Hype finds a way? Not for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which is being lumbered with a series of incredibly boring trailers. Why are Universal struggling so much to market their latest dinosaur action flick?
Jurassic World 2 is a little over two months away, so the release of its third and final trailer should be the moment where hype tips into overdrive. Instead, this latest tease has been met yet again with a resounding shrug. The first teaser back in December courted fairly high levels of anticipation, yet the moment it hit the excitement fell apart like a lackluster flea circus. The Super Bowl trailer improved things slightly, only to be trodden under the stampede of bigger competition like Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and, of course, The Cloverfield Paradox.
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Now Jurassic World 2 is three-for-three on bland trailers; the "Final Trailer" has arrived and, while it definitely gives a better sense of what the movie's about, there's still a lingering sense of exhausted disappointment. Why is this proving so difficult?
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Is An Awful Movie To Sell
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is already a weird beast before you get to the first frame of footage. It's billed as Jurassic World 2, ergo a sequel to 2015's box office behemoth. However, it is also technically Jurassic Park 5, continuing the narrative begun in Steven Spielberg's 1993 classic; in fact, with the return of Ian Malcolm and increased dominance of original evil company InGen (and a lot of nostalgia-baiting shots), this feels storywise closer to the original trilogy moreso than its direct predecessor. So it's at once a follow-up to a recent hit - albeit one that's not aged well in popular memory - and a legacy-quel continuation; a balancing act that Star Wars: The Last Jedi, whose trailers got a muted reaction compared to the bombast of The Force Awakens, also struggled with.
Things are made more complicated by the movie itself. Namely, Jurassic World 2 is two films in one: you have Chris Pratt's Owen brought back to Isla Nublar by Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire to save the dinosaurs from (presumably) a volcanic eruption; and yet there's a genre pivot halfway through, with a conspiracy revealed, a returning focus on Jurassic World's genetic modification, and overall horror sensibility. To sell all that, and do so in a coherent way, is tricky; simply presenting a string of random shots from across the film - which this latest trailer does - creates a mishmash of tones and styles (the added humor of a Pratt thumbs up only muddies matters further). Not ideal, especially when it goes against what came before.
Jurassic World 2's Trailers Went From Spoilerphobic To Spoiler-Ful Without Warning
It's likely Fallen Kingdom is written - like original sequel The Lost World - to be viewed as a simple rescue mission that is only gradually revealed to be a corporate cover; the shot of Claire screaming "it was all a lie" seems to come following the semi-successful rescue, meaning at the very least the characters are in the dark about whatever InGen's up to until after the volcano.
With such a twist coming midway through, the first teaser naturally held back, only featuring footage from the first 100 minutes; it was focused almost entirely on the volcano set piece. That created problems for that trailer - it was trying to present an early sequence as something more final and epic (we'll come back to that) - but issues have grown now the marketing is revealing everything; the plot dump in the latest trailer goes against that initial cautiousness, which is brash and frankly confusing.
What is Jurassic World 2? Is it a comedy, a horror, a Lost World remake, a Jurassic World second part, or a Jurassic Park sequel? It's all of them, but the trailers - and the posters, with their interchangeably overly-nostalgic or dumb taglines - have had no way to sell that and so just threw a mixture of ideas out there. The result has had no clear narrative for fans of Jurassic to follow, with those paying attention led one way and then snapped back in another two months before the movie's even out.
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) release date: Jun 22, 2018
- Jurassic World 3 (2021) release date: Jun 11, 2021