When you think about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the term "monster movie" certainly comes to mind. The Indoraptor is such a terrifying character that you wouldn't be mistaken for feeling as if its stalking of human prey through a gothic mansion is something straight out of the Universal Monsters playbook, and visually, that's extremely accurate. But in the opinion of director J.A. Bayona, the story isn't about a monster, so much as it's about an animal that's not having it's best day. Bayona explained this further to CinemaBlend during a recent press day, elaborating:
We don't talk about monsters when we do Jurassic movies. We talk about animals, and what I think is interesting about the Indoraptor is it's a prototype that went wrong. So it's not functioning the way it should be. But at the same time, it's a being that you can develop some kind of empathy, if you want to say it like that. You can tell, there's a moment that I asked Bryce [Dallas Howard], after she shoots the laser gun, and we see the dinosaur dying, the Indoraptor dying, there's somehow a feeling of sadness about the Indoraptor dying on her face, because I really wanted to feel about the Indoraptor, too. For me, even though you can think about this movie as a monster movie, there are no monsters. There are just creations that we made genetically.
This discussion was prompted by a question we asked J.A. Bayona during Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's recent home video press day, as I was curious if he felt that the Indoraptor was an inherently evil creation. It's an interpretation that could definitely work on the surface, as there's definitely an adversarial quality to the creature's behavior. But looking deeper into the makeup of the film's story, and the inspiration drawn from Frankenstein's creation, you see how the malfunctioning Indoraptor is more of a victim to its faulty genetic programming rather than a dinosaur with an agenda of malice.
As the rest of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom sees the human figures acting as the true villains, with their intent on selling the dinosaurs for profit and personal gain taking up a good part of the film's story, we ultimately see the dinosaurs in a light so different than the previous Jurassic films have allowed. Through that lens, we get some of the most emotional, character-driven moments we've ever seen involving dinosaurs, from the introduction of Blue and her Velociraptor sisters as likable versions of a dinosaur once made out to be the ultimate hunter to the sad final appearance of the first Brachiosaurus we'd ever seen in the series. This all culminates in the ultimate statement of humanity's folly in creating these creatures, as the Indoraptor is a fearsome creature by design, but can still be pitied in its existence.
Ultimately, J.A. Bayona's treatment of the Indoraptor storyline in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is one of the reasons the film stands as a superior entry in the series' canon. Visually, he gives us what he feels is the dragon stalking the princess through the castle grounds, trying to get into her bedroom to gobble her up. Thematically though, he's able to show us that much like any creature that exists, be it in real life or in our outlandish imaginations, it's doing what its nature dictates that it should do. It's not personal, it's just the natural order for the Indoraptor, a creature bred for combat, and nothing else, which is ultimately why it has to be put down.
You can take a look at our discussion with J.A. Bayona, in the clip from our interview below: