The Amber Trilogy is what I call the trilogy of the three Jurassic Park movies. The only unique features of Jurassic Park over other dinosaur movies like When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Primeval or Terra Nova is the very realistic way in which modern humans and dinosaurs are placed in the same moment. In Jurassic Park science has recreated dinosaurs using DNA from ancient mosquitoes that had fed on dinosaurs before they got trapped in wood resin. Therefore this movie series triggered real scientific debate and had become a stereotype for genetic engenering.
The last movie was made in 2001 and many fans would like to see a sequel. The question is what the sequels should be about. It this article I argue that Jurassic Park IV should take place in a brand new universe and should not be a continuation of the old Amber Trilogy.
Real dinosaurs are not enough
The movies The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III both had a go-to-the-island-and-get-eaten-plot. Ofcourse, in every dinosaur movie people are running for vicious dinosaurs; otherwise there's no fun anymore. But you have to come up with a good reason WHY people would come near dinosaurs.
Brian Switek pointed this out in his excellent article Why Do We Keep Going Back to Jurassic Park?:
Jurassic Park was so successful because the film combined spectacular visual imagery with an unfamiliar, exciting perspective of dinosaurs. We probably won’t see a combination of such conditions again. ... Special effects will continue to be fine-tuned, but I can’t imagine them becoming drastically better that what we have already seen. At this point, good dinosaur movies are going to have to rely on solid storytelling. We have brought the dinosaurs back—we have the technology—but now that the novelty is gone filmmakers have to write compelling stories that draw viewers into the worlds they want to create. Without that, we just end up wanting the dinosaurs to devour all the characters we’re supposed to relate to (a feeling I have lately been having in regard to Terra Nova).
What could be a solid plot
What could Jurassic Park IV be like? Jurassic Park inspired games give an example of possible plots. Games like Trespasser, Island Attack etc. also have a plot where people arive at the island by accident, and have to run for their lives. But people have already seen this for two times. Joe Johnston himself said in an interview by Ain't It Cool News: "Why would anybody go back to that island? It was hard enough to figure out the second and third reason for them to go".
Therefore Johnston also said: "Well, there is a great story for the fourth one that I would be interested in getting involved with and it’s nothing like the first three. It sort of takes the franchise off in a completely different direction, which is the only way I would want to get involved."
But what could be new?
Well, if people don't go to the dinosaurs, the dinosaurs can come to us. Many have reasoned that it would be new if Jurassic Park IV takes place on the mainland. This could work because it has allusions to the original novels of Michael Crichton. In the Jurassic Park novel the small Procompsognathus and Velociraptor arrive in Costa Rica by boat and hide in the Ismaloya Mountains.
Larger dinosaurs could reach the mainland too. Elephants are large mainland animals but they have crossed the seas to islands of Indornesia, California, the Mediterranean etc. without the help of humans. Dinosaurs could cross the 87 miles between Isla Sorna and Costa Rica too, certainly because Isla Nublar lies in between as a resting place.
Personally I don't think this will work. Everyone knows were the dinosaurs came from. So, that won't need any covering. So you have 1,5 hours in which dinosaurs go rampand in the streets and eat people. Authorities are (as always) unprepared. The protagonists have to risk their lives to shoot the dinosaurs.
Regardless of how real or evil the dinosaurs look, this won't attract the crowds.
I think the same can be said about all fan fictions I have seen.
Why Jurassic Park?
Imagine you want to have a scene of humans lost in a jungle hunted by dinosaurs. If you want this scene in any Jurassic Park film you need a lot of stupidity from the human's side. You need a git who accidently disables the security fences while turning of a security camera, or short-term-thinking-eco-terrorists who release the dinosaurs from their pen and let them destroy their equipment, locks that magically unlock or tourists the parasail amoung the dinosaurs.
In Primeval or Terra Nova a time portal appears and send the humans back to a primeval jungle. The humans don't have to lose their guns by some clumsiness, they never had guns because the portal caught them by surprise and totally unprepared.
The same is true if you want a scene in which a T. rex runs havoc through a city. In Jurassic Park media you need people to ship the creature all the way from Isla Sorna to the town in question. And while they have the tech and money for the shipment, they are incapable to sedate the creature properly. And ofcourse they don't have a emergency plan in case the T. rex would break free.
In Primeval a time portal can just appear in a shopping center and let the creatures loose. The emergency response unit of the ARC knows when a portal appears, but always need some to to get there and figure out what kind of threat they're dealing with.
The only thing that is really unique of Jurassic Park (and the only reason why I'm into JP for that matter) is that the dinosaur are cloned. The whole theme of resurrecting extinct life by humans is something that fascinates me. I strongly believe that Jurassic Park media should be all about that. Otherwise, it is better to make another Primeval or Terra Nova season. However, only Jurassic Park and Trespasser have been able to do that. JPIII and all JPIV concepts I have seen hardly mention this topic and have become Primeval-wanabees.
- For example, this is a scene I've been dying to see in JP media:
Any JPIII sequel takes place decades after the creation of the dinosaurs. Therefore, it can never be a main part of the plot.
All JPIII sequels will have a plot like this. Everyone knows there are dinos on Isla Sorna. Everyone knows it is dangerous. No-one really has to be there. A good army could keep the dinos from reaching the main land. Because of an unrealistically stupid act by the humans, dinos and humans end up with each other. The humans lose their guns and/or phones. Humans are hunted by dinos. Humans reach a phone. Humans are saved.
I don't believe this has a future.
The only solution I know for both problem is to make requels or midquels to the first film (like The Game). Or better, we could remake Jurassic Park.
- ↑ Ain't It Cool News interview
- ↑ Problems in the Land Vertebrate Zoogeography of Certain Islands and the Swimming Powers of Elephants, Donald Lee Johnson, Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 7, No. 4, Dec., 1980