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It’s a brand new World. The latest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, Fallen Kingdom, takes the series to a whole new place — literally.
While early trailers have leaned heavily on the volcanic first half of the film which takes place on the dino-infested island, Kingdom‘s second half actually becomes more akin to a haunted house movie with the characters trapped in a giant, creepy estate with a bloodthirsty raptor hybrid. Writer Colin Trevorrow actually tailored the script to director J.A. Bayona, known for 2012’s tension-filled disaster movie The Impossible and 2007’s gothic horror film The Orphanage.
Kingdom picks up four years after the events of World, with Jurassic World in ruins and the dinosaurs now roaming free. But the threat of an erupting volcano brings about a debate over the previously extinct creatures. Explains writer-executive producer Trevorrow, who directed World, “You have this extinction-level event on that island, and the world is looking at these creatures that we created and asking, ‘Well, what is our right? Do we let them die because we created them and they shouldn’t be here in the first place, or do we have a responsibility to save them?’”
Jurassic World’s former operations manager, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), used to think of dinosaurs as only a monetary tool, but in the new installment, we find her leading the charge to save them, founding an activist organization called the Dinosaur Protection Group. “Basically, her sense of purpose now is to ensure that these animals have the same protections as any other endangered species,” explains Howard. Joining forces with Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who’s the former partner of John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), the pair launch a rescue mission to save dinos from the island and bring them back to a sanctuary that Lockwood has created in America.
Claire’s love of dinosaurs has grown but her romance with Owen (Chris Pratt) has fizzled. She is, however, able to woo the island’s former raptor trainer back by playing on his feelings for his favorite dino. “She appeals to my better self when she brings up Blue because she’s still alive,” says Pratt. “Claire’s going to try to get the dinosaur out of harm’s way, and I can join her if I want. And, of course, I do. Spoiler alert: We go back. I’m in the movie!” But in typical Jurassic fashion, everything goes to hell pretty quickly after the volcano explodes and decimates the island — but not before Owen, Claire, and fellow activist Franklin (The Get Down’s Justice Smith) escape.
Eventually, the group and some surviving dinos end up back at Lockwood’s grand estate, and Owen and Claire begin to realize that the dinosaurs are actually being sold, not saved. “Whether that’s a sanctuary or not is all part of where the story takes you,” says Trevorrow. “The worst instincts of mankind are revealed. The first film was very clearly about corporate greed. This is just about human greed.”
Kingdom’s twist also provides a showcase for Bayona’s background in horror and suspense with the aforementioned Indoraptor, a new hybrid dino, running loose in Lockwood’s compound. “It has a wonderfully, deliciously scary third act,” says executive producer Steven Spielberg. “J.A. knows how to create terror, but he also knows how to orchestrate it so you’re not brutalized by it, and he has the gift of restraint. But when he needs to open up the throttle, he really knows how.” Adds Howard: “What becomes scary about it is it becomes more contained, like we have an Indoraptor in a little girl’s bedroom. That’s a kind of hell that we haven’t seen in a Jurassic movie. It’s surreal to see dinosaurs in that kind of an environment. And let me just tell you, there’s so much carnage!”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom arrives in theaters on June 22.