On Tuesday, Collider revealed original “Jurassic Park” cast members Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum will return in the forthcoming “Jurassic World 3.” The movie’s director Colin Trevorrow broke the news at a special screening of “Jurassic World” at Hollywood’s ArcLight Cinemas. Moreover, the filmmaker noted the trio wouldn’t be making cameo appearances in the new film; they’ll have prominent roles to play.
Based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name, Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” opened in theaters in 1993. The movie followed industrialist John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) doomed attempt to launch a theme park featuring genetically engineered dinosaurs. As it features a still awe-inspiring combination of animatronics and CGI, the film captured the imagination of filmgoers across the world.
That said, even the most stunning special effects fall flat if they are used in films that lack compelling characters. Thankfully, Spielberg, screenwriters Crichton and David Koepp, and the movies cast made “Jurassic Park” an emotionally resonant thrill ride.
In the film, Neill played Doctor Alan Grant, a child-avoiding paleontologist hired by Hammond to assess his park’s dinosaurs. Dern played Dr. Ellie Sattler, a fearless paleobotanist brought in to validate the facilities flora. Lastly, Goldblum essayed the role of hairy-chested love god Dr. Ian Malcolm, a mathematician who accurately predicts that “prehistoric monster island” is a lousy startup idea.
Malcolm and Grant serve as protagonists in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic Park III.” shamefully, Dern only made a cameo in the franchise’s third installment. When Universal Pictures resurrected the franchise with 2015’s “Jurassic World,” the studio didn’t bring back the original cast. Although, Goldblum makes an appearance in its 2018 sequel “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” because…”life finds a way.”
A Very Welcome Return
While the two “Jurassic World” films feature some breathtaking sequences, they don’t hold a candle to the original trilogy.
The billion-dollar grossing revival movies fall short in two significant ways.
One, they feature wildly convoluted plotlines. Conversely, one of the best things about the “Jurassic Park” movies is their simplicity. In each film, a group of luckless/stupid people ends up trapped with a bunch of bloodthirsty dinosaurs. “Jurassic World” replicated the setup of the original movie but it also involves a vaguely ludicrous military subplot. Similarly, “Fallen Kingdom” features two different main settings and plotlines, plus a completely ridiculous human cloning subplot.
Two, the “Jurassic World” movies feature some weapons-grade unlikable main characters. Owen Grady is such a condescending, smug jerk even Chris Pratt can’t make him likable. Similarly, Claire Dearing’s stupidity and almost depraved indifference make her character feel unbelievable. Furthermore, the romance between the two protagonists has a mean-spirited undertone that makes it difficult to invest in.
In fairness, the pair undergoes character development throughout the two “Jurassic World” movies. But the films never make Pratt and Howard’s characters three-dimensional enough to be genuinely engaging.
Consequently, “Jurassic Park’s” cast being featured players in “Jurassic World 3” is excellent news. Potentially, the veterans could make the new class feel more likable by osmosis. Or, even better, the film could open with Owen and Claire being tragically devoured before the new film’s opening credits roll.
If nothing else, the highly entertaining “Jurassic World 3” prequel short, “Battle at Black Rock,” suggests the franchise’s version of “Avengers: Endgame” will be appropriately thrilling.
“Jurassic World 3” comes to theaters June 11, 2021.