The ( ________ ) Gospels Spotlight: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Warning: Contains major spoilers.
“Change is like death; you don't know what it looks like until you're standing at the gates.”
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Producers: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Belen Atienza Director: J.A. Bayona Writer: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow Runtime: 128 minutes Rating: PG-31 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.
Scripture Reading: John 10:9
In much the same way that Jurassic World was a soft reboot that followed the story beats of Jurassic Park, this film follows the pattern of its sequel, The Lost World. Just like The Lost World, the park has been shut down, but a visit with an old man (John Hammond's previously unseen partner in this case) leads to a clandestine “rescue mission” that's secretly a front for getting dinosaurs back to the US. It even features a scene of an injured raptor being treated in a bunker like the baby T-Rex. Also like The Lost World, Jeff Goldblum returns (briefly) as Dr. Ian Malcolm, to warn of change on the horizon. When asked what sort of change, he ominously says that “change is like death; you don't know what it looks like until you're standing at the gates.”
Gates are a motif of the film. It begins with the gates of the mosasaur tank being opened for a submarine trying to extract a bone sample of the defeated I-Rex from the last movie, and it closes with a gate being opened that lets the dinosaurs loose. Whether the creatures deserve to live is the central debate of the film. Claire, a cold business woman in the last movie, is now a dino rights activist who has set up an entire foundation to rescue them, but she hesitates when faced with the choice of saving them or not. The dinos are dying from a gas leak, and her hand is over the button that would set them free. This might be the last chance to set the course of nature right again; however, if Claire pushes that button, there is no going back. She makes the painful choice to let the gas claim the dinosaurs, only to see the old man's granddaughter, Maisie, push the button instead. Maisie isn't really his granddaughter, though, just as the dinosaurs aren't really dinosaurs; she is a clone of his dead daughter, and she saves them because they are like her.
The world is filled with gatekeepers, guarding access to knowledge, media, healthcare, political voice, and truth, but no matter how tirelessly gatekeepers try to clutch onto their power, there are always those in the periphery working to open the gates to everyone. To paraphrase Ian Malcolm, people find a way. One area that we can act as gatekeepers is with our fandoms, asserting that we know better than the makers of the entertainments we enjoy (which, to be honest, we sometimes do). The problem is when we decide who to regard as “true fans,” and our standard is always compared against ourselves. Even worse, we can treat our faith like a fandom, imagining ourselves to be the gatekeepers of the gospel, free to determine who “true Christians” are based on their spiritual maturity or our denomination's doctrine.
Jesus warned the Pharisees, the religious authority of His day, of this way of thinking in Matthew 23:13, saying, “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” The problem with attempting to be spiritual gatekeepers is that the job is already taken. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; in fact, He is the gate itself. No matter how hard we try to shut it to those whom we think don't belong, nor how hard we try to pry it open to make the bible say what we want it to, Jesus is the one who decides who comes and goes. We can find peace with relinquishing our control when we see others the way Maisie looked at the dinosaurs, focusing on how we're alike rather than how we're different, because the invitation of Christ is to everyone.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is better paced than its predecessor and makes some bold choices, like destroying the island and introducing the idea of human cloning, but it's bogged down by tired plot points from The Lost World and stupid ideas like using a gun to target the victims of the new monster (the Indoraptor) instead of just shooting them, having the Indoraptor wink and smile at the camera like a cartoon, and treating the classic raptor – the scariest creature of the original film – like a lost dog. That said, how history will regard this entry will depend on the next. Like any gate, whether the gate of a dinosaur pen or the gate of salvation, opening it is only part of the journey; what really matters is what we do once we walk through it.
- What fandoms are you protective of? How can your view of those properties affect how you regard other fans?
- In what ways are you a gatekeeper of the gospel?
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is now available On Demand and on DVD and Blu Ray.
Jason Korsiak is a writer and speaker based in Weeki Wachee, FL. If you enjoyed this devotion, check out his books here.