Monster Nation: Jurassic World’s Easter (Egg) Basket

   The Joy of Rex: The Indominus is mad for Chris Pratt       

          One of the things I loved about Jurassic World was its many references to the original franchise.  There are so many, in fact, that I didn’t spot them all on my first viewing.  How many did you catch?  (And see the movie before reading this if you’re spoiler averse.)

Easy

The original movie’s wooden gate, which a tour guide points out in case you’re slow.

The mosquito snaring amber pops up a few times in World: on Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong)’s desk and on the island’s main drag in the form of an oversized statue.

John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough) is referenced with a bronze statue outside the Hammond Creation Lab and in conversations between Masrani (Irrfan Khan) and other characters, invoking Jurassic Park’s quotable “Spare no expense.”  Why, though, was the movie not dedicated to Attenborough, author Michael Crichton, and/or FX wunderkind Stan Winston?

The Dilophosaurus makes a holographic cameo in the climax, and video host Jimmy Fallon is seeing getting “accidentally” sprayed with its venom.  D’oh!

The Indominus Rex’s assault on the gyrosphere is a loving homage to the T. Rex’s attack on the land cruiser in Jurassic Park.  Similarly, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard)’s interlude with a dying Apatosaurus recalls the sickly Triceratops in JP.

The T. Rex is battle scarred from its fight with the Velociraptors inthe first movie.

Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) discover the ruined Visitor’s Center from Jurassic Park, complete with torn “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” banner, skeletal debris, night vision goggles, red and gray jeeps… etc., etc.

Claire calls Lowery (Jake Johnson)’s workspace “chaotic,” an obvious nod to…

Medium

…Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) who appears via his character’s hardcover book in the control room.  Nice.

Mr. DNA flits across a display in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance, right after Gray clicks on the elements at the new visitor center. He’s voiced by director Colin Treverrow.

 Claire strips to her tank top Laura Dern style, and shots of her and the survivors huddled together while Raptors surround them are highly reminiscent of Jurassic Park.  Similarly, she uses a flare to lure the T. Rex, and the park feeds the Rex via a goat, despite Alan Grant (Sam Neill) pointing out the lameness of that in the first film.  (“She wants to hunt.”  Preach!)

Claire’s nephews are sent to Jurassic World while their parents work out a divorce, much like Lex and Tim in the original.  Divorce and its impact on children is a hallmark of many Steven Spielberg films, including ET.

Claire explains that new attractions have to be introduced every few years to revive the public’s interest, “like the Space Program.”  Or like a franchise.  Hoo ah!

A tour guide explains that the Mososaurus would eat any creature at the water’s edge, so when the Indominus Rex staggers there in the climax, it should come as no surprise that Moe comes up for a bite.

An OTF (Off the Franchise) reference: the bodycam equipped team dispatched to bring in the Indominus Rex aren’t given “lethals,” and they pretty much all die, flat lining onscreen, in the exact same manner as Aliens’ colonial marines.  Owen (Chris Pratt) tries to tell the powers that be to call off the suicide mission, so he’s Ripley in this instance.  Which is rad.

Hard

Winston’s Steak House, where an unlucky Raptor gets flambéed, is a tip of the hat to the legendary Stan Winston.

Miscellaneous ideas from Michael Crichton’s two Jurassic books turn up in World, including the river rafting cruise, the specially engineered petting zoo dinos, and the Indominus Rex’s ability to camouflage (in The Lost World it was the Carnotosaurus that could do this, a dino the I. Rex resembles).  Crichton specified nature documentary stalwart Richard Kiley as the narrator on the Jurassic Park tour, so casting real life celebrity Jimmy Fallon in a similar role follows his template, too.

The Indominus Rex stampedes through a Spinosaurus skeleton en route to its tussle with the T. Rex.  The Spinosaurus was the big bad in Jurassic Park III, and I couldn’t help wondering if Treverrow meant to mock its defeat of the T. Rex in that movie; in World, the T. Rex takes out the I. Rex (with a little help from its dinosaur friends).

My boyfriend wondered if the Pandora store was a reference to Pandora’s Box.  A reach, or just really serendipitous product placement?  You decide.

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