Life Finds A Way
Jurassic World: Dominion looks set to stomp into movie theatres this weekend, with a staggered release across several days for different regions around the world.
Jurassic Park began as an excellent Michael Crichton novel and since then, has spawned an incredible movie in Jurassic Park and mixed quality sequels from there on out, before being rebooted into the Jurassic World movies.
While the story is relatively straightforward, there are certain elements to these movies that carry across, and given Dominion is boasting both the new and original cast returning, it makes sense to get up to scratch on all the lore, the running, the screaming and the dino action.
Just to preface, although Camp Cretaceous is canon, we’re not including it in this recap. This is solely for the movie franchise as we doubt Dominion is going to include events from that Netflix series here!
Oh, and feel free to check out the below links to jump straight down to the movie of your choice, otherwise let’s begin!
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park III
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic Park opens with a fantastic sequence that foreshadows the events of the whole film. Within this, a caged velociraptor is transported across to the main park by Ingen, a company responsible for creating genetically engineered dinosaurs. How? Well, we’ll get to that.
For now, the raptor kills one of the workers and although it is contained, lives are lost.
Ingen is fronted by the enigmatic CEO John Hammond, who invites palaeontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), palaeobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) for a private tour of his Costa Rican theme park resort a year before opening. The main attraction? Re-animated dinosaurs of course.
Thanks to a handy video from Mr DNA midway through the first half of the picture, we learn that these scientists managed to clone dinosaurs by finding dino blood within mosquitos that had been fossilized in amber. They then used frog DNA to fill in the gaps and create the different breeds we see on the island. However, life does, in fact, find a way.
Ingen aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed and as Malcolm himself tells them: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” The tour soon takes a turn for the worst when a disgruntled computer programmer, Dennis Nedry, commits corporate espionage, intending to take off with all the dinosaur embryos and handing them over to a rival company, Biosyn.
When the T-rex and the raptors escape, Alan Grant is forced to lead Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim Murphy (Joe Mazzello), safely through the jungle.
Separated from the others, they manage to make it back to the main compound, but not before Tim bears the brunt of a nasty electric shock, sending him hurtling down into Alan’s arms. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
Running concurrently to that storyline, we follow Ellie, Hammond and Malcolm as they attempt to restore power to the park so they can call in help and rescue before they’re all eaten.
It’s here where the attention turns to the aforementioned raptors, who have escaped from the paddock and killed Ray Arnold, leaving his arm as a souvenir for Ellie, who finds it while restoring power. When she flips all the switches, sending power rippling through the park once more, Tim flies backward off an electrified fence he’s climbing over.
The film’s climax then sees all of our characters together, with a particularly memorable and frightening sequence involving the velociraptors stalking Tim and Ellie in the visitor center’s kitchen.
When the group are gathered, surrounded by raptors, they’re inadvertently saved by the T-Rex, which shows up and kills the raptors.
Hammond and the others slip out, scramble aboard the helicopter and leave the island.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Four years after the events of Jurassic Park, The Lost World shifts attention across to Dr. Ian Malcolm, whose career has been tarnished after going public about the incident on InGen’s private Costa Rican island. As evidenced from an obnoxious man on the subway, many people discredit Ian’s story and believe him to be a bit of a crackpot.
Summoned by Hammond, Ian is shocked to learn that there’s a second island inhabited by dinosaurs called Site B. (Or, Isla Sorna as we come to know it). When Ian learns that his girlfriend Dr Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) has head off alone to document these dinosaurs, he launches a rescue mission to bring her back.
While this is going on, Hammond’s nephew and new Ingen CEO, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard), heads to Site B with an army of game hunters to capture dinosaurs and bring them back to the ready-made “Jurassic Park”, the latest attraction in San Diego that’s a lot smaller than the park on Isla Nublar.
On the island, both teams are forced to unite after their camps are destroyed. Ian and his group let the newly captured dinosaurs loose in Ludlow’s camp, destroying everything, while idiotic Sarah take an injured baby T-Rex back to their camp to give medical attention. Both T-Rex parents soon show up and angrily destroy the RV they’re in, with our motley band narrowly surviving in the process.
At the forefront of this rescue operation is Roland Tembo, a big game hunter from Mombasa, Kenya. He wants to capture a T-Rex to top off an impressive resume. He is eventually successful in his endeavour and hangs his hat up to retire.
The action then turns across to San Diego, as the T-Rex manages to kill everyone onboard the transport ship and then heads back into containment to surprise everyone when the ship crashes into the mainland. (yeah, this bit is really rough around the edges!)
Eventually, the T-Rex is returned, along with its baby, and they chomp down on Ludlow, who is killed while the animals are returned to Isla Sorna. John Hammond gives an impassioned speech on TV, telling everyone to leave these animals in peace.
Jurassic Park III
Four years after the San Diego incident, Jurassic Park III finds Site B and its airspace a restricted fly-zone. However, that doesn’t stop Eric Kirby, who heads off parasailing with his stepfather, only to find themselves stranded in the jungle.
Meanwhile, our protagonist shifts across to Dr. Alan Grant again, this time accompanied by inexperienced assistant Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola). The pair are desperate to secure funding for future digs and it doesn’t look good.
Their fascinating presentations to investors and the public about raptors and their intelligence isn’t doing too well and is losing the public’s interest, which is quickly dwindling. They’re on the verge of being shut down.
Alan Grant is approached by a rich couple who offer a handsome fee in exchange for his services as an aerial tour guide of Site B. Eventually he agrees to go, albeit reluctantly, only to find himself thrown into another nightmare, one prefaced by a talking raptor shouting “Alan!”
It turns out Paul (William H Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Tea Leoni) aren’t who they say they are — they’re actually Eric’s parents, and the tour was a front for a rescue mission. The plane crash-lands, Grant is forced to lead the survivors to safety, look for the Kirbys’ lost son, while also navigating the perils of the jungle.
To solidify the film’s move into monster movie territory (as detailed here in our article about Jurassic Park and its sequels), they’re stalked by a Spinosaurus and pack of raptors. The latter are actually after the group to retrieve stolen raptor eggs that Billy took earlier in the film. He intended to sell these on the black-market to fund future digs but Alan is disgusted by his protégé’s actions.
Eventually, Eric is found alive and surviving against the dinos, while Grant calls in a favour from Ellie Sattler to send the navy and the marines to rescue the party from the island.
14 years after Jurassic Park III almost killed the franchise, Universal reboot the Jurassic franchise to show a very different world. Owned by the Masrani Corporation, Jurassic World is a far more ambitious theme park resort than its failed predecessor Jurassic Park, and it’s open to the public!
However, park attendance is at its lowest, as people are beginning to lose interest in seeing dinosaurs. In order to entice more visitors to come back, Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) concocts a new genetic dinosaur hybrid known as the Indominus Rex.
As a neat nod to the earlier Jurassic Park films, Wu is actually one of the scientists from the original movie. Fans will recognize him as the one who engaged in a back and forth discourse with Ian Malcolm about the dinosaur breeding.
Anyway, the Indominus Rex goes missing from its containment unit, forcing park operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and animal behaviourist Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to investigate.
It turns out the Indominus has tricked them, and seizes the opportunity to escape and cause havoc across the park. The only way to bring the Indominus back is to enlist Owen’s highly-trained raptors to kill the hybrid. Owen’s favourite, Blue, fronts the plan but they fail to stop the hybrid creature.
Claire releases the original T-Rex and, alongside surviving raptor Blue, the Indominus is killed… but not by either of them. In fact, it’s actually a giant Mosasaurus shows up and kills the hybrid.
Just like in the original Jurassic Park, the humans are evacuated and the dinos reclaim the island for themselves.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Four years after the events of Jurassic World, an imminent volcanic eruption threatens the island and all its prehistoric inhabitants. As a result, the world is divided into whether they should let the dinosaurs survive or let nature take its course and kill them all.
From corporate CEO to animal activist, Claire Dearing, fresh from outrunning a T-Rex while wearing high-heels, now fronts the Dinosaur Protection Agency. She visits Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) in Northern California, a dying billionaire who helped John Hammond build Jurassic Park. Like Claire, he wants to save the dinosaurs from extinction.
His aide Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) arranges the mission, and both Claire and Owen Grady join this military outfit to the island. Their plan is to relocate the dinosaurs to a new island sanctuary. Claire is needed to reactivate the park’s tracking system to locate the animals while Owen’s stake here comes from finding Blue, the last surviving Velociraptor.
The encounter with Blue ends in disaster. Blue is shot, Wheatley (the man leading the mercenary team) tranquilizes Owen and takes off with a select number of dinos for a private auction (more on that in a minute). The remaining dinosaurs on the island are left to die in the eruption.
Owen saves Blue thanks to a transfusion of Tyrannosaurus blood, and hides out with the others as they head to Lockwood estate. There, we learn that Mills’ mission was just a front. He actually wants to sell the dinosaurs on the black market. Their piece de resistance happens to be an Indoraptor, a weaponized, transgenic dinosaur created by Henry Wu.
When the Indoraptor is let loose on the mansion, a bloodbath ensues. In the chaos, we learn that Maisie, Lockwood’s granddaughter, is actually a human clone of Lockwood’s deceased daughter and the reason why Hammond ended their association.
After a lot of death, the Indoraptor is eventually stopped by Blue, with the pair confronting one another atop a glass ceiling. The ceiling shatters, they both fall, and the Indoraptor dies while Blue survives.
When a hydrogen cyanide gas leak threatens the caged dinosaurs, Maisie decides to free them all, ignoring Owen’s objections. Owen, Claire, Maisie, Zia, and Franklin escape, while Blue and the other released dinosaurs flee the estate grounds.
As the movie comes to a close, a new U.S. Senate hearing sees Dr Ian Malcolm step up and declare the beginning of a neo-Jurassic Age, one where humans and dinosaurs coexist. As he says these words, we cut across to find dinosaurs roaming the wilderness and outer urban areas.
So that’s the entire story of the Jurassic Park movie franchise, from the first film back in 1992 through to Fallen Kingdom. There’s a lot more going on here – including lots of memorable lines, set-pieces and screaming – but hopefully this is enough to get you up to scratch in time for Jurassic Park: Dominion!
What do you think of Jurassic Park’s story? Have we missed any crucial details in this recap? Do let us know in the comments below!