It was almost one year ago that director Stephen Spielberg announced that he had ideas for a possible Jurassic Park IV and was looking for a writer to bring those ideas to fruition. At the time, I was fairly convinced that any attempt at a third sequel to Jurassic Park (again, my favorite movie of all time) would inevitably be reminiscent of shockingly large dino droppings. After all, the first two sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, pale in comparison to their forebear — like a pair of newborn chickens squawking sheepishly at a 6.8 metric ton T-Rex that couldn’t be bothered to care even if it wanted to. But all that was before Universal Pictures announced that they have hired a pair of screenwriters to bring the monstrously financially successful franchise back into existence. Like life, profit finds a way.
Why should the writers matter? Because they, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, also wrote last year’s surprisingly brilliant Rise of the Planet of the Apes, another attempt to revive a dying franchise that could easily have been the worst in the series. Yes, even worse than that Tim Burton one. If you haven’t seen Rise, you should rectify that immediately. Don’t let the over-complicated name deter you, it really is very good, and it may be the best indication of the duo’s ability to make JP4 more interesting than just another tale of man-creates-dinosaur, dinosaur-eats-man. After all, that movie also stars animals who mostly communicate through growls and gestures. (No, clever girl, I’m not referring to James Franco.) Of course, Jaffa and Silver also wrote The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Eye for an Eye, and The Relic, so, like Rise, I won’t be fully convinced the movie be any good until I’m actually watching the thing. Should the project even get that far.
Then again, were they to simply combine the plots of all of their produced movies, that may be the exact formula necessary to make Jurassic Park IV a boisterously good time. If not a good movie. Here, let me show you:
Jurassic Park IV: The Rise and Fall of Jurassic Park
We begin in the prehistoric past, the late-Cretacious period (not, as it happens, the Jurassic) when the actual dinosaurs from the movies ruled the Earth. A mother tyrannosaurus rex leaves her nest of recently laid eggs to go on a hunt, but little does she know that a pack of mischievous oviraptors sneak in and gorge themselves on a few dino omellettes. Never satisfied, the voracious oviraptors begin fighting over the last egg, when the mama rexy finally comes home. Quite simply, she is aghast. The oviraptors make a break for it as the the t-rex gives chase and manages to just maul a few of them, but suddenly the meteor that created the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan barrels through the sky. The dinosaurs, and every living creature in the vicinity, stop to gaze at the fireball as it crashes into the ocean with a blinding flash of energy. But wait — how will the noble tyrannosaur ever get revenge against the dreaded raptors?!
Flash forward 65 million years (give or take a decade or two) to the birth of the first cloned dinosaur in InGen labs: in a scene mimicking the raptor hatching in the first movie, it’s a baby T-Rex. She’s the same t-rex from that exciting opening sequence. More than that, she’s the same t-rex from Jurassic Park, and from this point on the majority of the movie follows those events exactly, except from the perspective of the real stars, the dinosaurs! She’s been brought back from the dead with all of her original dino-memories, most especially her last. Alan Grant was right, T-Rex doesn’t to be fed, it wants to hunt. Specifically, this one wants to hunt every single raptor that may or may not exist back to extinction, no matter how hard they try to get off the island. Spoiler Alert: The big twist at the end of the movie, after she roars and as the “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” banner falls to her feet, the tyrannosaur turns directly to the camera and speaks. What does she say? It doesn’t matter, but the implication is clear: dinosaurs have finally evolved intelligence. They’re unstoppable now, and they’re pissed.
Quick, somebody greenlight Jurassic Park V — stat!
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his wares can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He’s pretty sure he just did all the work for Jaffa and Simon, and Spielberg.