Summer of 2018 brought the release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the sequel to “Jurassic World,” a box office hit based on the Jurassic Park films of the 1990s. These films lay out the plot of a species dying and once again after being brought back to life, millions of years after their initial extinction. However, the message of this film is clear — creatures who are not protected by those in power will be exposed to human corruption and greed, which can have drastic consequences that endanger us all; such as dinosaurs roaming free alongside humans.
Jurassic Park Franchise
The Jurassic Park chain of films are sci-fi movie adaptations of a book by Michael Crichton, and have been the source of awe for their supernatural plot that brings back these extinct reptilian creatures who we can now only imagine through their remains.
The mystery and wonder that this media franchise produces has captured audiences around the world and has caused “Jurassic Park” to be one of the highest grossing franchises in the world. Although only the first two films were based on the book, Universal Pictures has used this storyline in an additional four films, with another film expecting to be released in June 2021.
In the most recent films, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) play the protagonist conservationists who develop relationships with the dinosaurs and have sworn to protect them — a challenging notion given that they are enormous and wild creatures. However, the summer hit of this year goes further into themes of corruption and the misuse of government spending, which is so especially evident even in the current world we live in.
In the films, although there is a clear divide of public opinion, and many people wish to protect the dinosaurs, the government insists it is not their responsibility to save the animals they created. Instead, they push the idea that the species is an abomination and they should all be allowed to perish in a volcanic eruption without human interference.
However, even after a small group of conservationists extend rescue efforts to the dinosaurs, they are intervened by people who wish to profit off the government-forsaken animals by selling them individually for millions of dollars, with the idea they may be used as weapons for destruction. The perpetrators are seen stealing horns from the unconscious animals as they round them up, another reference to real-life big trophy hunting that can be seen throughout the film. In South Africa, captive lions are being treated as commodities, and used for breeding, trading, petting, walking, viewing, filming, and killing.
“Jurassic World” has a way of touching a wide audience by showing how beautiful these extinct animals once were, and suggesting that if they somehow walked the earth again, we’d mistreat them the same way we mistreat our precious wildlife today.
Big Trophy Hunting and Conservation
The references to modern society are anything but subtle throughout the film, insinuating a clear division between right and wrong, heroes and antagonists. From the decision of the government to take no part in the salvation of the dinosaurs, to betrayal from a character who feigned a position with the conservationists, the real-life themes are clear.
The final cut of the film even emphasizes the politics of conservation efforts by including a not-so-subtle Donald Trump reference from Ken Wheatley (Ted Devine), one of the most despicable characters in the film who mutters, “What a nasty woman,” about Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), the bold and cheeky doctor who is trying to save the dinosaur he shot earlier that day.
However, the intention is clear throughout the movie: poachers hurt even the most gentle dinosaurs by stealing their horns, throwing them into cages, and selling them to the highest bidder, without concern for what will become of them. This once again draws a parallel to big trophy hunting today, and the controversy it strikes, although most people become angry upon seeing photos of killed giraffesand rhinos with poachers smiling above them.
Although rhino horns offer no medical benefits, these animals are killed for their horns, which are sold at high prices because people believe they have healing powers. These animals are also poached through conservation efforts, that allow big game hunting for a tall price, which is typically illegal, in order to raise funds for conservation. This is a highly controversial practice, as many animals rights advocates and ethical hunters alike often believe these endangered animals must be left alone.
In “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the conservationists embark on a social ventureto save the dinosaurs from a second extinction by transporting them to an island where they can roam free; but poachers come in to steal the dinosaurs and sell them for profit. Today, there is a worldwide motion leaning away from using zoos as conservation facilities for rehabilitated animals that can’t be put back in the wild. As public perception shifts and begins to consider zoos as sad jail-like cages where wild animals don’t belong, documentaries like “Blackfish” have sparked animal rights movements as audiences see the tragedies that occur when wild animals are forced into small spaces; at SeaWorld and zoos, the lifespan of animals is shortened dramatically.
The message in this film is sad but hopeful, and an accurate reflection of what conservation efforts look like today: those who care about protecting animals must fight tooth and nail against those in power for these rare and beautiful animals who can’t fight for themselves.