Warning: SPOILERS for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has arrived, which means it's time for another Easter Egg hunt in the movie universe 65 million years in the making. The movie may be a direct sequel to Jurassic World in terms of its plot and cast, but those who prefer the original films from Steven Spielberg will see plenty of homages and references.
These small details, inside jokes, and easy to miss connections to the previous Jurassic Park movies may not help Jurassic World's critical reception. But for moviegoers happy to see how fellow fans of the series have shown their love in front of and behind the camera, Fallen Kingdom doesn't disappoint. Even if the shocking ending and Jurassic World 3 setup will resonate longer than any fan service.
With one last SPOILER warning, let's break down Jurassic World 2: Every Easter Egg & Secret You Missed.
Fans who saw the original Jurassic Park will all remember the first time they actually laid eyes on a walking dinosaur - and were most likely just as dumbfounded as Alan Grant. There's no way to recapture that gamechanging digital effects shot, but fans get another look at the dino in question, a Brachiosaurus, seen later en masse, waving heads and blowing snot on Alan, Tim, and Lex.
The creatures were largely overlooked in Jurassic World, which shifted the attention to the more exciting, and more violent creations of the new park management. But that's rectified with the sequel. The veggiesaurus's arrival marked the end of the world Grant, Ellie and Malcolm had known. When the team returns to the rundown park in Fallen Kingdom, it's no coincidence the same species strolls through frame, foreshadowing a major change in status quo all over again.
For all the credit and praise heaped upon the first Jurassic Park movie, neither it nor the ensuing sequels ever took the leap into aquatic dinosaurs and the truly mammoth creatures of the ancient oceans. A problem finally tackled with Jurassic World, and used heavily in marketing. Even moviegoers who never saw Jurassic World will know that it introduced the gigantic Mososaur, since almost every trailer or TV spot included the signature shot of it leaping out of its tank to snap jaws on a dangling shark. A Great White, as a matter of fact, emphasizing just how massive and powerful it really was.
A point driven home when the Mososaur saves the day by unceremoniously swallowing the terrifying Indominus Rex in the film's climactic battle. But when the sequel opens with a similar gag - visitors to the island narrowly escaping the T-Rex aboard a helicopter only to be snapped by the Mososaur - fans might not recall that earlier feeding scene. When reminded, it's hard to blame the dinosaur at all. The humans didn't intend it, but dangling from a ladder suspended the same distance over the water as the Great White was practically an invitation to the dinner table.
The first Jurassic Park movie wasn't without its subtle gags and humor on repeat viewings, and not all of them were thanks to Jeff Goldblum's performance as Dr. Ian Malcolm. One of the most memorable comes when Malcolm, Ellie, and Muldoon are fleeing from the T-Rex (when they "must go faster").
As the massive dinosaur lunges forward with jaws wide, Muldoon gets an eyeful in his driver's side mirror. Seeing the enormous mouth effectively cover the entire mirror, the warning that "objects in mirror are closer than they appear" doubly emphasizes how close they are to death. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Owen stumbles across one of these original park vehicles, and the audience is treated to his reflection with the same warning (perhaps hinting at the reversal of power in the movie's final scenes?).
Of all the things to take issue with in Jurassic World, predicting that it would be actress Bryce Dallas Howard's footwear would have been difficult ahead of time. But the fact that Claire wound up running in high heels throughout the entire movie rubbed many the wrong way. To them, it was the quintessential example of the logic-defying 'femininity' commonplace in blockbuster movies.
Despite Howard's explanation that she decided to wear the heels in Jurassic World, things changed for the sequel. When the film shifts to Claire's life post-Park-meltdown, things have dropped in glamour considerably. But she's still wearing those high heels, which the camera accentuates as she exits and elevator. Some may think it's director J.A. Bayona poking fun at his predecessor, but the truth is a bit better: the shot which rises from Claire's feet to her face is a full recreation of her entrance into Jurassic World.
Unless viewers rewatched the movie in preparation - or perhaps even if they did - it's a clever reference that's missed altogether. And yes, they're soon replaced by more practical footwear.
In the same shot of Claire riding the elevator to her new office, her armful of coffee may seem commonplace for the modern day job. But take a closer look, and you'll notice a fairly distinct logo on the side of the coffee cups. The double-C mark of Caveman Coffee will be impossible to miss for any caffeine connoisseur, but it's not just a bit of product placement.
For those who don't already know, the brand of small-batch roasted, paleo coffee and associated products is the creation of former mixed martial artists Keith Jardine and Tait Fletcher, as well as conditioning coach Lacie Mackey. Even if the names don't seem familiar, the faces might, with both Jardine and Fletcher appearing as InGen soldiers in the first Jurassic World.
They may not reprise the roles for the sequel, but they clearly made an impression.
It's nice to see that Claire has discovered true compassion for the dinosaurs she once saw as products, now devoting her time and energy to a dinosaur protection group. As part of her work, she can be seen and heard making a phone call to a U.S. congresswoman by the name of "Delgado." Not a name that will attract much attention, but in the Easter Egg game, proper names stick out like sore thumbs.
It's hard to imagine the name choice is a coincidence, and not a long overdue nod to animator and artist Ricardo Delgado. Delgado offered his talents to help with concept art and storyboarding of the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park 3 without an official credit. Although he may be best known these days for his Dark Horse comic series titled Age of Reptiles. Following different dinosaurs through a typical (or incredibly epic) day, week, month, or even years, the series has now enjoyed five different collections (and one omnibus).
As far-fetched as the premise of Jurassic Park may have seemed, author Michael Crichton based his original novel on the real world - and this new film is no exception. Although this time, it's the American government under the microscope. And rightfully so, since the problem and threat of dinosaurs now a concern to every country on the face of the Earth... or it should be.
In catching fans up to the new status quo of Fallen Kingdom's world, it's stated that the Americans have decided to essentially turn a blind eye from the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar, Sorna, and any others (an understandable decision, we suppose). But pay attention to the headlines addressing the move, and you'll notice that the President may have chosen his course of action because he questions "the existence of dinosaurs in the first place." Fake News, if you will.
Erupting islands aside, the real shift in Jurassic World: fallen Kingdom's ramifications for the series' future comes with the introduction of Benjamin Lockwood, played by actor James Cromwell. While he was never mentioned in prior films, Fallen Kingdom explains that he was once partners with John Hammond. And that it was under both of their supervision that the mining, extraction of dinosaur DNA, and mastery of genetic science that created Jurassic Park was achieved.
Aside from the grinning portrait of Hammond in Lockwood's home, his cane possesses the best nod to his and Hammond's friendship. The orb of polished amber containing a preserved mosquito is never explained, but Hammond's own version of the memento atop his cane suggests the men created them together. A clever way of linking their legacies, with the original now impossible to see the same post-Fallen Kingdom.
Jurassic World was FILLED with Easter Eggs and subtle details most viewers will have missed, but one celebrity cameo rises far above all others. When the true chaos breaks out all over the park, and a shattered aviary sends killer pteradons swarming the tourists and restaurants on the park's main strip, people scramble for the exits. Well, most do. One man - seen in a blink-and-you-miss-it shot amidst the stampeding guests - ducks his way back into a bar, a carefully balanced margarita in each hand.
When the man was revealed to be Jimmy Buffet, singer and owner of his chain of Margaritavilles, the joke became etched in stone. It was obviously too good to not be paid homage in one way or another, even if it is a bit heartbreaking. When the team first comes to the island and makes their way through that same stretch of shops and restaurants, the Margaritaville sign is singled out - finally, and fittingly, truly "wasted."
The first Jurassic World cashed in big time on nostalgia for the first Jurassic Park, both for the audiences in theaters and the characters on the screen. For the pair of boys who fought for survival across the island's dinosaur breakout, that nostalgia was delivered when stumbling upon the original Visitors Center. And bringing one of the gas-powered jeeps back to life, too.
The sequel makes sure to show some love to the other (arguably more iconic) vehicle used as a key part of Jurassic Park's story. Those would be the dinosaur-painted Ford Explorers, visible when Owen first tries to reconnect with his former Raptor ally, Blue. It's hard to make out the numbering of this particular Explorer, but seeing it flipped onto its roof is definitely a nod to the original film, both during and after the T-Rex attack.
For all the use of groundbreaking digital effects at the time, the shot which captured the speed and power of the Gallimimus stands apart from all others in Jurassic Park. Based on a handheld shot of the main cast members running across an open field, the build-up to the stampede and the bloody meal that follows is impossible to forget.
Still, fans could miss the similarities between that sequence and the version in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. In the first version, the Gallimimus wound up fleeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex, as the main characters hid behind a wooden log and made a quiet exit. In Fallen Kingdom, the Gallimimus are fleeing the destruction of the island, along with every other species of dinosaur. But fans will still get an uncanny sense of déjà vu as the Gallimimus sprint past, and the heroes once again take shelter behind what may be intended to be that same log.
Watching a dinosaur die as a result of wounds inflicted by the Indominus Rex - just for the fun of it - was a heartbreaking moment in Jurassic World. But the scene is topped with Fallen Kingdom, in what is most definitely the moment that fans will be mourning for years to come. We are speaking, of course, of the Brachiosaurus's death.
Easter Eggs can come in audio form as much as any other, and the most devoted fans will recognize the very same sounds of the Brachiosaurus that announced it in the first Jurassic Park. Sadly, this time the brachiosaurus is not saying 'Hello,' but a rather permanent 'Goodbye.' Is there evidence that this is the exact same dinosaur that first rose to its hind legs to get a mouthful of leaves in front of Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm? Of course not.
But seeing it make that same leap as the lava consumes it... it doesn't really matter.
The last trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom actually spoiled the shocking outcome of Owen's attempt to make peace with Blue, who gets a blast from a shotgun instead. Owen, Claire and the film's other 'good guys' have to act fast to save the raptor who saved their lives in the previous film, meaning a blood transfusion - STAT.
The sequence is also going to feel familiar, but thanks to its recreation of the dino-surgery scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In that film, the task meant setting and wrapping a juvenile T-Rex's broken leg, so not quite as life-threatening as Blue's version. But the not-so-subtle nod to Spielberg's second Jurassic film is still going to be appreciated by fans.
When the goat made its first appearance in the original Jurassic Park, Dr. Grant was quick to dismiss the form of feeding, explaining the Tyrannosaur's obliviousness as proof that "it doesn't want to be fed, it wants to hunt." The animal soon became symbolic, then, of the dinosaurs' domestication (and still, a demonstration of its raw, bloody power). In Jurassic World, the goat was used perfectly as intended - showing the time of the T-Rex's dominance had passed.
The climax of the film gave the dinosaur a return to glory, but the return of the goat in Fallen Kingdom helps give a playful explanation for one small detail from the first movie. As most will recall, the nabbing of the goat isn't actually seen in the first movie, only the swinging chain - followed by the bloody smack of a single leg on the Explorer's glass roof.
Fallen Kingdom shows the goat swallowed whole by the T-Rex in the cage... minus that single leg.
The director of Fallen Kingdom will be a surprise to many, since J.A. Bayona's film career shares little overlap with a dinosaur blockbuster. The Spanish director made his breakthrough into feature films with his debut The Orphanage (2007). The film was also the first screenplay by Sergio G. Sánchez, who had hoped to direct it himself, before ultimately connecting with Bayona while shooting another of his short films, titled 7337.
The success that The Orphanage brought the duo led to their collaboration on The Impossible (2012), and the rest is history. Their career paths may have diverged for now, but Bayona's appreciation for that first opportunity is still on display in Jurassic World, provided fans know where to look.
When the dinosaar auction goes bad (who could have ever guessed?) and the auctioneer played by Toby Jones is fleeing for his life, he escapes to an elevator. The plan doesn't go as smoothly as he had hoped,but make sure to catch the access code he enters to put the elevator in motion: 7-3-3-7.
Most fans will spot the portrait of John Hammond in the Lockwood mansion, now as much a tribute to the late Richard Attenborough as this particular character. What many will miss is what looks to be a portrait of the writer Mary Shelley, author of the famous Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Keep an eye out for it, since it may be the most clever inside joke in the entire movie.
After all, Frankenstein was a novel based on the premise of a 'mad scientist' assembling a creature from disparate, long-dead parts. Not unlike the kind of radical genetic experimentation that drives both Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom. Shelley's warning is as ignored by real world scientists as those looking to 'play God' in the films, but she continues to try, with her portrait literally falling onto the Indoraptor, the nightmarish 'Frankenstein's Monster' of this film.
As if velociraptors weren't deadly enough already, Fallen kingdom sees geneticists create what is almost certainly the deadliest, most intelligent, and apparently fairly sinister dinosaur yet seen in the franchise. And as proof that the filmmakers want fans to truly grasp the evolution of danger from the series' beginning, the references and callbacks to the original raptors are plentiful (but easy to overlook).
There's the silhouette of the Indoraptor which precedes its arrival in Lockwood's mansion in the film's final act - a nod to the raptors' arrival to Lex and Tim's meal in Jurassic Park. Then there's the iconic middle claw-tapping that extended well beyond the first film.
The new villainous forces of the Jurassic universe may stretch credibility, leaving behind the days of wanting to sell admission for the creation of alien soldiers, or genetically-enhanced humans (sooner or later). The good news? The audience at least gets to see most of them eaten for their antagonisms - with one of the most satisfying being the death of Eli Mills (Rafe Spall).
In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom his death may be the most surprising (exemplifying the uncanny stealth of an out-of-frame T-Rex), but has a moment or two worth spotting. For starters, there's the small glimpse of an ecosystem already taking shape, as the lone scrap of mills's body that drops from the T-Rex's mouth is snatched up by a smaller Allosaurus. The predators spar, and the scavengers Compys swoop in to take their turn.
The bigger joke? Where the T-Rex could fit almost all of the goat into its mouth minus a single leg, the same goes for Mills. We would make a pun about the dino "getting his goat," but it's too grisly a scene.
It seems nothing can bring down the female Tyrannosaurus Rex who first saved the day in Jurassic Park, and later saved the day in Jurassic World. She survives the insanity of Fallen Kingdom to, yes, kill the bad guy once again. But the final appearance is even better, breaking through the walls of a zoo and beginning an impromptu roar-off with a full-grown lion.
As good as the moment may be, the one that precedes it is even better, as the Rex snaps the wires and fencing of the lion enclosure. Your ears don't deceive you: those are the very same wire sound effects heard when the T-Rex first walked out her paddock and between the Ford Explorers of the first Jurassic Park. Clearly, word of their ineffectiveness never made it to the mainland.
It's customary for any Jurassic Park film to give a loving nod to the originals in its final shot, originally a group of pelicans accompanying the heroes' escape from Isla Nublar (a nod to the theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds, not reptiles). In Spielberg's Lost World sequel, those birds switched to pteradactyls, with one spreading its wings in the final frame.
For Jurassic World 2, the tradition is maintained along the Pacific Coast Highway, but the post-credits scene delivers another example... with a twist. Beginning by showing a number of pteradons circling the top of a metallic tower, the camera pulls out to reveal - GASP - the top of the Eiffel Tower. But as quickly as audiences can make that connection and debate the believability of dinosaurs spreading to Europe, the camera pulls out further.
It's not the original tower constructed in Paris, but the miniature one gracing the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. A bit more believable, while also setting the stage for the next sequel.
Those are all of the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom references, subtle details, and loving homages that we could spot. Did you notice any others? Let us know in the comments.