[Interview] ‘Fallen Kingdom’ Director J.A. Bayona Talks Weaponized Dinosaurs and Sympathy for the Beasts
The idea of weaponized dinosaurs has long been rumored to be a Jurassic Park sequel concept. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom finally addresses it head on, although it is still not the humanoid crossbreeds proposed for the film that became Jurassic World. In Fallen Kingdom, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) does crossbreed an Indominus and Raptor, holding an auction intended to impress foreign warmongers. We never quite get the army of dinosaurs though.
“We are suggesting it,” director J.A. Bayona told Bloody-Disgusting in a phone interview.
“We really didn’t want to get into that. Maybe something that Colin [Trevorrow] will want to explore more in the third movie. I really don’t know about that. In this movie, it’s more a suggestion. One of the things that I like about the Indoraptor is that it’s a prototype. Kind of like a rejected creature. That, for me, is like a way of creating a little bit of sense of empathy towards the monster. In terms of the story for weaponized dinosaurs, we are only hinting at the possibility in this movie. We’re not getting it 100%.”
This is really the fifth time humans thought they could control dinosaurs. It’s quite clear that this is a terrible mistake, yet the audience wants idiot humans to keep making this mistake so we can keep watching fun dinosaur movies.
“I think it’s very interesting because from the very beginning you have Ian Malcolm asking Congress to let the dinosaurs die, to not interrupt the natural course of history, of nature,” Bayona said. “That’s pretty complex, to see a character we love saying that from the very beginning.”
But, because the Lockwood Corporation has a shady plan to move the dinosaurs off a volcanic island that would wipe them out, we get to enjoy a scene of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard saving dinosaurs from lava.
“We have a massive scene with the eruption of the volcano, but I like how the movie at the end somehow manages to get smaller and more constrained, more contrite, more tight and claustrophobic,” Bayona said. “The way you get the attention of the audience in a very different way building up suspense very carefully.”
The example for making big action intimate and relatable comes from Steven Spielberg, but not the Spielberg you may think. Bayona is a defender of the oft-maligned sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
“You can see Spielberg at his best in that film,” Bayona said. “The camera work, the blocking, the set pieces. For me the best set piece in the whole franchise is that moment where you can see the truck hanging from the cliff. One of the things I like about this movie, and you can see the perfect example in that scene is how the whole thing becomes from being big and gigantic and then you get the whole thing into one detail. I’m talking about that scene where you see Julianne Moore over the glass and then you start to see the glass cracking. It’s about that small detail that creates the tension. It becomes this very big thing into a single detail that is able to create all the suspense. That was the goal in some of the scenes I was doing in this movie.”
Five movies in, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has sympathy for the dinosaurs. They didn’t ask to be brought back. They’re not asking humans for help. Yet they’re the ones who keep suffering from human interference. They’re like King Kong being dragged from his home and then punished for it.
“For me, it’s a movie about empathy and it’s a movie about accepting what they don’t understand,” Bayona said.
“I think it’s kind of smart the way that the movie makes its case. It’s suddenly not about caring for dinosaurs anymore. It’s about caring for us, for humans. That’s a major step forward in the Jurassic stories.”
There is an emotional scene with a Brontosaurus whom Bayona intends to be the same Brontosaurus who first graced the screen in Jurassic Park.
“We are closing a circle that we started 25 years ago,” Bayona said.
“There’s a moment that we represent the ending of the island and we see the first dinosaur we saw. There’s a line that refers to that when Claire says, ‘Remember the first time you saw a dinosaur.’ So you put the audience in front of that same dinosaur and you portray what is like the ending of a dream. That had to be emotional and it is quite rewarding when you are in a cinema watching the scene with the audience. You can tell they definitely feel for the dinosaurs. They feel for the dream they had 25 years ago and how they go through the ending of that dream.”
25 years later, however, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) has had enough. You don’t survive two dinosaur rampages and keep giving them the benefit of the doubt.
“Hopefully I’m making my points so that anybody listening, in the imaginary world or just watching it, says yeah, I wish you’d listen to this guy,” Goldblum said. “Even at the beginning of this movie where it breaks my heart to say no more dinosaurs, because I, in fact, love all living creatures. I fight hard for animal rights myself. I think we should do right by the elephants and all the creatures under the sea and every other creature, but Darwin is a hero of mine. This was a mistake to bring these extinct creatures back for cheap entertainment. I’m fiercely anti-greed, anti-militarism so I speak my piece.”
And it happens yet again, but at least Malcolm may be winning the new generation to his side.
“Like I say in the beginning of the movie, I say I wouldn’t be hunting them down,” Goldblum continued. “I don’t like that idea but as long as this volcano, a natural occurrence seems to want to take them out, I’d let that happen. As difficult and as painful as that is for me to say, Chris and Bryce’s character would now probably agree with me however painfully. So oh boy, I’ll do whatever I can to try to give me guidance now if anybody is interested.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens June 22 in the U.S.