Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Movie Review

by

Published: 3 July 2018 (GMT+10)
Jurassic-world-fallen-kingdom

There is a plethora of movie reviews on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Many of them were written ahead of time in anticipation of what the movie would be like. We preferred to wait until the movie was released so as to give a more comprehensive review.

Plot

After the last Jurassic World disaster, the island of Isla Nublar was sealed off from the outside world. Dinosaurs as well as marine and flying reptiles were allowed to roam freely on the now deserted island.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom returns to the same island three years later. An impending volcanic eruption now threatens to kill off all remaining dinosaurs on the island. In a bid to avoid a repeat of the disaster that happened a few years ago, the US senate voted to allow the volcano to kill off all remaining dinosaurs.

Claire Dearing, a dinosaur rights activist and the founder of the Dinosaur Protection Group, together with her team are contacted by Eli Mills representing the wealthy Benjamin Lockwood’s estate. They are told of a secret mission to rescue some of the dinosaurs stranded on the island. Claire’s mission is to rescue Blue, the last living Velociraptor. Anticipating a challenge in capturing the intelligent and elusive Velociraptor, Claire engages the service of Owen Glady, Blue’s former trainer.

Reflection

“People mess with dinosaurs, and suddenly, something goes wrong”—Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has a less linear plot compared to the previous movies. The movie ends in a cliff-hanger, and prepares the way for another sequel. It is entertaining and bound to keep you glued to your seats. There are some surprises and several funny scenes. The film also does well to avoid any overt sexual elements apart from a short kiss and a cuddle.

Having said that, there are several issues that need to be pointed out. Scattered throughout the movie are instances where the Lord’s name is taken in vain. I cannot recommend the movie in good conscience for this reason alone. There are also several other instances where inappropriate language is used.

There is a significant amount of violence. Human limbs are seen flying through the air after a dinosaur attack. Another scene shows a dinosaur being speared after falling on top of the horns of a triceratops.

Last, but not least, the movie promotes the idea that there was an age of dinosaurs long before man came on the scene. Parents who watch the movie with their kids would do well to point out some of the worldviews that are antithetical to the Bible.

Dinosaur science

There are also several issues with the science.

Growing up with the Jurassic Park series in my younger years, I always thought the Velociraptor in the movie was a good representation of how the dinosaur looked like in real life. I was surprised many years later to discover that the real Velociraptor is only the size of a large dog. What the movie called Velociraptor, is much closer to the Velociraptor’s larger cousin, the Deinonychus. As Jurassic Park/World fans know, when the very first Jurassic Park movie was filmed, author Michael Crichton and director Steven Spielberg modelled the iconic dinosaur after Deinonychus, but stuck with the name Velociraptor because it sounded “more dramatic”. This latest movie continues this tradition, though Velociraptor is more commonly now referred to as a ‘raptor’.

The dinosaurs in Fallen Kingdom are generally well portrayed. They do not have dragging tails, nor do they have feathers. Many evolution websites however, have criticized the movie for this very reason. Most evolutionists believe that birds are descendants of theropods, and many believe that the Velociraptor, had feathers. CMI has long pointed out that there is nothing in the biblical record that requires us to believe that dinosaurs do not have feathers. Nevertheless, we are not convinced that the evidence supports the existence of feathered dinosaurs.

Having said that, there are also several scientific inaccuracies. Some of the creatures are still oversized. The marine reptile mosasaurus, for example, appears to be several times too huge. Theropod dinosaurs are still portrayed with forelimbs that have downward facing ‘palms’ (remember how the Velociraptor is portrayed as an expert in opening doors?) Many paleontologists today believe that these dinosaurs had inward facing forelimbs that face each other— ‘clappers, not slappers’ as often quipped in the paleontology world. Yes—Velociraptors may not be able to do pull-ups, but they can hold objects between their ‘hands’.

Another scene in the movie involves a small dome-headed Pachycephalosaurus. Owen exploits this headbutting behaviour to bash his way through several brick walls, allowing him to escape from prison. Whether Pachycephalosaurus could do this in real life is subjective. Some paleontologists suggest that this dinosaur may have used its dome head in shoving competitions in the way stags compete for dominance. Others suggest that the dome is simply for display or even defence. But even if headbutting is one of its functions, it is unlikely that a small juvenile pachycephalosaur would have been able to bash through multiple brick walls.1

Lastly, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom raises a few questions about dinosaur DNA. Can we really recreate a dinosaur from DNA samples? The theoretical upper limit for DNA stored at 0°C is 125,000 years. In a climate with a constant temperature of 20°C, DNA would have completely degraded in 2,500 years. Yet, there are at least three separate studies in the literature that have detected the presence of dinosaur DNA. As Dr Jonathan Sarfati explains, the discovery of dinosaur DNA is extremely problematic for those who believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years ago. But even the discovery of dinosaur DNA is insufficient to clone a dinosaur. Unlike the cloning of a mammoth, where a living elephant can be used, we do not have living dinosaurs today that allow us to do the same. Furthermore, cloning is difficult without intact DNA. Most mammoth specimens are post-Flood remains, while dinosaur fossils are generally the result of being buried during the global Flood. Dinosaur bones would have been submerged in seawater for up to a year. Sea water not only dissolves bones, it would have also sped up the destruction of dinosaur DNA. In the movie, Indoraptor was cloned from DNA extracted from the bones of Indominus rex three years after the bones were submerged in sea water. It would be almost inconceivable to find intact dinosaur DNA in such a scenario.

But of course, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is filmed for entertainment, so we should not be surprised that there are scientific inaccuracies in its dinosaur depictions.

Conclusion

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is an excellent sequel to the first Jurassic World movie. The refreshing plot and surprising ending kept the series from going stale and sets the scene for yet another sequel. It is action-packed and funny at times. However, this is marred by several instances of taking God’s name in vain and inappropriate language, as well as the usual idea of long ages prevalent in most dinosaur movies today.

References and notes

  1. Juvenile pachycephalosaurs are sometimes identified as Dracorex and Stygimoloch. But juvenile bones are more ‘spongy’ compared to an adult and therefore even less likely to bash through multiple brick walls. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

The Creation Answers Book
by Various
From
US $11.00
Dire Dragons
by Vance Nelson
US $27.00
Hard cover
Exploring Dinosaurs with Mr Hibb
by Michael Oard, Tara Wolfe, Chris Turbuck, Gary Bates
From
US $17.00
Dinosaur Challenges and Mysteries
by Michael Oard
From
US $19.00

Readers’ comments

Joel M.
I applaud you sir.
The taking of our Lord’s name in vain is no light matter and I wish that more of us would take it as serious as you have in this article. I praise God for your sensitivity to His name and your stand.
God bless
Aiden B.
Excellent review article and agreed, as many movies do these days, taking the Lord's name in vain as if it's nothing - sad. And profanity obviously - irritating. But evolution (in the biological sense) does fit perfectly in science fiction and not in public schools presenting it as scientific fact. Thanks CMI, keep up the good work.
Steven T.
I have read that the "raptors" in Jurassic Park were called Velociraptor because Gregory Paul folded the genus Deinonychus into the genus Velociraptor in his 1988 book Predatory Dinosaurs of the World (he has since split them into two genera again). Since the original book was written, several dromeosaurid species roughly the size of the Jurassic Park "raptors" have been discovered: Utahraptor, discovered around the time the first movie came out, Achillobator from Asia, and Dakotaraptor, which actually looks like a giant version of Deinonychus, and hence more like the "raptors" in the movies than other dromeosaurids. A fossil forelimb of Dakotaraptor shows quill knobs on the forearm similar to those of modern feathered birds. In general, the big dromeosaurs like Dakotaraptor look like larger versions of feathered animals like Archaeopteryx and Microraptor, so it seems reasonable to suppose that they were likewise feathered.

Question: why are birds not dinosaurs? On your own principles, an eagle, a penguin, and a hummingbird do not share a common ancestor; they are not "birds" by virtue of being a single "kind." Similarly, you don't deny that birds are vertebrates, even though surely vertebrates are a plethora of distinct "kinds." Given that many theropods share similarities (e.g. hollow bones, bipedality, etc.) with modern birds that they do not share with other "dinosaurs" like Triceratops, why can both T. rex and Stegosaurus be "dinosaurs" but an ostrich or toucan cannot? It cannot simply be because birds were created on the fifth day while most dinosaurs were created on the sixth; by that standard whales and bats cannot be mammals.
Joel Tay
I might elaborate more on this in future with a short article, but here is a short reply addressing some of the things you mentioned:

1) I am aware of the account of Paul Gregory's role in the naming of Velociraptor. In all probability, there may have been multiple reasons why the name Velociraptor was used. Michael Crichton is reported to have told John Ostrom that he chose Velociraptor over Deinonychus as it sounded more dramatic. Why Velociraptor and not another dinosaur name? They are closely related and possibly from the same dinosaur kind. Taking into account the influence of Paul Gregory's influence behind the film, Velociraptor sounded like a reasonable choice at that time. Even then, there are enough differences between the two so that it would be like calling a Chihuahua a Doberman.

2) A Velociraptor bone was found with really tiny bumps on the bone that actually look quite unlike real quill knobs in flying birds. But evolutionists interpreted those bumps as quill knobs in their eagerness to proof that dinosaurs evolved into birds. That set the trend for almost all future discoveries where these small bumps on the arm are now almost always interpreted by them as quill knobs by default. The Dakotaraptor feathered claim a few years back is just another one of these. However, many of these bony knobs are too small to be quill knobs, some of the bumps in some of these dinosaur bones are unevenly spaced (unlike real quill knobs which are usually very evenly spaced), and some of them actually face the wrong position on the arm for them to be quill knobs (e.g. pointing outwards laterally on their arms rather than backwards as observed in flight birds). And bird have feathers all various parts of their body, yet birds that fly only have quill knobs on certain parts of their wings, and that is because these particular feathers need to be strongly attached as part of their flight function. Dromaeosaurs have small arms and do not fly, so why should we interpret their tiny bumps as quill knobs? Quill knobs are generally indicative of flight, not just feathers; yet Dakotaraptor did not fly! So the onus is really on those who argue for feathered dinosaurs to prove that these are indeed quill knobs. The more likely explanation is that these are attachment sites for other structures. The evolutionary paleontologist Darren Naish, addressing what was presented as quill knobs on Concavenator, admitted in his blog that "animals sometimes have weird, irregularly spaced tubercles arranged in lines on various of their bones, typically located on intermuscular lines (the attachment sites for tendious sheets or similar structures): I've seen them on mammal bones and on a theropod tibia". In other words, these bony structures are unlikely to be quill knobs at all. As mentioned in the movie review, we do not have problems with God creating dinosaurs with feathers, but the evidence just doesn't seem to support such a conclusion.

3) Why is a bird not a dinosaur? Here are some reasons. Dino-to-bird evolution is a problem for evolutionists.
Damien S.
Just wanted to add a note that Chris Pratt, who plays a leading role, made a public declaration of faith at the MTV Awards when receiving a generation award. He spoke about God, prayer and grace. He didn't speak of Jesus directly or name Him specifically but did make an indirect reference to His saving work on the cross, when he spoke of grace being paid for with someone else's blood. I don't know how Chris felt about the movie regarding his faith given the obvious blasphemy as pointed out here. I haven't seen it yet myself. But I found this information to be encouraging when I found this out about Mr. Pratt. :-)

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