I went to go see Jurassic World again, this time with my family. And as I was driving my little brother back to his house, he expressed disappointment that the original cast (bar the scientist and the t-rex) didn’t make appearances. Then he said something that set me off in a Jurassic Wonderland of wasted possibility.
“What I want to know is why the two kids weren’t running the place. Why was some strange lady in charge of the park, instead of Lex? Why was some navy guy in charge of the raptors instead of Tim?”
And I just… can you imagine what the movie would have been if that had been the case instead?
Imagine that at some point, there wasn’t a choice. Hammond’s will allowed for the continuation of the park, or a creation of a new one, and InGen was going to do it with or without Lex and Tim, but the kids remembered what happened to them when they were little. They remembered, and they knew it would happen again. Of course it would. But they agree to it, they go back, because they figure that they can at least be there to handle the fallout. So they go back, they help design things, they fight for every precaution and for every reactionary defense. The park will never be safe, but they’re going to do everything in their power to ensure that if it’s happening anyway, they’ve got their hands in it to ensure the least damage and loss possible.
So Lex get put in charge of the park- the computer system isn’t just something she uses- she fucking designed it. She designed it and worked on programming it. She was the one who designed the tracking system they use with all the dinosaurs because she needs to be able to assure herself of where every single one of them is at any time, and she carries a tablet with her that does just that- taps into the network and shows dino locations. She fights the board on every new carnivore they want to create; It’s a bad idea, she tells them. Carnivores eat meat which in case you have not noticed, humans happen to coincidentally be made of meat. She also doesn’t just track the dinosaurs- there’s no way anyone will ever suffer through what she and Tim and Grant did. Every visitor to the island has a wristband that talks to the mainframe and gives their location at all times.
And Tim, head of the animal care and behavior department with his wife, Kelly (you know, Ian Malcolm’s daughter from the second movie). They don’t just know know anything about the dinosaurs; they know EVERYTHING about these dinosaurs. Tim has Hammond’s hearteyes wonder mentality partnered with Grant’s thirst for knowledge and fueled by his own curiosity and experiences. Kelly has her dad’s caution and her mom’s free spirit and drive for pushing boundaries. They are there for every birth, and have their hands in the raising and care of all the dinosaurs. Like Grant, Tim has a soft spot for the raptors, and they have a soft spot for him as well, after he raises them himself, imprints them on himself and Kelly at their island-side residence.
And we mustn’t forget Eric, the kid Grant and his team saved from one of the islands when he crashed on it parasailing. Eric survived down there on an island full of dinosaurs when pretty much no one else could have survived even a few days. He’s the one out in the field, in charge of containment and tactical defenses for when (not if, WHEN) things go wrong. Because they will. They’ve been waiting 10 years for it to go wrong. They’ll continue waiting, ready.
Imagine the look on all their faces when InGen admits that a dinosaur was created behind their backs, a hybrid of several species, because someone wanted to create more ‘wow’ for the park. Only what they created wasn’t what they meant to create. This new dino is smarter than anything they’ve ever made before. Bigger than the T-Rex. Stronger. It surprises everyone with it’s ability to mask its heat and change its skin color. It’s a mistake but ohhh what a mistake- the InGen folks have hearts in their eyes thinking about how they could apply these changes to raptors.
Imagine Lex’s utter outrage at being lied to, but now that the life has been created she can’t just take it. The animal didn’t ask to be born, but now that it has been, she ensures that it has what amounts to a bomb-proof enclosure in a remote section of the island. Heat sensors, sound sensors, tracking device, motion sensors- this thing has got the works in her pen. Lex forbids opening it as an attraction, this enclosure is for containment only. And the would-be social creature, deprived of social interaction with humans or its own kind or with anyone really, becomes the Indominus Rex we see in the actual movie; she does not understand boundaries or dominance or good behavior.
But the movie dynamics are now shifted. Instead of the park destroying itself from within, it is under attack from without. It isn’t because Lex was careless about security. There is no tension between Lex and Tim outside of normal brother/sister banter. Imagine that InGen wants those raptors badly enough to force a field test of them- imagine they purposefully release Indominus, thinking Tim’s raptor squad can beat it. Imagine the moment Lex asks him if the squad is ready for search and rescue, and he agrees they are.
Imagine Tim and Lex gearing up to go into the wilds of their park because there are people stranded at the far end. Imagine a movie where the wholesale destruction and terror are not because everyone is ill-equipped to handle the situation (because Lex and Tim? They’ve made fucking preparations for this shit, they have thought of everything for this kind of situation) but instead a story about how all of those preparations mean shit against this superdino. She outsmarts them like the Clever Girl she is, avoiding traps, clawing out her tracker, taking out their electricity, setting free the other dinosaurs. She talks to Tim’s raptor children, and they walk away with her- imagine how CRUSHED he is to see Blue just… leave him.
Imagine half the movie following two young girls, strangers, who got put together on the rolly ball ride. One is a mechanic’s daughter who can disassemble and reassemble whole cars if she wanted, who fiddles with the ride to let them free-roll anywhere they want. Imagine she does it because the other girl is a younger trans girl who has spent her whole life admiring Dr. Ellie Satler and wanting to be a paleobotanist just like her, but the ride doesn’t get close enough to the plants for her to see them well. Imagine that they escape Indominus by ducking under a plant that the botanist-in-training recognizes as basically a giant ancient fucking nettle plant and Indominus takes one faceplant into it before deciding WOW NOT WORTH IT BYE. And the two girls stick together until they meet up with Lex and Tim who are out trying to find the rolly ball inhabitants that went off road because they are the last two left, and Lex has been following their wristband signals.
Indominus finds the InGen beach camp and attacks with her new raptor compatriots. Lex and Tim, after seeing all the civilians (including the two young girls) safely to boats, split up to come to the rescue, Lex with Eric and Tim with Kelly. Tim and Kelly win back their raptor clan (let’s be real, they didn’t have to win them, they left to gather intel on the iRex) while Lex comes charging down the beach in the original Jeep the mechanic’s daughter fixed, road flares tied to the roll bars and madam Queen-of-All T-Rex chasing after her to start the final showdown.
No giant seamonster needed- T-Rex + Raptor Squad + InGen army + Lex and Tim and Kelly and Eric are enough to bring down Indominus. Barely, but they win. And T-Rex is there, but she’s had quite enough fighting against raptors after the first movie, and so she leaves, heading into the jungle to let the humans recover.
Lex fires everyone at InGen. They go get ice cream from the cafeteria and Tim eats an entire chocolate pie by himself. They call Grant the next day and say “You are possibly the only person who will believe the day we just had.”