Rose Doctors the Book: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Recently, I have seen a lot of movies with good directing, good acting, good cinematography, good production values….and terrible scripts. I don’t understand why this part of movie-making has been so incredibly undervalued, but I hate it. Great actors can sometimes transcend a bad script, but THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO.

Since I am now a freelance book doctor and research assistant (email me at [email protected] for help with your manuscript!), I’ve decided to start a new blog series called “Rose Doctors The Book” in which I fix movie scripts.

Tonight I saw Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I had a great time but wow, I could have fixed that script. You could see the much better movie it could have been through the cracks. I’m going to limit myself to 5 items because otherwise we’d be here all day.

HERE BE SPOILERS. 

1. Why do people want to save the dinosaurs? I think after the disaster in the park, most people would probably be okay with their re-extinction. Any movement to save them would probably be a tiny movement, not a crowds in the streets movement. And the movie is BETTER if the people who want to save the dinosaurs are a fringe group seen as crackpots, because then when the true danger to humanity from saving the dinosaurs becomes apparent, their share of the responsibility for that danger is correspondingly higher.

2. More specifically, why does Claire want to save the dinosaurs? I could come up with a reason, I guess–for example, that she decided Owen was right that she didn’t feel enough compassion for the dinosaurs, so she went too far the other way and felt too much compassion for them. In the wake of their break-up, she felt bad about herself and decided to prove she was a capable human being by saving the dinosaurs.

However, after her experiences in the first movie, it’s hard for me to imagine her thinking that bringing dinosaurs to a human-populated area is a good idea. And why would it never occur to her that she was partly responsible for the massacre at the park? Wouldn’t that make her even more reluctant? Her speech to Owen towards the end of the movie, which appears to clarify her motivations, if a little late (“Remember the first time you saw a live dinosaur? It felt like a miracle”), totally contradicts her entire character from the first movie without some dialogue clarifying how she lost that sense of wonder in the first place. 

Everything would be streamlined and make a lot more emotional sense if Owen were the one who wants to save the dinosaurs, because he loves Blue. Claire has retreated into an ordinary life, but Owen comes to her and begs her to go on the expedition to the island, because they can’t do it without her handprint.

3. The old man should have been in on it. It would have made his character’s saccharine dialogue a lot more believable (because it’s a con), explained away the discrepancies between his account of John Hammond’s opinions and what we actually witnessed in the first movie, and provided an incredible emotional moment for Maisey when she realized the truth.

4. You set up a dinosaur Gothic, so freaking write a dinosaur Gothic! Show me Maisey in her House Where Something Is Wrong But No One Talks About It. Show how lonely she is. Show how her adoring grandfather is not actually a great parent. Since they are doing experiments to prove dinosaurs can be tamed, maybe give her a pet dinosaur bonded with her but terrifying to everyone else. Create a more complex relationship with Iris (why didn’t Iris ever come back to try to save her, by the way?). Also, is there something not human in Maisey’s DNA? I thought I caught some hints but I would have make them stronger. Make Claire and Owen earn her trust.

Also, put a damn conservatory under that glass roof! There were a few really good dinosaur Gothic shots, like the Indoraptor coming in through the French doors, but you could have set up more nice-but-creepy rooms and then smashed them, IMO.

This would also have strengthened the “Maisey identifies with dinosaurs” plotline and made the triumphal moments of dinosaur victories more triumphal for the viewer, because the dinosaurs smashing her house would also have been smashing her old, unhappy life, and we would have understood viscerally why she wanted them to do it, and why she wanted them to be free.

5. What exactly can the Indoraptor do? There needed to be an equivalent of “it can’t see you if you aren’t moving.” Instead, I was told it had heightened hearing (I can’t remember about smell), but our heroes then foiled it by hiding behind something, then turning off the lights. Explain the “laser tracking” system more carefully, and then use it. For example, once a target is acquired, does the Indoraptor continue locking onto it once the laser is no longer pointed at it?

Have you seen the movie? What one change would you make, if you could?

4 thoughts on “Rose Doctors the Book: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

  1. Sara

    Just wanted to say that I love this series – I suspect you could improve the scripts of quite a lot of movies. Looking forward to more!

    Reply
    1. Rose Post author

      Thank you!! I just put up one for Ocean’s 8, actually. I pretty much do this in my head after every movie anyway, so I figured, why not share?

      Reply
  2. Heather

    Fixing mediocre movies in my head is one of my favourite things to do! I look forward to reading your Ocean’s Eight post once I’ve seen it.

    I’d have just ditched the Indoraptor entirely, I think. The auction, the opulent mansion, their crack team, their plucky inside man/girl/clone, the massive emphasis on Blue’s intelligence – it felt like the perfect set up for a con to save the dinosaurs.

    We didn’t really need another dino rampage. It’s been firmly established that dinosaurs are both wonderful and dangerous and that Frankensteining them up has unforeseen consequences. It would have been nice to see something completely different.

    The 2016 Ghostbusters is a film ripe for fixing, if you’re looking for more!

    Reply
    1. Rose Post author

      I see what you’re saying! That might have been too far from the formula for me personally, I think. I was already disappointed that the dinosaurs didn’t feel truly threatening or scary in this movie. A film that sidestepped their dangerousness almost entirely in order to run a fun heist to rescue them probably wouldn’t work for me. I didn’t mind the Indoraptor in theory–visually it was quite creepy, and I liked that it was small enough that its malice towards Maisey felt personal. I think it could have been really effective in a Gothic way, as a terrible thing living in Maisey’s house with her that everyone pretends is normal.

      Reply

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