This article was published on AtomicGeekdom.com on June 7, 2022. To read the original, click here
One of the opening scenes of Jurassic Park III has Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil) giving a lecture to a group of people about the new discoveries that fossilized remains have revealed about raptors. He takes a question about the point of paleontology since there are two islands that hold real living dinosaurs. Grant responds to this young man by saying “what John Hammond and InGen did at Jurassic Park is create genetically engineered theme park monsters. Nothing more and nothing less.” This line would prove to be the entire thesis on which Jurassic World would be based. A thesis perfectly encapsulated by one dinosaur: Indominous Rex.
Since scientists are constantly discovering new things about the animals that lived 65 million years ago, the science that the Jurassic franchise is based on is wildly out of date. Jurassic Park is a technical marvel that continues to age like a fine wine every year, but paleo communities are constantly pointing out the various inaccuracies and it’s only gotten worse as the franchise continued well into the 21st century. By the time Jurassic World was developed, the many scientific theories about the creatures had become irrefutable, so then why don’t the dinosaurs of Jurassic World reflect the new scientific evidence? Why didn’t the Jurassic franchise update with the times? The reasons for this are at the very heart of what the Indominous Rex represents.
John Hammond’s vision of what Jurassic Park could be was a wonderful place filled with majestic creatures that haven’t been seen in millions of years. That park failed, but you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Now that Jurassic World was open for ten years, visiting a dinosaur had become like visiting an elephant at the local zoo. In order to keep visitors interested, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), the owner of the park, requested a new dinosaur be built from scratch. A completely unnatural scientific creation that would be bigger and scarier than anything the natural prehistoric world could reveal. The Indominous Rex was designed by splicing together a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Velociraptor, multiple other dinosaurs, and various modern animals that gave it unpredictable genetic traits, such as the ability to camouflage. Indominous Rex is not a dinosaur, she’s a “theme park monster”. She’s the bastardization of John Hammond’s vision and the very idea of Jurassic Park taken to its most extreme.
Jurassic World reminds the audience that it’s a thematic feature of the franchise that the dinosaurs don’t look “scientifically accurate.” Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) spells it out in a heated exchange with Masrani by simply saying “nothing in Jurassic World is natural”. Thanks to the gaps in the genetic codes that needed to be filled, the animals would never look the exact way they did 65 million years ago. A concept that was also explored in the TellTale point and click adventure game, Jurassic Park: The Game. In a way, every dinosaur on the island is some kind of hybrid, it’s just far less pronounced. For example, Blue is revealed to be genetically defective in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which is why she’s more responsive than other raptors.
As Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) says in Jurassic Park, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” At the time Dr. Malcom was talking about reviving dangerous super predators that haven’t been alive for millions of years, but now that line could apply to the scientists of Jurassic World. The new park could plan for any eventuality, they had multiple contingency plans in case the known dinosaurs got loose. The Indominous Rex was an unknown dinosaur, capable of abilities that were unpredictable. A genetically cloned dinosaur has millions of years of genetic coding that allows them to inherently know how to act and live. The Indominous, however, had none of that and had to discover it on her own. She had no genetic evolution encoded in her DNA and therefore had no concept of her place in the world.
The confusion in the Indominous Rex’s genetic code makes her far more dangerous than other dinosaurs. She doesn’t kill to hunt like a normal predator, she kills “for sport”. Everyone who ran and designed Jurassic World was so high on their own success that they felt they could handle anything. They knew they could design a dinosaur from scratch but, once again, they failed to ask if they should. Creation is a dangerous power that is incredibly unpredictable. They abused that power, and it fought back. In one single night, everything that was so carefully controlled and built was destroyed and returned to nature. Life will always find a way.
The Indominous Rex is the natural final step to the underlying theme laid out in Jurassic Park. She’s an unholy creature. Everything about her is trying to make the audience’s skin crawl. Her skin is unnaturally white and her roar is strategically designed to make the audience uncomfortable. Her head is reminiscent of a skull and her jaw can open unnaturally wide. The Indominous may have been built from the genetic structure of real animals, but nothing about her is right. She is the antithesis of nature and the very thing the Jurassic franchise warns against. In another world, the Indominous Rex would have been a concept saved for Jurassic World: Dominion. Now that the hybrid dinosaur concept has been exploited three times (counting Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous), audiences are rather disinterested in the idea. The Jurassic franchise has always needed a “villain” dinosaur and they developed the perfect one far too soon. She truly was a “theme park monster.”