Call me crazy, and many do, but June 12 is akin to a holy day for me this year. June 12 will see the release of the fourth film in the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World. I get goosebumps just from typing that. The new trailer that was released earlier in the week has given fans an extended look at the chase scene featuring Chris Pratt and Indominus Rex. Let’s take a deep breath and all watch together, shall we?
Be still my beating heart.
Now, I will be honest: After my initial jubilation when Jurassic World was announced, I was a little annoyed. Genetically modified dinosaurs? I agreed with Pratt’s character, dinosaurs weren’t amazing enough? We always have to go for the clones, the genetics, the aliens, when dinosaurs in and of themselves are cinematic history in the making. Three great movies (don’t debate me on The Lost World…you won’t win) of simple, unadulterated dinosaurs created from really old DNA. C’mon people, keep it simple. Yet as trailers came out, and casting was revealed, and as I began watching the original three movies again, I was won over. Genetically modified dinosaurs? If it means a fourth movie, one featuring Chris Pratt no less, then bring it on!
So what do we know about Indominus Rex? From the trailers, we know just enough to draw me to an IMAX on June 12:
- Genetically modified.
- Big, but not Jurassic Park III big.
- Hunts and kills for sport.
- Capable of fratricide.
- Highly intelligent. Capable of remembering where a tracking device was implanted and then removing it and setting a trap.
- A pack leader. Capable of communicating with other dinosaurs and taking control.
From the Jurassic World website, we know a little more, using the handy dinosaur fact sheets they provide:
- It’s name means “fierce” or “untamable king.”
- It is currently 40 feet in length with an unknown weight.
- While the T-Rex has a “high” aggression index, Indominus Rex is labeled “very high.”
- While you may be inclined to say Indominus Rex resembles a T-Rex, “its distinctive head ornamentation and ultra-tough bony osteoderms can be traced from Theropods known as Abeliosaurs.” Indominus Rex is not merely a T-Rex advanced on, nor is it simply a hybrid of one or two dinosaurs. The placement of its horns use genetic material from Carnotaurus, Majungasaurus, Rugops, and Gigantosaurus. This is the grand master of genetic hybrids.
- The roar of Indominus Rex reaches 140-160dB, which is roughly the same as a 747 taking off or landing.
- While enclosed, it’s top speed reaches 30mph.
While I have now maxed out my enthusiasm for Indominus Rex, the genetically modified dinosaur is just a small fraction of the movie’s appeal for me. I love the themes that Jurassic Park explores, never expressed more eloquently than by Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) in the first movie: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
In Jurassic World, we finally get to see what would happen if the characters from Pirates of the Caribbean actually did eat the tourists—forgive me while I squeal with excitement. I am intrigued to see how Pratt’s character trained the raptors to serve as what appears to be the island’s defense system. How did they go from being the bad guys, to part of the team? Given that great white sharks are among my top five favorite animals, I am also keen to see more of the habitat and behavior of the Mosasaurus. I don’t even mind that he eats sharks! Something dramatically missing from the trailers, and rightfully so given their dominance in earlier movies, is the role of the T-Rex. Let us not forget that which makes us take a second glance at the swimming pool at night, or that makes us ponder every time we see ripples in a glass of water.
Indominus Rex is exciting certainly, but Jurassic World as a whole concept? That is the deal-maker for me.