Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Plays On Our Own Impending Doom

Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park.
Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park. Universal Studios

We all know how this ends. There are no meaningful checks on the exhaustion of planetary resources. Moreover, since the resources increasingly accrue to corporate power, there can be no effective brakes on industrial pollution. Regulatory capture and the increasing political powers of private interests will hamstring even symbolic moves toward the massive social change required to avert planetary catastrophe.

Same, but for dinosaurs. Is that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom?

By their nature amoral, corporations dissolve typical human morality, directing even well-intentioned people within their structure toward the pursuit of profit above responsible social planning, even to the point of endangering the species. Capitalism ignores intention by design. If dinosaurs become a marketplace commodity, dinosaurs will begin to take on the full possible expressions of that market.

Past Jurassic Park movies have kept these concerns siloed to theme parks. Dinosaurs are the product of the profit-seeking InGen Corporation and its founder, John Hammond, but none of the previous movies are about the economics that lead inevitably to global destruction, aside from an ill-advised attempt to open new markets in The Lost World: Jurassic Park by bringing a T. Rex to San Diego.

The first hints come in Jurassic World. Unlike InGen, who only ever seems interested in theme parks, Masrani is a global conglomerate embodying true global power (at least according to Jurassic World marketing materials): “oil, telecom, mining, construction, engineering, real estate, technology and health care.” And they left their military and mercenary divisions off the list. Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), killed by raptors in Jurassic World, introduces us to the possibility of velociraptor war machines, sweeping the Tora Bora mountains for young men to kill. Dr. Wu promised their spread to the rest of the world — “We’re not always going to be the only ones who can make a dinosaur.”

There are indications that Jurassic World will be about exactly this explosion of utility and the inevitable reckoning dinosaurs represent. Now that we have a title for JW2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, we also have a tagline: chaotician Ian Malcolm’s line, “Life finds a way.”

Appropriately, it’s Jeff Goldblum (returning as Malcolm in Fallen Kingdom) who confirmed that the Jurassic World sequel is, in some part, about the wall capitalism has us barreling toward. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly of director J.A. Bayona (replacing Colin Trevorrow, who stayed on as co-writer), Goldblum said, “He was very focused on the serious issues of greed as it oftentimes comes up in those movies, and the marvels of science and reason and the very fascinating point at which our species finds itself, both in real life and in this imaginary world too.”

This will take many different forms in Fallen Kingdom. In 2016 Trevorrow said, “The dinosaurs will be a parable of the treatment animals receive today: the abuse, medical experimentation, pets, having wild animals in zoos like prisons, the use the military has made of them, animals as weapons.” After four movies, finally some market fragmentation. Finally we get off that goddamn island and learn what this means for the world.

Just like their real-world partners in runaway capitalistic destruction — global warming, depleted fisheries, deforestation, human misery — the dinosaurs of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will finally reveal the end game. Dinosaurs will always remind us of extinction. But first our kingdoms fall.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comes out in theaters June 22, 2018.

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