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The Next Jurassic Park Movie Needs to Embrace Horror

The Next Jurassic Park Movie Needs to Embrace Horror

The original Jurassic Park film from 1993 is one of the most essential science-fiction films to come from the 1990s. It is a cornerstone of director Steven Spielberg’s career, and it has launched one of the most successful film franchises of the last thirty years. Over the course of six movies, the Jurassic Park franchise has grossed over $6 billion, with 2015’s Jurassic World being the most successful entry in the series with a total global gross of $1.67 billion.

Although the franchise seemingly came to an end with Jurassic World: Dominion in 2022, it’s no surprise that Universal is already back at work developing a new entry in the much beloved dino franchise.

The new film, which is interestingly being referred to more frequently as Jurassic World 4 than Jurassic Park 7, will seemingly be the start of a completely new era for the franchise. None of the stars from the previous entries, such as Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum, are expected to return, as the story will shift in a new direction and be guided by new characters.

David Koepp, who wrote the screenplay for the original film and its 1997 sequel, The Lost World, is returning to the franchise as screenwriter for the first time in over 25 years. On board to direct the film is Gareth Edwards, who most recently helmed the original sci-fi outing The Creator but has also worked in franchises before with films like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and 2014’s Godzilla.

With the ambitiously soon release date of July 2, 2025, this new Jurassic film is looking to breathe new life into the series sooner rather than later. If this movie is going to succeed, it needs to learn from the mistakes of the series’ past. While the recent Jurassic World films were box office juggernauts, they were flawed films that saw diminishing returns with each new entry.

While there are a few different ways that Edwards and Koepp could take the Jurassic franchise in a new direction, the most promising would be to go back to basics and embrace some of the more horror-oriented approaches of its earliest entries. Here’s why:

Differentiating Itself from Jurassic World

The Jurassic World franchise came at the perfect time. It had been almost 15 years since Jurassic Park III hit theaters, audiences were hungry for a new film in the franchise, and nostalgia was playing a bigger role at the box office than it ever had before. 2015’s Jurassic World was able to capitalize on all of that, reminding its viewers of much of what they loved about the original film while also bringing a new approach to the table. When combining that with up-and-coming stars like Chris Pratt, it was an incredible recipe for success.

However, the good will for the Jurassic World films faded more and more with each new entry. By the time that Dominion hit theaters in 2022, interest in the franchise was waning pretty heavily and they had to resort to doubling down on nostalgia by bringing back Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum once again.

Even with that, Dominion was running on fumes. It may have grossed over $1 billion worldwide – though it just barely managed to cross that line – but the long-term impact of the film has been essentially nonexistent. Despite releasing just under two years ago, nobody is talking about Dominion anymore, and by extent essentially nobody is talking about the Jurassic Park franchise.

With that in mind, the most clear option would be to take a long break from Jurassic Park and then bring it back at least a decade down the line (if at all). This would give audiences time to miss the series again. However, Universal seems to be keen on bringing it back as soon as they can. If that’s the road they want to go down, the only way to do so successfully is going to be to clearly differentiate this new Jurassic film from the Jurassic World movies. If it just feels like more of the same, then audiences aren’t going to be interested. There has got to be a new approach or new idea to hook viewers.

Related: Gareth Edwards Breaks Silence on Directing Jurassic World 4: ‘This Opportunity Is Like a Dream to Me’

Taking the Series Back to its Roots

Although the Jurassic World franchise has already used the franchise’s nostalgia card by bringing back the original cast and reintroducing a new park on Isla Nublar, that doesn’t mean that this newest revival of Jurassic Park can’t pull from its previous entries in any way. It just needs to take a different approach to how it does it. Specifically, we believe it would be best for this new film to evoke much of the same atmosphere of the first three Jurassic Park movies, rather than directly building on them with familiar characters and plot lines.

While the characters were obviously a key factor in the original three Jurassic films, especially the first film from 1993, much of the success of those films was the result of their general aesthetic and approach to spectacle. They were sci-fi thrillers, not blockbuster action flicks. By going back to this approach, the Jurassic Park franchise will be able to more thoroughly recreate the magic of the original films, hopefully regaining some of the respect that was lost in the Jurassic World films.

This wouldn’t be the first time that the modern Jurassic Park franchise has returned to this aesthetic, as it was embraced to incredible effect in the short film Battle at Big Rock that was released in 2019. That short film, which was directed by Colin Trevorrow, told the exact kind of simple story that this franchise so desperately needs. It centers on a family who is on a seemingly-peaceful camping trip in a National Park in Northern California. However, everything turns on its head when a Nasutoceratops wanders into camp and is subsequently (and violently) attacked by an Allosaurus.

The story then becomes one of this family merely trying to survive their encounter with these dangerous dinos. This simplicity works wonders; it feels very reminiscent of the first few Jurassic Park films, and it’s exactly the kind of approach that is needed in this new film from David Koepp and Gareth Edwards.

Related: A Look Back at the Jurassic Park 4 Script That Was Never Used

Bringing in a New Audience

Finally, the most important thing that this new Jurassic Park film needs to do is introduce new viewers into the franchise’s passionate fan base. The further along the Jurassic World series went, the more self-referential it became. This peaked with Jurassic World: Dominion, which was entirely reliant on its audience having seen and loved pretty much every preceding film in the series.

By simplifying its story and embracing the horror and thriller elements that were most prevalent in the original films, this new Jurassic Park film will be able to entice new audiences and perhaps even win back some of the fans that have been lost along the way. This approach has already proven to work wonders for other franchises. One great example is the Predator series, which had essentially run out of life by the end of the 2010s. However, then Dan Trachtenberg came in with a simple, refreshing and more horror-oriented story that became 2022’s Prey, the best film in the series in decades, which has also significantly revived interest in the franchise.

Many of the most famous and iconic moments from the original Jurassic Park film are also the most horrifying, whether it’s the T. rex escaping its captivity, the children hiding from the velociraptors in the kitchen or Dennis Nedry’s encounter with the venom-spitting dilophosaurus.

The Jurassic World films shifted the franchise to be much more sci-fi and action-oriented, which worked for a little while, but then it quickly devolved into producing the same generic legacy sequels that every franchise seems to be chasing right now. The issue with that is that audiences don’t go to Jurassic Park for its wack science and action, they go to see people being terrified of loose dinosaurs. It’s honestly pretty simple. If Koepp and Edwards are able to recognize this and build their new film around this idea, then perhaps this seventh Jurassic Park film might finally be able to recreate some of the magic of the original.

Stream Jurassic Park on Netflix.

Stream Jurassic World on Max.

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