If you've seen Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, then you're no doubt familiar with its most heartbreaking moment, but you might not have realized just how deep the tragedy goes. According to the film's director, the scene in question features an extremely detailed connection to Jurassic Park.
The moment comes in the final shot of Isla Nublar, as seen from the boat that Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) have just jumped on to escape the oncoming volcanic eruption. Throughout the film we've been told that the eruption will be strong enough to wipe out all life on the island, including any remaining dinosaurs, but this is the moment we as viewers actually have to live with the reality of that. While numerous dinosaurs were taken off the island by Wheatley (Ted Levine) and his mercenaries, many were simply left there to die, and the camera lingers on the dock the boat just departed from as one desperate brachiosaurus walks to the very edge of the land. She cries out in fear and anguish and the ash envelops her, and we see her silhouette writhing in despair as the lava closes in. It's an instantly memorable and even tear-jerking moment.
Well, if you're a fan of the franchise, get ready to be emotional about it all over again, because director J.A. Bayona and writer/producer Colin Trevorrow recently revealed to Empire that that's not just any brachiosaurus. That's the brachiosaurus, the very first dinosaur shown in 1993's Jurassic Park.
"That's the brachiosaurus that Alan Grant saw for the first time in Jurassic Park,” Bayona said. “I think it's a beautiful moment – it's sad but it's beautiful, and it's so relevant.”
So, the very first dinosaur that Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler saw when they arrived on Isla Nublar 25 years ago is the very last one Claire and Owen see when they leave it, closing the book on John Hammond's dream. And, to be clear, when Bayona and Trevorrow say it's the same dinosaur, they don't just mean they thought of it as the same dinosaur. Bayona actually went back and used the same animation models from 1993 to reproduce the brachiosaurus.
"For that to be the last dinosaur we see on the island, I found to be emotionally effective,” Trevorrow said. “But then the way that J.A. executed it – the colors, the very spiritual way that he shot it and finished it… It was actually the last shot that we finished on the whole movie, everyone had been up all night. He's so meticulous, especially with his color and his composition. He worked on that shot until he had seconds left."
Sure, it's still just a computer-generated animal, but when you place something like that in the right story context it can be truly moving. Watching the brachiosaurus rage against the dying of the light was a powerful image all by itself. Knowing now that it carried so much weight within the franchise makes it even more so.