the Star Wars canon.
The theme of scientific ethics in the Jurassic Park franchise has actually gained them some praise from PETA. The new releases also led PETA senior vice-president Lisa Lange to praise the films for bringing up the issues of animal rights and environmental devastation. She said, “They’ve made a movie about animal lives, about animal protection, [and] our bad tendencies as the human race.” PETA’s own ideal formula for rescuing periled animals also mirrors the Jurassic Park universe, since they would want a government-funded island that allows the animals to roam free.
29. Nasty Women
Director J.A. Bayona gave his actors some freedom to improvise on set for Fallen Kingdom, resulting in a line that was inspired by the 2016 presidential debates. Actor Ted Levine addresses another character as “nasty woman,” which was a reference to Trump’s use of the phrase to describe Hillary Clinton. Bayona got the reference and thought the line was funny, so it stayed in the final cut.
28. Thanks, Little Man
The Jurassic World script was originally going to feature more than one hybrid dinosaur, with the film focusing on one for the majority but also having another reveal towards the climax. It was Trevorrow’s five-year-old son that made Trevorrow commit to one. Trevorrow, like a good father, was showing his son the original Star Wars films. When the series was done, Trevorrow Jr. realized that the presence of other Jedis in The Return of the Jedi would have made the character of Luke less special.
27. Surf’s Up
It’s always interesting to ask a director what their favorite moment of shooting a movie was. It might be a scene that resonates emotionally, or it might just be something they had fun coordinating. It’s the latter in Trevorrow’s case. He fondly recalls soaking two hundred extras for the scene where the mosasaur feeds on a shark and then returns beneath the water, soaking the bleacher section. Hopefully, he made sure they hadn’t left their phones in their pockets beforehand.
26. Vroom Vroom
Pratt got to keep the motorcycle his character rides throughout the film. The bike was given as a gift but might bring up some bad memories since Pratt took a spill off it during filming. However, Pratt says that the only thing that got bruised was his ego.
Watching Jurassic World, you might wonder why some of the dinosaurs in the newer films don’t look as realistic as the ones we saw nearly two decades prior. One reason is likely the absence of Stan Winston, a special effects and makeup creator who worked on all the previous Jurassic Park films as well as other series like Iron Man. Winston passed away in 2008, but his former employees continue his work with Legacy Effects. Jurassic World’s “Winston’s” steakhouse is also a tribute to Stan.
24. Who Needs a Runway
So you might have been watching Jurassic World, seeing Bryce Dallas Howard sprinting from a T-Rex, and then realizing she did it in high heels. Howard ran in high heels in real life for the shoot, and also defended her character’s footwear as the result of a businesswoman disconnected from the animals in her park. Howard also adds that her character has been in high heels “her whole life” and shows how a hero doesn’t need flat shoes or menswear to save the day. Fair enough.
23. Five Years Later
While filming a behind-the-scenes video for Parks and Recreation’s DVD, Chris Pratt joked that Steven Spielberg was texting him, saying “God, so annoying” and pretending to type “I’ll have to get back to you later about Jurassic Park 4.” All the way back in 2010, Star-Lord already had his career trajectory figured out.
Jurassic Park was infamous among paleontologists and any dinosaur buffs for turning the turkey-sized velociraptors into man-sized beasts—as if a turkey with huge claws wasn’t terrifying enough. Jurassic World follows in daddy’s footsteps and gives the mosasaur, a sea reptile, a 12-foot size increase. In real life, mosasaurs could grow up to 60 feet, while the one in the film is 72 feet.
Since the release of the original trilogy, it’s been confirmed that dinosaurs were feathered creatures. Jurassic World still didn’t include the feathers, instead relying on the explanation of one of the park’s scientists. It’s Dr. Wu who explains that due to the genetic splicing needed to create dinosaurs—like the frog DNA used in the original film—the dinosaurs in the park don’t look exactly like how their historical counterparts would have. We’ll take his word for it, I guess.
20. The Dream Lives
Jurassic World features many things that can make its viewers—or just me—jealous: Romantic relationships, in-shape characters, and a petting zoo that lets kids ride a triceratops. Where was that during my childhood? That petting zoo scene was intended to be in Jurassic Park but Spielberg decided that the scene ruined the film’s pacing. Too bad for the effects people, who reportedly spent a year working on the effects.
19. Hello Again
Jurassic World actually features some clips from Jurassic Park, in a sense. Maybe you remember the dilophosaurus that attacked Newman—sorry, Nedry—in the first film. I lost sleep to it so I remember vividly. The venom-spitting (not historically accurate) dino returns as a hologram that helps to distract a raptor chasing the main characters.
18. Phone Home
Every Jurassic Park film has featured references to other Steven Spielberg films. The new films keep the trend going with the great white shark that is fed to the mosasaur in Jurassic World, a reference to Jaws. Fallen Kingdom features more, including a character donning the same yellow raincoat we remember Nedry wearing—and maybe Georgie too. The red hoodie that Maisie wears in the film is meant to be a reference to the hoodie worn by Elliot in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
17. Somewhere out there
So far, Dr. Wu (BD Wong) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are the only characters from the original trilogy to appear in the new films. Trevorrow has said he wants to reintroduce Dr. Grant and/or Dr. Ellie Sattler before the films conclude, agreeing with an interviewer that he would feel robbed if the series ended without seeing them again.
16. “Based on a True Story”
The new films may not have all the old cast but at least they have the same consultant. Paleontologist Jack Horner served as the consultant for the first film and also returned for Jurassic World. However, Horner still insists the films aren’t documentaries since creative decisions get made to ensure the films are entertaining. After all, the whole premise of the series would fall apart with scientific accuracy. Scientists have tried to extract DNA from frozen mosquitos, but attempts have been unsuccessful.
15. Welcome to Jurassic Park
Richard Attenborough wished to return as John Hammond in the fourth film but passed away during the film’s long stay in development hell. Hammond is memorialized in the film by a statue in the new theme park.
14. In Another Universe
While the director was handpicked, the same can’t be said for the films leads. The role of Owen Grady eventually went to Chris Pratt but reported contenders included Henry Cavill, John Krasinski, Josh Brolin, and Jason Statham. According to reports, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character could have been played by Keira Knightley or Kristen Stewart—but could they have run in heels with the same panache?
13. Pen and Paper
After a film is written, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) weighs in on who receives credit for the work. Trevorrow and Derek Connolly co-wrote the screenplay but the WGA didn’t see it that way, according to their 2015 ruling. Connolly originally got sole screenplay credit. Couple Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa wrote an earlier draft and also got a “story by” credit. Trevorrow made it clear that he disdained the process but also said he didn’t hold any animosity for the credited writers. However, sources like IMDB do credit Trevorrow with a “screenplay by” credit.
12. Life uh, Finds A Way
Although audiences had to wait for Fallen Kingdom for Dr. Ian Malcolm to make a full cameo, he does make an appearance of sorts in Jurassic World. His book about his experience at the original park, God Creates Dinosaurs, is spotted in the park’s control room and is also pictured in Claire’s assistant Zara’s hands early in the film.
Community creator Dan Harmon is credited with introducing a fan theory concerning Chris Pratt’s character, Owen Grady. Grady states that his relationship with the raptors is built on respect, which led Harmon to wonder if Grady was the same character Dr. Grant speaks to in Jurassic Park. The “volunteer boy” was a kid volunteering at Grant’s dig site, who said the velociraptor didn’t look scary and changed his mind after Grant gave him a rundown of the raptor’s hunting methods. Pratt’s age lines up with the “volunteer boy” actor, Whit Hertford. Hertford has joked that the real answer is his and his alone, while Trevorrow also refused to confirm or deny the rumor since he doesn’t want to “kill the fun.” However, Pratt has dismissed the theory as being untrue.
10. Bird is the Word
Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Tomorrowland), serves as the welcoming voice for Jurassic World’s monorail. Bird was one of Trevorrow’s greatest mentors, inviting him on the set of Tomorrowland to observe the making of a big blockbuster. It was during this set visit that Trevorrow made the offer, which included writing a backstory for the character, “He worked on the tram and he lives in North Hollywood and writes screenplays at night.”
Jurassic Park featured a scene where the child characters are threatened by a T-Rex tearing through the glass roof of their Jeep. Jurassic World features a scene that appears to be a homage to the original, with the Indominus Rex trying to tear through the glass gyrosphere in order to get the two tasty morsels inside.
8. Started from the Bottom
Irfan Khan plays Jurassic World park owner, Simon Masrani, and admits that when the first film came out in 1993, he couldn’t afford to go see it.
Nedry got a face full of venom for trying to steal dino eggs in Jurassic Park, obscuring his vision before he got eaten. 22 years later, the new park’s tech guy, Lowery, can be spotted wearing the same glasses that one of his predecessors did. Who knows, maybe his origin story can show him finding them one day before stepping into the office.
Chris Pratt’s first date was actually a movie night to check out Jurassic Park. Pratt’s mom and one of her friends set their children up for a night out when Pratt was 13. The date was forgettable according to Pratt, but the movie was great—sounds like most of my dates. Meanwhile, Bryce Dallas Howard saw the film with her dad, director/producer Ron Howard. Much more memorable.
A Six Flags opened in New Orleans in 2002, and Hurricane Katrina closed it three years later. The park floundered, abandoned and probably looking like something out of The Walking Dead before film studios started using it. Jurassic World used the park for nine weeks in 2014, letting the space stand in for the dinosaur park’s crowded walkways.
4. Missed You
If there’s one thing I can’t fault Trevorrow for, it’s his love for continuity. The T-Rex featured in Jurassic World is actually the same one that appears in the original Jurassic Park. Fans with better eyes than mine noticed the scars around its neck, like the scars the original T-Rex got from fighting raptors. Trevorrow later confirmed the T-Rex is meant to be the same one that saved Dr. Grant 22 years earlier, saying “she’s a little older, and she’s angry.”
In order to film a scene where he wrestled with a pteranodon, Pratt wrestled with a little person in green spandex named Marty. It was all fun and games until Pratt threw Marty aside like the scene called for, only to see Marty land on his head and start bleeding. The scene couldn’t be cut immediately due to the large number of extras around—fake pandemonium and what not—but fortunately, Marty was good to go for another take once he got cleaned up.
2. Wasting Away Again
Musician Jimmy Buffett, best known for Margaritaville, makes a cameo in Jurassic World carrying… you guessed it, margaritas. Buffett’s restaurant chain, Margaritaville, is also featured as one of the tourist spots on the island in Jurassic World.
1. Second Amendment
William Monahan and John Sayles were the writers originally picked for “Jurassic Park 4” back in the mid-2000s. Since Monahan had recently won an Oscar for The Departed, Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment probably expected something along the lines of the first film: an adventure film that also raised interesting questions about ethics and science. Amblin ultimately shut the film down and fired the writers when they were presented with a script that included dino-human hybrids with machine guns. Maybe it wasn’t right for the Jurassic franchise, but it kind of sounds awesome to me.
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