Steven Spielberg has always been at the forefront of Hollywood trends. He helped popularize CGI effects in 1993 with Jurassic Park, the first film to demonstrate the medium's potential for creating realistic creatures. Now, in an age populated by one reboot after another, he's leading the pack with a revolutionary new idea: a sequel to a classic film, instead of a mere "reimagining." That sequel is Jurassic Park IV, and after years of conjecture (including this strange attempt to incorporate human-dinosaur hybrids), it's finally coming in 2014.
The news comes courtesy of Universal Pictures (via Coming Soon), and while no director has been selected, and the actual premise of the film has yet to be revealed, it's easy to meet the announcement – which includes the promise of a 3D release -with absolute skepticism. The original Jurassic Park was a solid creature feature bolstered by the golly-gee-whiz wonder that came from seeing realistic dinosaurs for the first time on-screen (older films like The Valley of Gwangi were neat and all, but the illusion never felt like anything but), elevated by John Williams' rousing, adventurous score. That sense of the new and magical didn't translate to the film's disappointing sequels, which made money but were, at best, b-grade CGI-fests trying desperately to ape the original film's novelty factor.
With CGI creatures now the norm in Hollywood, not the distinctive exception to the rule, a new Jurassic Park had better actually bring a good story to the table in order to seem relevant or even noteworthy in the modern generation of blockbusters. Where exactly do we go from here? Michael Crichton only gave us two novels in the series, one a trip to the original Jurassic Park, the other – The Lost World – a trip to another island right next to Jurassic Park. The first two films followed suit (unnecessarily, since unlike the original novel, Spielberg's Jurassic Park didn't nuke the island at the end of the movie, necessitating a new island to take its place), followed by Jurassic Park III, which revisited the first island again just for the hell of it. Are we really going to go back once again? If not, where do you go?
Maybe that's why some poor enterprising filmmakers decided to try to expand on the idea by introducing humanoid dinosaur mercenaries in the first place. Sure, it was stupid, but it was something different at the very least. It represented a new direction for a franchise floundering in repetition. The new filmmakers had better have something new up their sleeves, because if Jurassic Park IV is centered around someone making a newer, bigger park full of dinosaurs who subscribe to chaos theory newsletters, we're going to be disappointed.
Jurassic Park IV will be preceded by a re-release of the original Jurassic Park in 3D, scheduled for release on June 13, 2014.