Imagine my surprise when I saw the trailer for Jurassic World for the first time.
Released in 1993, the first Jurassic Park film preceded the internet as we know it today, and has since become an integral part of my childhood years. This week the fourth film in the franchise, Jurassic World, will start showing in cinemas worldwide and oh boy, I tell you, I can’t be any more excited!
With that said, these are three things you need to know before watching Jurassic World.
1. Jurassic World is a direct sequel to the first film
Yes, you can read that again. Jurassic World is a sequel to the first film, Jurassic Park, meaning it completely ignores the events of The Lost World: Jurassic Park and—thankfully—Jurassic Park III. Jurassic World returns to the island of Isla Nublar where John Hammond originally envisioned to build his dinosaur park, which was going well until a T-Rex broke loose and laid waste to the entire park (along with an old man’s dreams).
In the fourth film, the movie opens with a fully-operational park full of dinosaurs, twenty two years after the events of Jurassic Park.
2. Jurassic World portrays dinosaurs in an outdated light
Jurassic Park was hailed by the scientific community at the time for its realistic portrayal of our extinct reptile friends. Problem is that a lot of new discoveries have been dug up since then and scientists concluded that, indeed, dinosaurs grew feathers as opposed to an entire body covered by scales.
Colin Trevorrow, the film’s director, came out on Twitter saying that there would be no feathered dinosaurs in the film. It’s scientifically inaccurate, sure, but I would guess it’s a creative decision made to ensure continuity with the first film.
3. With the exception of Dr. Henry Wu, none of the main characters will return
On the subject of hard creative decisions, here’s another one: none of the most recognizable faces of the franchise will return, namely Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). For someone who grew up watching these characters outwit a pack of Velociraptors and a T-Rex on the big screen, that’s a real downer.
But I trust director Treverrow. He said, "I know a lot of fans want to see the original characters back. They're iconic. But I respect those actors too much to shoehorn them into this story for my own sentimental reasons. Jurassic Park isn't about the bad luck of three people who keep getting thrown into the same situation. The only reason they'd go back to that island is if the screenwriters contrived a reason for them to go."
I rest my case.
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. When you look back at the years of your life, it’s easier to recall the good stuff. Most of the bad gets filtered out. Our nostalgic memories are stirred in ways that leave us feeling pleasantly sentimental about the days gone by.
So when I walk into the cinema this weekend, I’ll remember that wide-eyed innocent kid from twenty two years ago who witnessed an unforgettable adventure 65 million years in the making. And I’ll feel really good about it.