Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Jurassic Park to be resurrected for fourth outing

STEVEN SPIELBERG announced, according to Natalie Finn at, that plans for a fourth instalment of the hugely successful Jurassic Park series could be in development “ the next two or three years”.

The Saving Private Ryan director is quoted as saying: “We have a story.”

Fans of the dino-rampage series will no doubt be pleased, as the franchise has been fossilised since 2001, but what is worth consideration is that — if the two previous lacklustre JP sequels are anything to go by — the emergence of a quality new movie could be as likely as a baby velociraptor hatching from an Asda scotch egg.

The original Jurassic Park (1993), based on the 1990 Michael Crichton novel, was a befittingly gargantuan box office smash, making over $919m worldwide.

The groundbreaking CG special effects used in the creation of smoothly animated, life-like dinosaurs gave audiences something they had never seen before, and they came in droves to see it, making Jurassic Park the highest grossing movie of all time in its year of release.

Currently, it stands at an impressive 18th in the IMDb all time list.

Two sequels were spawned: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001) with both doing relatively well at the box office (over $618m and $368m worldwide respectively), despite poor reviews.

A fourth movie has been mooted since 2001; however, several issues have kept it at an embryonic stage, with some wondering whether it should even be made at all.

A huge blow for the JP franchise, as well as the film and literary communities in general, came with the deaths of author Michael Crichton and visual effects legend Stan Winston, who both passed away in 2008.

The contributions of Michael Crichton Stan Winston were so integral that it was felt by some that it simply wouldn’t be right to continue without their expertise.

As reported by Silas Lesnick at, when asked about a fourth movie in December 2008, producer Kathleen Kennedy said: “You know, when Crichton passed away, I sorta felt maybe that's it. Maybe that's a sign that we don't mess with it.”

Actor Sam Neill (who starred in the first and third movies) also expressed his doubts, when interviewed by MTV.

Without Crichton’s involvement, the chances a fourth movie having an engaging story seem pretty slim, as proven by the quality of the JP movie sequels diminishing with reduced influence from the author.

In 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg chose to tell an almost completely different story from Crichton’s 1995 novel. As a result, the plot was thin and predicable, and was padded out at the end with a farcical T-Rex frenzy in San Diego.

Spielberg’s self-indulgent touches made the end section of movie even more ridiculous: the Godzilla parodying, the spoof movie posters, and even the cameo from writer David Koepp getting nommed up good by the rex, showed clearly that the series had ‘jumped the shark’ (or megalodon perhaps, to be more appropriate) without the guiding hand of Crichton‘s source material.

Jurassic Park III wasn’t even based on a Crichton novel at all, and was rushed into production in August 2000 without a finished script.

The movie completely lacked depth, and simply played out like a series of chases and set pieces, with minimal development of the characters you actually cared about, like the returning Alan Grant (Sam Neill). There was also the satellite-phone-ringing-inside-the-Spinosaurus thing they did, and William H. Macy’s rubbish character (and I really like William H. Macy!), plus they killed off the T-Rex!

However, that story was nowhere near as terrible as one that "Moriarty" on Ain’t it cool News claimed writers William Monahan (The Departed) and John Sayles (The Spiderwick Chronicles) were working on for JP4, involving dinosaur/dog/human hybrids (kinda like ManBearPigs) being trained by a twisted corporation to use weapons.

If true, thankfully this idea, also reported by in 2007, was scrapped.

In an interview, quoted by Simon Kinnear on, dino-effects creator Stan Winston said:
"Steven wasn't very enthused with the first couple of screenplay drafts. I think he felt neither of them balanced the science and adventure elements effectively.

"It's a tough compromise to reach, as too much science will make the movie too talky, but too much adventure will make it seem hollow."

It could be said that this ‘balance’ is what made the first Jurassic Park brilliant, and it is encouraging that Spielberg has been taking his time to find the right script that has this Crichton-esque formula.

Thor and I Am Legend writer Mark Protosevich is understood to be the man currently working with Spielberg on the new story, according to Jay A. Fernandez on

However, filling the void left by Michael Crichton isn’t the only problem facing the development of JP4, as the late Stan Winston’s work on the series has also been highly crucial to its success.

His Oscar-winning animatronic and puppet dinosaurs helped create some of the movies’ most memorable scenes, such as the T-Rex attack on the Ford Explorer in the first film.

Also, scenes such as the rex attack on the trailers in The Lost World, and the Spinosaurus attack on the crashed plane in Jurassic Park III, gave the sequels thrilling moments that helped to partly make up for their narrative failings.

A definite concern for a fourth movie is that without Winston’s irreplaceable mastery and passion, the park attractions may not be as charismatic or terrifying. 

Despite the doubts, there are things that would definitely make a fourth Jurassic Park film awesome.

Firstly, there have been huge advances in CGI since the last movie, and we would without a doubt see more elaborate and exciting action sequences.

Then there is also the fact that JP would be brilliant in 3D. 

When seeing the dragon in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 bursting out of the screen, bellowing its scaly chops off, I couldn’t help but think how ridiculously good it would be to see the Jurassic Park T-Rex like that, with that iconic roar, right up in your face. Honestly, I would pay to see that alone.

Although Jurassic Park III was indeed terrible for many reasons, I’m not worried about director Joe Johnston returning for the fourth film, as it is believed that he will.

I felt that the Jumanji and Captain America: The First Avenger director did a decent job of shooting and executing the JPIII action sequences, but he was ultimately let down by the lack of a decent script.

So here’s hoping that Spielberg and Protosevich can match what will no doubt be a spectacular 3D dino-fest with an awesome, original, yet Crichton-esque script. Hold onto your butts!

Corrections and alterations:
November 2011
- Some of paragraph 19 was reworded and a hyperlink to the guardian website for the JP4 script story was added as a source.
-  The quotes in paragraph 1 were sourced to, which was an existing hyperlink.
- A hyperlink and mention of was added as a source of the quote in paragraph 11.
- A hyperlink and mention of was added as a source of the information on Mark Protosevich working on a JP4 script in paragraph 22.
January 12th 2012

- “In an interview with Cinemania magazine…” was removed  from paragraph 20 and was replaced with: “In an interview, quoted in…”. Also, a hyperlink was added.
- A hyperlink and mention of Ain’t It Cool News has been added to paragraph 18 as a source of the John Sayles/ William Monahan JP4 script information, and the paragraph was reworded.
- The mention that Steven Spielberg himself scrapped John Sayles/ William Monahan script was removed.
- “US Government” was changed to “twisted corporation” in paragraph 18.
January 28/29th 2012
- Author names were added to some sources.

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