The dinosaurs and stars of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” descended on Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday for the premiere of the latest installment in the franchise, which turns 25 this year.
The red carpet was lined with props from the movie, including dinosaurs like Blue, the female velociraptor raised and trained by Owen (Chris Pratt). A massive T-rex greeted fans at the start of the carpet, many of whom donned velociraptor masks.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” takes place three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park on Isla Nublar. Pratt’s Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing return to the island to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano about to erupt. On their journey, they discover new breeds of dinosaurs while also uncovering a conspiracy threatening the planet.
Pratt promised that the ‘Jurassic World’ sequel is distinct from previous stories in the franchise. “It’s different than any other Jurassic films,” he said. “It was really necessary and vital if we were going to move this franchise forward to do that. We blow up the island. The technology is expanding out into the world. The stakes have never been higher.“
Directed by Spanish director J.A. Bayona, the film is the second in the latest trilogy of the franchise and comes 25 years after the original “Jurassic Park.”
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“From the moment you decide to take the Jurassic universe one step further to places we’ve never seen before, it’s pretty risky and ambitious so you look for the support of people that were in charge of the legacy before you,” Bayona said. “I think there’s something very nice about [executive producer] Steven (Spielberg): He makes you feel empowered all the time. He makes you feel that you’re the director.”
Commenting on the increased diversity in science-fiction franchises like “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars,” Bayona said that “it’s great, the fact that we for the first time we start to see big franchises with women leading the story, with black people leading the story.”
He added: “Personally as a Latin director, I feel very lucky and fortunate to be able take a big franchise on my shoulders and I think it’s the moment to make a change … and for us to support diversity as much as we can.”
B.D. Wong, who reprised his role as Dr. Henry Wu from the original film, criticized some of the backlash that films like ‘Star Wars’ have had after casting women and minorities in starring roles.
“I feel very sad that there would be a backlash against it,” Wong said. “I don’t understand that at all.”
He added: “I entered this field as a young actor wishing to see the landscape of diversity change,” Wong said. “I wanted to somehow be a part of it through just exposing myself, doing the best work that I could do. I hoped for that. I hoped to see the needle move. And the needle has moved ever so slightly.”
Jeff Goldblum, who attended the premiere with his wife, former Olympic rhythmic gymnast Emilie Livingston, took his time taking questions from reporters and was the last to be whisked off the carpet to head inside for the screening. Goldblum shared how he imagined a conversation between him and a dinosaur would sound like in real life. (“What do you need?,” he mused. “How can we live together peacefully? If you need us to stay away, fine. If you want something from us, just tell us?”)
Goldblum reprised the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm and said he was thrilled to be working with Colin Treverrow, who along with Derek Connolly, wrote the screenplay. “Colin is a very brilliant man. He wrote a little beautiful scene for me,” he said, adding “He entertained my thinking and I loved working with him very much.”
On Bayona, he said the “Fallen Kingdom” director is “so passionate and focused and serious about the themes of anti-greed and anti-militarism and pro-science and we had a great time doing it.”
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” also stars Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones and Isabella Sermon. Producers were Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley and Belén Atienza. Music was composed by Michael Giacchino.
The film bows June 22.