A Fan Film Review of Jurassic Park: Prime Survival

Having a large Jurassic Park site you see a lot of ambitious projects that come and go throughout your tenure of running it and in fact of spending the better part of a decade being involved in the Jurassic Park community. Prime Survival, a film by Jack De La Mare, is probably one of the most ambitious projects that was undertaken by an international team of fans spanning from the United States and United Kingdom to make a “new JP film” to satisfy that long urge for another go at the franchise. Prime Survival is that attempt and it does not disappoint in terms of a new dino-romp. For a Fan film, it’s quite well down, how it compares against the actual films released by Universal? Well you just can’t compare as it isn’t a valid comparison. Fan films are usually done by hard working folks with a shoe-string budget to add supplementation to their favorite film/tv franchise. What makes Prime Survival special is the fact it is possibly one of the FIRST released Fan Films to take itself seriously. Why is this a good thing? Because frankly you need to realize that almost ever JP fan film out there has been a spoof or a gag reel of old and tired humor of spoofing the Same. Exact. Scene. Over. And. Over. Again. Thankfully Prime Survival isn’t that. It has adventure in a rather basic storyline involving three boys journeying to Isla Muerta.

Isla Muerta is part of the Las Cinco Muertes island chain in the Jurassic Park franchise. The only island we’ve seen out of this chain is Isla Sorna, InGen’s Site B. As for what happens when they reach the island, you can imagine. They’re stuck and they need to find a way off of the island.

So what’s the good word?

Story: While the storyline appears basic you can tell there’s more to it when you watch the film. The story is believable and it doesn’t have any of these kids living on a dinosaur island for eight weeks, they’re there and they get out within a span of two-three days like a majority of JP films. The story itself flows quickly and gets to the point fast. The film run time is about an hour, but it does a fairly decent job of introducing us to our characters, what they want, why they go to the island, and does some interesting continuity work for it. There was a lot of honest care and effort placed into explaining things in the story and taking the time to show us things like, “Well this is why Dinosaurs are on this other island.” and keeping it straight and to the point at the same time. I would admit the ending did seem a bit rocky and there were moments where the film itself seemed to drag on and stumble a bit, but it did well to recover from these moments and keep telling the story and telling it good. Being a Fan Film it did what it could and it did great even with showcasing as many dinosaurs and action sequences as it did in one hour. I give the story telling ability an A.

Acting: “Remember we were young” was held as sort of a reminder for me while I reviewed this so I didn’t judge too harshly on them. For the actors being the age range they were they did remarkably well. Could it have used work? In truth, yes, some extra ADR work here and there, but other than that they did remarkably well! I give this portion a B.

Special Effects: For a Fan Film the special effects are basement quality, but done really well and look actually really nice for an amateur film-making. You can tell a lot of care and such was taken into account here. You can’t get much better than this with a Fan Film in my opinion. The animal movement though some of the animals look like they wouldn’t “move that fast” or “that slow”. The effort is there to make it good, but some of these sequences still seemed jerky. I give this section an A.

Music: Done by former staff member BrachioInGen (we wish him luck in his endeavors with musical composition!) the score is distinctly Jurassic Park mixed with The Lost World: Jurassic Park flare. Generally a nice score with a few recognizable injections of the Jurassic Park theme and a recognizable action motif it does its job of fitting with the film and does it well. This gets an A.

Action Sequences/Ambience/Setting: The setting chosen was distinctly “Jurassic Park” in some ways. I do admit a lot of the “buildings” did not seem as run-down as they do in the films, when you side-step this and just go “Yeah they probably couldn’t get away with trashing that to make this.” it’s actually feasible and works well. I did like the nod on there to a Jurassic Park website, JPToys.Com, and to JPLegacy in the end credits.

As to the dinosaurs used, herbivores can be dangerous too it was shown and I applaud this usage! The thing is sometimes throwing herbivores into an action sequence can be tricky as you don’t want them to see “out of character”. Some of the sequencing during the action sequences appeared to be cut here and there, but it was still generally done well. One sequence with the Stegosaurus I felt was misplaced was during the films climax for the last action sequence to escape we didn’t see why it was running, but it seemed to be spooked by someone or something. The film though deserves credit for being a good dinosaur romp! I give this portion a B.

So how would I rate this? I give this Three out of Three T.rex Heads:

What is Canon and What Isn’t within The Jurassic Park Franchise?

A few words on creating a Jurassic Park Encyclopedia from Tyrannosaur.

Recently, a lot of questions in a research project regarding the timeline of the franchise came up in the upper-echelons of the staff portion of the board in regards to what’s considered canon and what’s not in the Encyclopedia. One of the greatest things about Jurassic Park is that it actually brings the world from long ago to a more modernized now. True, Jurassic Park doesn’t accurately reflect actual Paleontology. Example, you’d be lucky to find a Deinonychus or other fossil that well preserved in the field. Either Dr. Grant just is psychic or he’s secretly Merlin (see another film that Sam Neill is in known as “Merlin”). The biggest confusing portion of Jurassic Park is honestly the continuity and the common fallacy is the “hybrid it with other variations to make a complete canon” logic. Sometimes this can be done, but other times it hurts the continuity a lot in the end.

So what is essentially considered canon and what is not? It really depends on the universe you choose to meddle with really. Jurassic Park, from what I’ve found, is distinct in how each universe is more or less an alternate, but yet similar reality of one another with no clear intersect point for every universe. It looks like because it’s all different media it would really use different continuity for each “timeline”. Here’s a brief write out I did of how the JP continuity works:

C-Canon – Crichton Canon/Novel Canon. This is the novel canon only. The only reason this exists is due to the novels being the “starting” medium. Considered the Alpha universe as it’s the first one made and therefore the source material. The novels have really no “supplements” to canon is the interesting aspect. Suggestive reason for this is the fact the films are more popular.

S-Canon – Spielberg Canon/Film Canon. This encompasses the films, cast & crew interviews, official media such as Making of Books and other various “movie-oriented” sources. Spielberg Canon is where all the films and their supplements originate from. They are mostly their own beast as they have an entirely different continuity from what is read in the novel. What sources are considered to be film canon, S-Canon. or Spielberg Canon?

1.) The films themselves obviously. Spielberg had ties with all three.

2.) Cutscenes – What this is in regards to is scene remnants or scenes that were originally meant to be included but were cut due to run-time constraints and would have only furthered the story.

In order for a cutscene to be considered canon it must be true for the media to be present of this scene in various places including, but not limited to: Screen capture from cut scene, film clip showing the scene, and lastly audio file. Audio files are suspect and can be forged however, so it would pend review. Examples of this include: Ellie grabbing Leaf, Ellie and Muldoon walking to power shed, extended Grant and kids through park walking, the board room scene, meeting with Roland and Ajay, etc would all be considered within valid canon as reasons for their elimination were not due to continuity, but rather shortening of run-time. While this is disputed and debatable, it is still adhered to in our continuity timelines due to the reasons behind the elimination.

What precludes this clause and makes something uncanon that was cut? If said scene takes place in script, but is shortened or changed during filming then film canon takes priority. Examples of this include: Extended dialog between two or more characters where no screenshot is present, different endings, etc. The rule of thumb is the scripts are not canon for this reason as they attempt to overwrite established continuity and generally even the final revisions of the scripts fit into this category as they are changed at some point during filming.

3.) Supplemental Material this includes The Making of Books, featurettes in the films, making-of documentaries, Interviews from the cast/crew of the film, The props (If it’s seen in the film it’s canon and if it’s not in the film it’s not canon.). Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery art. (Similar to acceptance like the props – if it isn’t exact to the film it is not canon), the Jurassic Park Traveling Exhibits (they basically explain the science in the films, but bring the props to the forefront as well as the movie dinosaurs too), Official Souvenir Magazines (Official Movie Trading cards fall under here, where applicable and so long as this doesn’t override the film), The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park/The Lost World Scrapbook (Published by Scholastic), The Jurassic Park Institute: Dinosaur Field Guide (Some information pertaining to animals referenced in the film) and cold hard paleontological fact (We’re talking dinosaurs here)!

4.) Jurassic Newsletters (Ambiguous canon at best, not very reliable and should be considered last. It is muddled with hybrid novel/film canon; however, the film events, workings, etc can be extracted so long as they do not contradict the finished product seen on screen.) and The Rides (Only events of course referencing the movies, events, animal behavior, or places from the film). The rides are a tricky subject as they are set into a metaverse like the newsletters where with bridging the gap in our world. What can be trusted exactly? The props from the film you see of course, the behavior of the movie dinosaurs, and some of the events from Isla Nublar that is discussed on the rides.

CB-Canon – Comic Book canon, functional continuity that alters the events of the films due to being made off of final script revisions differing enough to not match the film closely.

JN-Canon – Novelette Canon, functional continuity that alters the events of the films due to being made off of final script revisions differing enough to not match the film closely.

U-Canon – Noncanon elements such as games & toys with no functional continuity

That pretty much covers everything on what’s canon, how the universes are, and what’s considered. So how does anybody arrive to these determinations of what canon is when no otherwise “official word” is present other than a few loose words here and there from a few people in charge (e.g, Rick Carter and Michael Crichton specifically)? The fact is canon is never about your personal want nor can it be for personal opinion so much. The fact is that “I want” shouldn’t and doesn’t exist in this unless you have proof and it’s really not a justification point either. It’s almost as annoying as justifying something with “Because.” and nothing more. So what’s this say about us? What did we do? Whenever we say something isn’t canon it’s justified as we cite the reasons why and the specifics behind.

So say you are making a project and you are worried about criticism from us because you fear you don’t fit into canon. Relax! We’re not in the business here to criticize your work and scrutinize it with a harsh eye and a sharp tongue. I personally find fan projects that don’t readily consider continuity fun actually. Now if you decide to ask about how to make your project fit in the continuity, we’ll gladly explain how it would be violating continuity and we even suggest alternatives if you’re open to altering your story. Example, look at Live the Legend we take a lot of creative liberties with it to make it interesting, but we still try to keep the continuity grounded within the original source and at the same time making our own.
Look for part two of this soon when I bore you more on the science behind the dinosaur classifications and why taxonomy with fake dinosaurs can be fun too.

This post was archived from the Jurassic Innards project at Jurassic Legacy (RIP)

Some JP3 Trailer Snapshots

Malcolm from JPDatabase has given me some exclusive snapshots from the new JP3 trailer.

Special thanks to JPDatabase for the pictures! Check JPDatabase out for more pictures!

Johnston & JP4

Malcolm from JPDatabase received a report from Dan’s stating that Joe Johnston has “had his fun” with the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. Anyways, here is the full report

“While Joe has no plans to direct a JP4, he did say Steven Spielberg already has a specific idea in mind for a fourth film. “Steven has a GREAT idea for number four. It’s exactly what the fourth one should be,” Joe said. “It takes the Jurassic Park mythology to a whole new level — Whoever directs it is going to have his hands full.”

I can’t say I’m looking forward to the 4th, but as long as its good who cares right?

JP3 Jr. Novel Review

JP3HQ posted a review of the JP3 novelization. There are some minor spoilers, and they have been blocked out. (Thanks JPDatabase!)

The book is 116 pages long, and includes four pages of pictures (several of which seem to re-occur throughout all of the JP3 books to be released). Our major goal for this review is not to spoil the book/movie for you, but to simply provide a general look at it, so you can decide if it’s worth your $4.99!

First spoiler we’ll give out from the book:The book seems to say that the dinosaurs are surviving on not only Isa Sorna, but Isla Nublar as well, here’s an excerpt – Paleontology, the focus of his [talking about Dr. Grant] entire life, stood on the brink of extinction. Many believed that all dinosaur scientists had to do now was travel to Isla Sorna or Isla Nublar – the two Jurassic Park sites – and study the living dinosaurs there. But Alan knew different.

Most of us know the general plot, but pretty much a wealthy couple (Spoiler: who may not be so wealthy after all) invites Dr. Grant to give them an aerial tour of Isla Sorna, Grant reluctantly accepts, and the action begins soon after. Like many of the actors have said, the action happens almost right away, and continues throughout nearly every page of the book!

Scott Ciencin was a good choice for this Junior Novelization of the movie, as he seems to know what he’s doing – he obviously knows his dinosaurs, and even the correct sizes (the book refers to a few of the Pteranodons and Raptors as ‘Genetically engineered giants’).

As far as dinosaur ‘main characters’ are concerned – the Spinosaurus plays a major role throughout the entire story, the Raptors continue the Jurassic Park tradition of causing havoc the whole way through, and the Pteranodons have a few great scenes that we’re really looking forward to seeing on the big screen. A brief scene from the Novelization starring the Pteranodons:

The Pteranodon jammed its head through the hole, snapping at them. Alan, Paul, and Amanda turned to head the other way. The Pteranodon lifted into the air and came in front of them, lunging through another hole in the mesh, blocking their escape. All along the cliff face, the metal catwalk supports groaned with the strain. Joints creaked, and sections of the catwalk began to sway…

How about the plot? It may not be as revolutionary as the first, but it’ll definitely be entertaining and reasonably ‘realistic.’ We just hope the movie goes into more detail on the inGen dinosaurs (the book mentions that some of the dinosaurs the characters run into weren’t on inGen’s ‘list,’ but never explains how they got there).

All in all, a very entertaining read, especially for any Jurassic Park fan – well worth your $4.99 ($6.99 in Canada) – this should be your first book to pick up on JP3 if you’re looking for the movie story!

Sounds like an interesting buy.