Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom may not top Black Panther and become the highest grossing film of 2018 and that’s okay. What it may lack in cohesion and weakness in writing (you can read my review soon on 4YE), it makes up for with nostalgia and one big emotional punch that audiences are still talking about.
Warning, this post contains spoilers.
Owen (Chris Pratt), Franklin (Justice Smith), and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) survive Isla Nublar’s fiery, recently awoken volcano and escape with eleven species of the island’s dinosaur inhabitants, including Blue, Owen’s baby girl and for all intents and purposes his pet Velociraptor, and luckily their lives. However, many of the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar cannot be saved and they perish in a plume of smoke and molten hot lava. In a particularly poignant and emotional scene, Claire, Owen, and Franklin see a lone Brachiosaurus as it stands on Isla Nublar’s docks crying out for help. Suffocated by smoke and overtaken by the rapidly approaching lava, the Brachiosaurus perishes and the audience and the characters can’t do anything but look on in horror and intense sadness.
This particular scene brings Isla Nublar full circle. In 1993, the first dinosaur we and the characters see on the island is the Brachiosaurus and now, twenty-five years later, the last thing we see of Isla Nublar is the death of something we’ve grown to love. “That scene represents the ending of a dream that started 25 years ago,” director J.A. Bayona tells The Hollywood Reporter. “You are telling the ending of that island and the ending of that dream.”
Bayona recently penned a stirring tribute to Jurassic Park’s director Steven Spielberg where he also stated that “when I think about that Brachiosaurus almost coming out of the screen, beyond the virtuosity of the visual effects, I think about its ability to move the audience.” There’s no doubt that following an action-packed set piece full of lava and stampeding dinosaurs, an emotional moment was something that was needed to mark the transition between the two halves of the film.
But, how did Bayona get Howard, Pratt, and Smith in the right frame of mind, especially since the Brachiosaurus was just a dot on a green screen? “I played a very sweet and a little sad version of the Jurassic Park melody. So that was very effective for the actors, especially for Bryce,” says Bayona. “Being there, telling that story, listening to music from John Williams, they were all very emotional.”
Howard confirms that Bayona played the melody in an interview with The Wrap where she said, “When he needed us to cry, he would play the classic John Williams theme song. It gets me every time. ‘Powered by John Williams.'”
Did the death of one of the most iconic dinosaurs in the franchise make you cry like it did me? Sound off below and don’t miss Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in theatres now.
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