Jurassic World and Our Own Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World fallen kingdom

It’s been said that people are made of stories, and I believe it’s true. So it’s telling that our own collective story begins with a tragedy.

By Genesis’ second chapter, the tragedy is well underway. Everything seems just fine at first: Adam and Eve have been created and given a garden to take care of, filled with animals to name and fruit to eat and eternal life to enjoy. Just one rule: Don’t eat the fruit from that one tree in the center. Just that one tree. Simple, right?

But then along comes the serpent—the story’s great, slithering antagonist—and convinces Eve to chow down on a bit of that forbidden fruit. Adam does likewise and … well, we know how the rest of the story goes. The reason I’m writing this blog right now—earning my living by the sweat of my fingers—is all Adam and Eve’s fault.

Probably not many in Hollywood believe that the Garden of Eden was a real place. But metaphorically, its movies return to the theme of a paradise lost again and again. And in some ways, the Jurassic series of movies is a classic example. From the first Jurassic Park to this year’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, there’s a sense of an innocence gone awry through sin.

In the original, director Stephen Spielberg visually emphasized—with its towering brachiosaurus to its lush vegetation to its deceptively peaceful environs—that John Holland’s “creation” was an unspoiled Eden of sorts. A place of sacred remove from the fallen world of man.

But Holland’s Isla Nublar was itself a corrupted creation, a man-made construct powered by hubris and laid low by greed.

It’s been said that Lucifer’s sin—the sin which all others spring from—is pride. And in the original Jurassic Park, Holland’s own pride is called out again and again. “Gee, the lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here … staggers me,” Dr. Ian Malcom says. Well-intentioned or no, Holland plays God with his park, and Malcom suggests that that act of pride made the park’s failure inevitable.

But the ultimate catalyst for that failure was greed.

Dennis Nedry, like Adam and Eve, lived and worked in the paradise that was Jurassic Park. He was given dominion over it, in a sense, creating the code for all of its systems and security. But like Eve, he was tempted by a forbidden fruit—the promise of unimaginable wealth. Like Eve, he had everything he really needed … but wanted more. And so he plucked the fruit (in the form of several dinosaur embryos), turned off his own security systems and brought the place down.

Through five movies in the Jurassic franchise, we’ve seen elements of that lost Eden again and again, paradise laid low by pride and greed. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom we see that echo once more—with perhaps (judging from the trailer) the results of that hubris and greed leaking out of Eden and into our own, already fallen kingdoms.

I’ve been reminded—I think we all have been—of how fallen these manmade kingdoms of ours truly are as of late. Someone shot up a newsroom in Maryland yesterday, killing five. Some say that we’re in the midst of an anxiety epidemic. Suicide rates across the country are rising, and it’s now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 are treated for self-inflicted injuries every year. And many families are experiencing their own private pains.

Monsters are among us, certainly, but they’re sneaky ones: snakes in the shadows, not T-Rexes on the rampage.

And how do we deal with such monsters? By doing the opposite of what nurtures them in the first place. Instead of pride, we show humility. Instead of greed, we give. Instead of hate, we love. These “weapons” aren’t the sorts that make for a great blockbuster movie, of course, but I think they can make a better world.

Oh, and as Christians, we have the greatest weapon of all. Faith. We can’t pretend that the world is all sunshine and flowers. It can be a miserable place, and just getting from one day to the next can be a struggle for some. But through faith, we have hope: hope that we can survive this fallen kingdom, repair what we can of it and, eventually, find ourselves in a better one.

“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus told us in John 16:33. But He also added, “Take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Rocketshipper More than 1 year ago

Poor Nedry kind of got the short end of the stick for the film adaption.  In the book, he has sort of an excuse; Hammond took advantage of him, hiring him to design the computers and controls on the park while keeping him completely in the dark about what everything was for, which led to a lot of problems for Nedry, designing a system without knowing it's purpose.  When there were inevitable bugs and problems, Hammond blamed Nedry entirely and insisted he work long hours fixing the problems without extra pay.  He was a disgruntled employee

A big running theme in the novel, and the source of many of the parks problems, was Hammond's miserly attitudes that led him to cut corners and insist on the absolute minimum in everything.  "Spared no expense" was a lie and an ego boost for himself.  The movies definitely made him a lot more likeable and "Disney-like" in his demeanor and motives. 

charitysplace More than 1 year ago
While I agree with you that the movies softened Hammond a bit, I disagree that they made him more likeable -- he's an egocentric, self-centered idealist who doesn't care at all about the people involved in his park. He's totally unconcerned with someone being eaten (all he cares about is ensuring the park opens on time), he barges into a total stranger's trailer like he owns the place and pops the bottle of champagne they've been saving, he shows zero concern for Nedry ("I don't want to hear anymore about your financial woes, Dennis"), he becomes defensive under legitimate logical criticism (incredulous that no one is praising him and is instead warning him about the consequences of playing with genetic code) and even when the park is crumbling around him, he's mostly concerned with the failure of his own dream -- rather than the people DYING in the park. Then, for his five minutes in the second movie -- he's deliberately manipulating Ian Malcolm into returning to one of his islands, after knowingly sending his girlfriend ahead of him. IMO, he's not likable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Going to be a bit of a smart-Alec, but the name of the character is John Hammond, not Holland.

I would say if you want to know where the monsters are, all one needs to do is look into a mirror. I've nothing good to say about the nature of humanity, and neither does the Bible. Monsters aren't just among us, they ARE us. God should have destroyed Adam and Eve right from the start, but for the sake of His glory, He didn't. But seeing just what all of us are, the examples of humanity at its peak, perhaps this world would still be a paradise if we simply did not exist. And that goes even for God's elect.

- Nameless

charitysplace More than 1 year ago
*applauds this post*

*clicks nonexistent like button*