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 Two Islands Are Better Than One?

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JVM
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PostSubject: Two Islands Are Better Than One?   Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:30 am

Each Jurassic Park film seems to operate under the assumption only a single island with dinosaur populations still exists. There are obviously no references to Sorna in the first film and the second film and third film were produced under the assumption Isla Nublar had been destroyed entirely. This has since been ignored by the Jurassic World films, which returned to Isla Nublar but have suggested Sorna is no longer viable, setting up the plot of the recent films where the only known remaining dinosaurs need to be protected. At no point in any film in the franchise is the existence of the other island explicitly denied, but never is attention drawn to their co-existence.

Would the franchise be better off in the long run if the focus of all five films released had been on a single island instead of two? Did we gain anything by operating on two islands except continuity errors? Should more have been done to contrast the two islands instead? Did Jurassic World films properly exploit the return to Nublar?
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PostSubject: Re: Two Islands Are Better Than One?   Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:56 pm

I think that while adding Sorna was a bit of a plot device, it was a useful one that was used quite well in TLW. Think about it, why make dinosaurs on an island that is still going through an experimental building stage (Nublar)? JP3 tried to explore more of Sorna, but most of it didn't really lead to anything. The incubators were interesting as was the other parts, but the rest of that movie was just so bad, that it was hard for me to be as interested as I would have been.


Personally, I would have loved to see a movie where Masrani hires former U.S. Military to defend the Sorna population from poachers and big game hunters that would ahve taken place in between JP3 and JW. It's like how India's game wardens in Kaseringa National Park does and a few countries of Africa do. And as they teared down the old buildings, the commander of the group learns more about Sorna's secrets. I really think it would have been an interesting movie and filled in all those gaps properly.


Alas, we got what we got, which JW:FK, which was trash.

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PostSubject: Re: Two Islands Are Better Than One?   Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:58 pm

@JVM wrote:
Would the franchise be better off in the long run if the focus of all five films released had been on a single island instead of two?

Probably, yeah. I don't know if you could get a lot of mileage from one single island in terms of introducing new dinosaurs and locations, but they could always shrug off and say "oooohhhh, we've never been on this part of the island before!". Most of the general public isn't even aware that the Jurassic Park movies take place in different islands anyway, which is why the new movies don't care to explain what became of Isla Sorna. Hell, there's even two meta jokes about that in Jurassic Park III, the first being Dr. Grant being constantly asked about the San Diego Incident (which he did not witness), and the second being that the whole reason Dr. Grant is kidnapped is because the Kirbys and Udesky - three average people - weren't aware that there were two islands with dinosaurs where different events took place.

It's very easy to forget, but Sorna's entire existence is a very silly retcon (Crichton himself would've been the first person to admit that), and the justification for its existence is not only paper-thin, but it also very contradictory with the first movie. The only reason it was created was that Crichton was pressed into writing a sequel by Spielberg, his fans, and his publisher, and he knew beforehand that this new novel would be adapted into a movie. Because of that, he had to set it on an island, since the JP movie ended with Nublar's fate being ambiguous, and his novel ended with the island being napalmed. The same thing goes for Malcolm's hand-waved resurrection in the Lost World novel. Crichton at least managed to create a somewhat plausible in-universe reason for the secret existence of a second island: InGen was trying to investigate and stop the spread of a prionic disease.

In the movies, there was no real reason to create Isla Sorna, since Nublar was left intact at the end of Jurassic Park. My best guess is that Spielberg and David Koepp wanted to have a family of T. rex and a group of Velociraptors in the second movie, and since there was mention of only one T. rex in Nublar ("we have a T. rex!"), and all three raptors were killed off, they figured they might as well make a second island with a clean slate. Other than those two factors (and the bizarre decision to shoot a film set on a Costa Rican island on the redwoods), the Lost World could've easily been set on Isla Nublar, since most of the film takes place on generic stretches of forest.

Locations-wise, the only movie that got a good mileage out of being on a different island was JP III, which constantly shows lots of derelict buildings and abandoned vehicles littering the island. By comparison, the only man-made constructions we see in Lost World are right at the end of the movie, when Ian, Sarah and Kelly are ambushed by the three raptors in the geothermal power plant/gas station/communications center complex.

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PostSubject: Re: Two Islands Are Better Than One?   Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:50 pm

I'm not sure why they can't juggle two islands at a time. It's weird...I think the logic is basically:

- TLW, following Crichton's lead from the book, which didn't deal with Nublar either

- JP3, no original ideas really

JW - reboot of the franchise, using elements from most popular installment and not the more divisive sequels

JW: FK - a continuation of said reboot, plus three locations, (Nublar, Arcadia, Lockwood Estate), perhaps they felt they couldn't fit Sorna besides a mention?

I feel the original sequels did contrast Nublar and Sorna - the latter felt more primal and less pristine.

JW honestly could have been set anywhere save for the totally unnecessary VC visit...it was there for pure nostalgia. IMO it would have been more interesting to set JW somewhere fresh.
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PostSubject: Re: Two Islands Are Better Than One?   Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:34 pm

@Robotpo wrote:
I'm not sure why they can't juggle two islands at a time. It's weird...

Don't forget about the other islands.

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PostSubject: Re: Two Islands Are Better Than One?   Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:43 pm

Perhaps I didn't make my points correctly. I'm very, very aware that the existence of a second island originated in Crichton's novel, and similarly aware that Fallen Kingdom had to carry on the choice set forth in the previous films.

Yeah, I... I'm aware that TLW followed Crichton's lead with the new island, guys, I've read the novels, but part of my point was that Crichton's explicit reference to Nublar's destruction necessitated the creation of a new island in the novels, whereas the films did not have that baggage to deal with; Spielberg changed significant portions of the novel and I feel it perhaps could have carried on anyway.

@Robotpo wrote:
I feel the original sequels did contrast Nublar and Sorna - the latter felt more primal and less pristine.

JW honestly could have been set anywhere save for the totally unnecessary VC visit...it was there for pure nostalgia. IMO it would have been more interesting to set JW somewhere fresh.
I think that contrast was intended but I'm not sure it really came through on-screen as a difference between the islands' character as much as the nature of the films themselves.

Yeah, in retrospect I wish they hadn't revisited Nublar; part of what made the possible return to Nublar interesting was the dereliction of the original park, which is never exploited story-wise except that like, that's where the boys find the car. It did give us some cool visuals, but it ended up feeling more like a bigger closing on the door than ever fully reopening it. I'm not even really sure it made a lot of sense in-universe to build over some small portion of the old park. (Yeah, we've established the old VC was in a different sector, but the lagoon makes things tricky.)

Quote :
I don't know if you could get a lot of mileage from one single island in terms of introducing new dinosaurs and locations, but they could always shrug off and say "oooohhhh, we've never been on this part of the island before!".
I'm just going to bluntly say that the way these films have been written I was never one to stop and question why we only saw certain species in certain films. I find it a little silly how we've now retconned that Nublar only ever held the species seen in the first movie, when it's entirely plausible some species never left their paddocks, and Dilophosaurus' failure to reappear was never seen to suggest its lack of existence, nor was Pachycephalosaurus' lack of appearance on inGen's original list in the first film (or Mamenchisaurus, which has been pretty much discarded) ever subject to much speculation or curiosity. Spinosaurus was a trickier case because it seemed to be so clearly portrayed as an apex predator with near omniscience, but I didn't find myself wondering where Corythosaurus or Ceratosaurus had been. I haven't seen more than two people concerned by the sudden appearances of Allosaurus, Carnotaurus, Baryonyx, etc. in the new film when two of those three had barely been hinted to exist prior to the film, and only a serious fan knew Baryonyx was around.

I mean, I'm not fully disagreeing with you; I do like to point how TLW and JP3's versions of Sorna are wildly and almost implausibly different, and how strange it is to imagine two teams that crossed most of the island failing to encounter too many of the same things; I've also been an advocate of focusing more on the inGen list species not depicted onscreen previously, such as Metriacanthasaurus and Baryonyx before FK, so you certainly have a point! I just think this is the most justifiable kind of continuity error there is. Smile

Quote :
It's very easy to forget, but Sorna's entire existence is a very silly retcon (Crichton himself would've been the first person to admit that), and the justification for its existence is not only paper-thin, but it also very contradictory with the first movie.
Yeah, we've all become so used to Sorna that I think people tend to minimize how tacked-on it is to the way the mythology is set up in Jurassic Park. I'm all but certain Hammond explicitly refers to the laboratory on Nublar as where it all happened, but we see the eggs of new specimens being hatched successfully, so even the very scientifically plausible explanation about how imprecise a practice cloning can be, is kind of irrelevant. Hammond also suggests being present for every birth, which wouldn't be plausible if both islands were breeding at once. Less critically, I also imagine transporting dinosaurs between island was an unrealistic, logistical nightmare that we see only barely succeeding when it occurs in the first three films.

We've accepted easily that the lab on Nublar was a show facility and that Hammond was just being a braggart with his showmanship, and imo, this paved the way for the later intended retcons about other species being bred (JP3's original idea) and Lockwood being ignored; but this isn't really in line with how Spielberg portrayed Hammond in the first film, who never really seemed to lie outright or intentionally distort as much as be simply ignorant of the ramifications of what he was doing.

None of this is, of course, meant as a criticism, I think both versions of TLW handle such a huge retcon as gracefully as possible, and I'd still be a firm supporter of returning to Sorna at some point, but it's still a retcon, just as sure as Darth Vader wasn't originally Luke Skywalker's father.

Quote :
My best guess is that Spielberg and David Koepp wanted to have a family of T. rex and a group of Velociraptors in the second movie, and since there was mention of only one T. rex in Nublar ("we have a T. rex!"), and all three raptors were killed off, they figured they might as well make a second island with a clean slate. Other than those two factors (and the bizarre decision to shoot a film set on a Costa Rican island on the redwoods), the Lost World could've easily been set on Isla Nublar, since most of the film takes place on generic stretches of forest.
Well, Spielberg was presumably following Crichton's lead, as a deleted scene iirc had Ludlow confirm the park's destruction. (Easily retconned had there been a need though, imo) The latter is the point I'm more getting at - each film is ultimately set on a tropical island (in theory) populated by genetically-modified dinosaurs with remnants of civilization, and an aviary for the pterosaurs. There is no severely breaking difference.

The point about dinosaur populations, I'm not sure. It would be remarkable foresight on the screenwriters' part, but I kind of doubt they would be so concerned. One of the ways new canon has spoiled me (in a good way) is I increasingly think of Nublar as more wild than the first film ever suggested, with unnoticed and unmentioned specimens hiding just off-screen, especially when mind is kept that it's the Sorna films that seemed to be a little more focused on survey and geography.

Quote :
Locations-wise, the only movie that got a good mileage out of being on a different island was JP III, which constantly shows lots of derelict buildings and abandoned vehicles littering the island. By comparison, the only man-made constructions we see in Lost World are right at the end of the movie, when Ian, Sarah and Kelly are ambushed by the three raptors in the geothermal power plant/gas station/communications center complex.
To me though, this is part of the point - revisiting Nublar or Sorna, there's still an intended remnant of human civilization and inGen's influence, and the differences onscreen seem negligible.
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