Spoiler Alert: This review reveals certain elements of the movie’s plot, but only to the extent necessary to convey the negative and positive elements of the film.
Predicting Failure and the Art of Jurassic World
In classic Hollywood style, unlikely elements came together “just so” to form an entertaining but contrived movie plot. There were a few surprise elements, but overall the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom film ran predictably, particularly along the lines of the Jurassic Park series, where the greed of man leads to his downfall, genetic engineering at its worst plays a central role, and Dr. Ian Malcolm’s chaos theory is given a nod—to tie it all back to the late Michael Crichton’s inaugural novel, Jurassic Park of 1990.
Volcanoes and Velociraptors and . . .
Among both old and new dangers the characters experienced, the combination of volcano eruption, lava, and even dangerous large herbivorous dinosaurs lent much of the heightened suspense and danger elements. The Jurassic World venue typically offers an “upped ante” element, and this iteration is no exception. Most readers will already be familiar with Indominus rex, the überpredator of the first Jurassic World movie. Similarly, the Indoraptor of this movie is superlative in many other ways. Clearly genetically engineered, this is the dinosaur that sports the closest thing to feathers we’ve seen so far in the series. It is ironic that these artfully applied appendages (which appear more like quills than feathers) had to be specifically engineered in the movie, mirroring a concerted effort to appease those who insist dinosaurs are birds, but not reflecting any factual or even necessarily evolutionary history.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not exactly a family film, as dark themes, violence, and much-inferred gore made it earn its PG-13 rating.1 We also picked up some sexual content and vulgarity (e.g., the Lord’s name was taken in vain more than once). However, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom seemed to be one of the tamer films of the Jurassic Park series. At the same time, the role of God is mocked at one point, and of course the concept of millions of years and evolution are ever-present, though not overbearing.
Valuing Animal Life Over Human Life?
The disturbing trend in the film series of devaluing human life is, to an extent, due to showing flaws in our human nature.
The disturbing trend in the film series of devaluing human life is, to an extent, due to showing flaws in our human nature. We can agree that humanity is flawed, and we have a basis for that in Genesis chapter 3. Adam, as mankind’s representative, made the fateful decision to reject his Creator and send all of us down the path of ruin that we still take as individuals today. In an evolutionary view, however, man is no more or less moral or valuable than the animals, but this film seems to have that view wrong. Animals, or rather these products of genetic engineering, are portrayed as moral victims at best or amoral opportunists at worst. The humans portrayed in the best light are those with an overarching sympathy for even the most dangerous of the beasts, even as the dinosaurs trample, target, and devour humans. To be fair, the film tries to strike a balance between people wanting to save animals from extinction and being fearfully aware of the damage the dinosaurs pose to humanity.
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Much of the film revolves around one of the velociraptors from the first Jurassic World movie—“Blue.” The established bond between Blue and her handler, Owen Grady, is highlighted and expanded from the first Jurassic World film. Apparently Blue was the best of the dinosaur class in learning to experience empathy with her trainer, which makes her the perfect genetic blueprint for trainable and targeted bioweaponry.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched any of the previous movies in the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World series that the world’s military complexes are hungry for such a bioweapon. Therefore the big reveal of the Indoraptor is hardly a shock to anyone, nor is its ancestry.
“You Never Had Control, That’s the Illusion!”
Unlike the previous four movies in the series, which all seemed to pivot on one person’s actions or one group’s choices that started the inevitable descent into chaos, this movie seemed to thrive on multiple mistakes by humans, remarkably “lucky” volcanic bombs, and almost perfectly placed lava flows. It became wearisome to watch the contrived circumstances or inexplicably foolish choices, which resulted in catastrophe after catastrophe. Most moviegoers will be rolling their eyes more than widening them.
The movie does one thing quite well. It completely and utterly makes Dr. Ellie Sattler’s statement about being in control (from the first Jurassic Park movie) shockingly clear. Unfortunately most of the characters in the movie fall for the illusion of being in control, and this is the driving force, we submit, of the entire film. Even the bonding between Blue and Owen is shown to be one that cannot be interpreted as control, making the concept of using Blue as a template for bioweaponry even more foolish.
Denying God or Blaming Him?
Early in the film, we see Dr. Ian Malcolm denying the existence of God when asked if the dinosaurs’ impending extinction due to the imminent volcanic eruption was a divine course correction. Yet later, we see the US congressional hearing decide that the dinosaurs should be allowed to go extinct by an “act of God.” The phrase “act of God” is often used (from a human perspective) to refer to anything that is beyond human control and liability. But since the congressional hearing was the same event at which Dr. Malcolm testified, it seems that shifting the blame to God is at least implied if not intended. And isn’t this often the same attitude and accusation we see from the skeptic and the agnostic or atheist? Either an outright denial of God’s existence, and/or a blaming of God for the death and suffering we see in the world?
Just as the new Jurassic World movie portrays, the fallen kingdom is due to man’s arrogance and sin, especially the sin of thinking that he could be like God
We do know that we live in a fallen world. And just as the new Jurassic World movie portrays, the fallen kingdom is due to man’s arrogance and sin, especially the sin of thinking that he could be like God. While superficially the film warns against the potential dangers of genetic engineering done for strictly monetary and/or military purposes, that is not the real villain. The real villain is the heart of man and his desire to play God. That theme goes all the way back to Genesis 3. It is there that we see mankind’s refusal to trust and obey God’s word. It is there that we see mankind forfeit dominion over a perfect earth and enter into a fallen kingdom.
Living Alongside Dinosaurs
While the end of the movie examines the consequences and challenges of people living alongside dinosaurs (as well as flying and marine reptiles), the film, of course, presents their contemporaneity as brand-new experiences. But Scripture testifies that mankind lived with dinosaurs in both the pre-flood and post-flood worlds. Both man and dinosaur were created on day six around 6,000 years ago, and Noah would have taken a reproducing pair of every dinosaur kind on board the Ark to preserve them from imminent destruction.2 Job chapter 40 gives us some insight into how man lived with behemoth creatures. According to the timelines in Scripture, dinosaurs must have only recently become extinct, contrary to the claims that dinosaurs died out or evolved into birds millions of years ago. These teachings are compellingly presented in AiG’s Creation Museum and Ark Encounter.
The movie’s closing scene suggests there’s a new king of the jungle loose, implying that mankind is in for some serious problems and will be trying to survive. It is unknown whether this theme will be followed up in any future Jurassic movie, but, again, this idea would not be something new to humankind. Many of the dragon legends around the world likely have a factual basis of mankind’s battles with dinosaurs. And while God used behemoth as an example of his power over even the largest of his created animals, God also extends mercy and forgiveness to mankind.
Indeed, we do live in a fallen kingdom, but God still can and does deliver us from that darkness into his own kingdom (Colossians 1:13).