The Brilliant Subtext You Missed in Jurassic World

So, we all saw Jurassic World. I know this, because Jurassic World sold ALL of the tickets; earning $1 billion in only 13 days. It's been out for over two weeks now, and people are still talking about it. So, I'm going to keep blogging about it. 

 
 
It seems that if you saw Jurassic World, you were probably disappointed by it. I'm basing this opinion purely from conversation and word of mouth from friends and colleagues, so my observations are extremely subjective. For the most part, those disappointments seem to be as follows: 
 

"Jurassic World didn't SAY anything! There is no point to the movie at all!"

"It's a bunch of plots that don't work together. It was sloppy"
 
"Nothing will ever be better than the first. It was fun, but Jurassic World is stupid fun."
 
 
I think that these complaints are from individuals that almost entirely overlooked precisely what Colin Trevorrow was trying to do. He was trying to make a "meta" sequel. A sequel about sequels
 
Just, stay with me for a moment. Here's an interview where he touches on the subject briefly: CLICK FOR SOURCE 
 
Since the only thing the internet loves more than cats, is lists... I'll put in three main bullet points for you. 
 
1. Jurassic World tells the same story as Jurassic Park
 
I'm talking on the macro level here, so different characters and plot devices are obviously discounted... but what was Jurassic World's BEST tagline by far? "The Park is Open". It is blatantly telling you "hey, we are straight up going to put people in Jurassic Park and have everything go wrong, AGAIN!"
 
"NO CHRIS, the park never opened, so it's totally a new story! Plus, that's essentially no different from the other sequels!"
 
OK, let's review the plots of the previous Jurassic Films then.
 
A) Jurassic Park: A bunch of cool peeps are visiting beta-Jurassic World. Everything goes wrong, the project is cancelled. 
 
B) The Lost World: A bunch of photojournalists go to a second island where other dinosaurs were kept in their natural state to do some sort of bullcrap, and everything goes wrong because some dino-poachers show up and it is literally the worst idea to be there at all. 
 
C) Jurassic Park 3: Some idiot kid and his dad go parasailing into the same island that The Lost World takes place in, so a rescue mission goes underway to recover them, but everything is wrong because everything is literally just super wrong with this movie. 
 
D) Jurassic World: A bunch of cool peeps visit Jurassic World. Everything goes wrong. 
 
So, which of the above examples share a nearly identical plot synopsis? If you guessed A and D, you are correct! You win the prize. 
 
 
Heck, even the cast is more or less the same by the film's end. We have a macho dino-smart male dude, a dino smart in a slightly different way scientist lady, and kids/siblings. At the macro level, it's borderline identical. 
 
2. Jurassic World acknowledges that Jurassic Park was better
 
The film's primary source of comic relief, Lowery, pretty much spells this out for us. "That first park was legit!" Heck he even is wearing one of the sweet shirts from the first film. That's not a fake t-shirt the PD department cooked up for the movie. That is an actual shirt that you could have found in the 90's. We all had one; everyone but you. That's why you were picked last in gym. 
 
 
Not to mention the fact that the film is LITTERED with easter eggs. One or two little nods can be discounted as simple fanservice, but the overwhelming number of callbacks throughout the film imply that a profound sense of nostalgia is what's truly on display here. I can't even begin to list them all, so just check out this super sweet youtube video that did all of that work for me. CLICK FOR SOURCE
 
If you clicked the above link you'll have noticed that the T-Rex at the film's climax is the same T-Rex from the original Jurassic Park. Is it not strangely poetic how the last few beats of the film play out with this in mind? Leading to my next point: 
 
3. Jurassic World acknowledges that a perfect sequel will always be an imperfect movie
 
Let's do a quick play by play of that last scene, because this is where it lands HARD
 
Our heroes are surrounded by raptors (like in the first film's climax), but a bigger baddie (Indominus Rex) shows up to give them some REX N' FX.
 
Spoiler Alert: That dude with the gun... doesn't get very much screentime.
 
After the raptors are thwomped (just like in JP), our heroes summon the original T-Rex to save the day! Cooperating with the only remaining raptor, the T-Raptor combo takes the Indominus Rex down. 
 
Now, go out into the street, and ask any rational 8-year old what their favorite dinosaur is. You will get either:
 
A) the T-Rex
B) Raptors
or C) some pansy dinosaur that like, 2% of people would think about. 
 
No.                  NO.                    WRONG. 
 
The Indominus Rex is the unholy combination of everyone's two favorite dinosaurs. It's the perfect new attraction for a park that needs something new to draw the crowds. When they asked for "more teeth," the park delivered. But I guarantee you that it won't be anyone's new favorite dinosaur, probalby ever. 
 
Yet, that is exactly what we do with movies, and aren't we almost always equally disappointed? How often, all sequels considered, does this actually result in a better movie? 
 
STOP.
 
Trevorrow sets the original dream team to take down the ultimate dream machine. In doing so, the meataphorical origin story trashes the monster that represents modern hollywood. Because at the end of the day, the first time is most likely going to be the best time. That is, so long as you're just going for a cookie-cutter "bigger, badder, more teeth" approach. Once you confuse "grander" for "deeper", that's when your script gets in trouble. Audiences will always seek something more profound over something explosive. That deep desire to be "wowed" doesn't come from how many crazy ideas you can cram into a silver screen, it's how good those ideas are by themselves. 
 
Two T-Rex's doesn't make a better movie. 
 
A "This is bigger than a T-Rex" doesn't make a better movie. 
 
But a movie that reminds us what it was like to be 8 years old seeing the T-Rex for the first time? That's a pretty damn good movie. 
 
So if you didn't like Jurassic World because "nothing will touch the original", I'm calling you out on your nonsense. Jurassic World was everything you should have wanted it to be, and it deserves praise for its amazing balance of awesomeness and humility. 
 
This T-Rex and your face probably have a lot in common right now.
 
Sure it is kind of silly that Claire wears heels the whole time... and there are a few minor plotholes.
 
But let's not forget that the original Jurassic Park has what might be the biggest plot hole of all time. CLICK FOR SOURCE

 
Chris Keyes
Director of Digital Content