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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Movie Review

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Published: 3 July 2018 (GMT+10)
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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.

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