Jurassic World 2: An Impending Success or Colossal Flop?

Kelli Bahls, Staff Writer

Spoiler warning: This article contains references to the trailers and advertisements marketed by Universal Pictures for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Fan theories and speculations may include spoilers. 

This summer promises to be packed with blockbuster movies from start to finish. From Avengers: Infinity War to Solo: A Star Wars Story and Incredibles 2, there will be films in every genre for moviegoers to enjoy. There is one summer film, however, with the potential to generate high ratings and billions in profit—or—turn an entire franchise upside-down.    

Roaring into theaters on June 22, 2018, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up the story four years after the destruction of the infamous theme park on Isla Nublar. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt, reprising their roles as Claire Dearing and Owen Grady, respectfully, will serve alongside a cast composed of new and familiar faces. According to IMDB, the plot centers on Owen and Claire returning to Isla Nublar “to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from [an] extinction-level event.”  

With J.A. Bayona as director, this much-hyped sequel is set to take a dark turn and reclaim some of the shock and horror elements attributed to the original 1993 Jurassic Park film, directed by Steven Spielberg. This task should prove to be a refreshing challenge for Bayona as an up-and-coming director. While he is relatively new to the Hollywood film scene, he directed the horror film The Orphanage in 2007 and the fantasy/drama A Monster Calls in 2016.   

“He is genius when it comes to frightening people,” Howard reported with a laugh in the new film’s behind-the-scenes trailer, released in December 2017.   

Despite the hype and publicity, there are some concerns among Jurassic Park enthusiasts about the quality of this fifth franchise installment. The trailers contain lots of dinosaurs and heightened suspense, but they reveal a lot about the film’s plot. Withholding key plot details is crucial for maintaining suspense and keeping people interested. To the filmmakers’ credit, the trailers do prompt some serious questions about how exactly the film will be resolved, and whether the film will do so in a tasteful and entertaining manner.  

Another concern involves the film’s treatment of the Mosasaurus, which can be seen in the latest trailer stalking surfers from within a monstrous wave. While the marine reptile made a splash of a debut in Jurassic World, trailer reviewer and Park enthusiast James Beavers argues that “stuff like that needs to be . . . handled very carefully” to prevent the films from turning into “B-movie quality.” In other words, the Mosasaurus could singlehandedly degrade the film in a Sharknado-style fashion without proper due care.  

Similarly, the fate of “Rexy,” the franchise’s iconic T-rex, could greatly affect the way moviegoers rate and assess the film.   

Despite these concerns, Universal’s proactive advertising and merchandising strategy suggests the company has a lot to gain if the film goes over well—and maybe even if it does poorly. It is not unreasonable to imagine that theaters will be packed when Fallen Kingdom makes its box office debut regardless of initial film reviews.   

Even Jurassic Park III (2001), with its short running-time and mixed reviews, managed to gross $368 million worldwide with little difficulty. The controversy-provoking third film also reinforced the idea that the debut of new dinosaurs, even at the expense of plot and character development, could prove powerful enough to draw people out to see another Jurassic Park movie.  

To the credit of Bayona and his team, Fallen Kingdom goes beyond the introduction of one or two new dinosaurs. In addition to a new and dangerous dinosaur hybrid, the film’s trailers suggest that no less than five new dinosaurs will appear in the film, including CarnotaurusStygimoloch, and Baryonyx. This expansion of genetic diversity on Isla Nublar not only provides room for more plot development, but it also provides yet another reason for more people to check out the film—even if it is just to see their favorite childhood dinosaur on the big screen.  

Jurassic World (2015) provided the means for a sequel by posing several important questions about the fate of the park and the dinosaurs within it. After Dr. Wu escaped the island, did he succeed in making another Indominus rex at “a fraction of the size,” as Hoskins foreshadowed? With all of the emphasis in Fallen Kingdom trailers on an extinction-level volcanic eruption, will a group of scientists and mercenaries try to “rescue” the dinosaurs and get them off the island? What, if anything, happens to Blue, Owen’s beloved Velociraptor? And with such high stakes, what could possibly go wrong?  

Here’s to hoping that Howard, Pratt, and Bayona deliver a heart-stopping, certified-fresh sequel that makes Jurassic Park enthusiasts proud and keeps audiences coming back for more.