With Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom finally hitting theaters stateside, let’s delve into spoilerish detail about the elements of the movie we found most … curious, to say the least.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does a lot in its two hours on screen. Volcano disasters, a haunted house where there’s a dinosaur playing the role of the ghost, and that’s just the stuff from the trailers. It stands to reason, then, that it might skip over a few things as it rushes to the next mad set-piece – so here are the biggest questions we want answered after watching the movie.
What’s happened to Masrani Corp. and InGen?
The Masrani Corporation’s mistakes were the catalyst for everything we see here, but the new owner of InGen is nowhere to be seen. The one reference we get during the film is a BBC news report that mentions the company paid out $800 million to those affected by the events of the first film. In 2014, the year before Jurassic World’s events, Masrani Corp. had made $812 million dollars in profit, and was the 12th richest company in the world – so that payout would be a pretty big hit.
Today, the Masrani Global tie-in website displays a letter to the company’s investors, simply saying it’s suffering “the worst financial crisis the company has ever seen”, and is holding an emergency board meeting. We can probably surmise that Masrani Corp. is dead or dying by the events of this new movie – but that doesn’t explain why actor Michael Papajohn is listed as playing an “InGen Contractor” in Fallen Kingdom. Has InGen been bought up by Lockwood? It’s not quite clear.
How does no one see the island evacuation crew?
Early in the film, we’re specifically shown news coverage of the Isla Nublar volcano, taken from off-island. It seems odd that no one – news crews, scientists, activists – is watching the island by the time Ted Levine’s Wheatley unloads his huge “rescue” team. Not only is a newly-active volcano something of interest for many people, but it’s also an extinction-level event for an entire species. Trenchant satire of human callousness in the 24-hour news era, or convenient omission? Probably the latter.
Aren’t the dinosaurs a bit… cheap?
We’re told that the unscrupulous types who buy Mills’ captures will use them to create biological weapons, advance science in new and terrifying ways and, according to Ian Malcolm, usher in a new age of human history. And then the world’s last Ankylosaur is sold for the price of 100 seconds of Super Bowl advertising. It just seems strangely low. When it comes to the Indoraptor – a species specifically bred to change the face of modern warfare – even $43 million dollars seems like a bargain for these people. That’s the going rate for a middling Premier League player, and I haven’t seen Moussa Sissoko tear through a dozen security guards recently.
What can the Indoraptor actually do?
We’re told a lot about just how scary the Indoraptor is, but very little about why. Besides its obedience to laser beams and that bulletproof skin (and maybe an innate ability to understand how to play dead when not sufficiently tranquilized – a bit weird), there’s not a great deal shown as to what all that precision engineering offers the Indoraptor above your bog-standard, part-frog Blue. In fact, at times it seems less capable than Blue. We’re specifically told that a raptor can smell you from a mile away – so why does the Indoraptor have trouble finding Owen, Claire and Maisie when they’re literally 6 feet beneath its nose? It seems odd that a creature designed to enhance what raptors already have would have one of their key hunting features left out.
How old is the Indoraptor, and where has the Mosasaurus been?
They never meet, but the Indoraptor and Mosasaurus are connected. We know for sure that the new raptor is created from the Indominus Rex bone recovered in the film’s opening sequence – which is when the Mosasaurus escapes into the wild. But how long before the main events of Fallen Kingdom was that? In the original Jurassic Park, we’re told that “Dinosaurs mature rapidly, attaining full size in two to four years” and Muldoon says that raptors are “lethal at 8 months”.
We can’t jump to any conclusions about what a full-size Indoraptor might look like, but we definitely know it’s lethal, and has had training with that laser beam-audio kill combo. Even without the time spent actually engineering a brand new species, that’s at least months of waiting, during which no one has seen or heard from the Mosasaurus. Even when Claire reaches the island, no one remarks on the fact that its tracker seems to be gone. After what we’ve seen that girl do, it feels… irresponsible.
How old is Maisie?
There’s another clone whose age is a mystery. It’s revealed that Maisie is the created double of Lockwood’s daughter, who was killed in a car crash. Maisie looks around 10 years old and, while we don’t know when the car crash took place, Mills tells Lockwood that “John Hammond was right. It was an unholy thing you did”. Does that imply Hammond met Maisie, or at least saw the clone being created?
Fallen Kingdom takes place in 2018, and we know that John Hammond died in 1997 – even accounting for a slight difference in age, that would make Maisie a lot older than she looks. Either human clones age slower than boring old normal humans, Lockwood has created human clones before Maisie, or Hammond was actually referring to the idea of human cloning as a whole after Lockwood revealed his plans for their shared research. The latter seems likeliest, but the first two are a lot more interesting going forward.
How many dinosaurs escaped, and is it that big a problem?
We know for sure that the majority of Isla Nublar’s residents met a variety of unpleasant fates, but it’s never quite clear how many were taken to Lockwood’s estate. Our best guess is based on one shot at the end of the film that shows 27 camera feeds, seemingly one for each dino-cage. We know that it’s not technically one creature per cage (that baby Triceratops!), but it can’t be much bigger a number than that. Which begs the question – why does the end of the film, showing them in the wild, seem so ominous?
That’s not a huge number of dinos, and an even smaller number of truly aggressive ones (plus Stiggy, who just seems painfully playful). We know for sure that they all still have trackers that work in perpetuity, so it just doesn’t seem like a huge threat. Obviously, the few dinosaurs that made it into black market hands present a bigger problem, but we only count 8 of those (the Ankylosaur was Lot 2101, and the Indoraptor was shown to buyers after Lot 2108). Basically, our message is this: chill out, Goldblum.
What’s going on in Dr. Wu’s lab?
Dr. Henry Wu has become almost as much of a part of the Jurassic movies as dinosaurs by this point, and there’s no stop to his morally grey work here. But what is that work? When we see the scientists packing up to leave the facility, there’s a lot in progress. Vials of DNA could conceivably have been taken from all the Isla Nublar dinosaurs before the auction, but there are also eggs on show. Are there multiple Indoraptors in the process of being hatched? When he mentions the “second generation” Indoraptor that would use Blue as a mother, it definitely only sounds like a single new prototype. Perhaps there’s a high risk of dying in the egg, or Wu just neglected to mention he had a whole pack incubating.
Also – why have so much flammable, poisonous Hydrogen Cyanide just begging to be leaked? Well, we think we can clear that one up at least. The chemical is proposed to be involved in the origin of life in the first place, a component of neurotransmission, and some animal cells naturally create it to remove pathogens and debris in the immune system. Essentially, there’s lots of reasons for this MacGuffin to exist. Well done Wu, you finally did something right. Until it went wrong.
Why is (almost) everyone so bad at their jobs?
Yes, you could point this criticism at almost every character in the series’ history, but it wouldn’t do to ignore Fallen Kingdom’s most unprofessional workers. For a start, why does Claire bother taking Franklin to Isla Nublar? He clearly doesn’t want to go, and is at best unfamiliar with the workings of the park – there must still be systems analysts who worked there that’d be better suited to the task.
Then there’s Ken Wheatley, who insists that Blue be kept alive, but then does absolutely nothing to help with that, even though it would cost him greatly to have her die. Meanwhile, Toby Jones’s Gunnar Eversol initially shows almost no interest in the black market dino auction for someone who seemingly deals exclusively in… black market auctions. And what was Mills’ endgame here? Was he always planning to kill Lockwood, or did he really think he could smuggle dozens of dinosaurs and conduct an auction in another man’s house without ever being noticed? Come on, mate.
At least one person’s up to their allotted task. Zia does an amazing job as a paleo-doctor with Blue, despite not even having seen a dinosaur until a few hours previously. Props.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s UK News Editor, and you can now ask him anything about Hydrogen Cyanide. Follow him on Twitter.