Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is about dinosaurs from 65 million years ago, but it’s also, apparently, about the 2016 presidential election, which we’re going to relive every day until we too go extinct. The new Jurassic World sequel contains several jokes at President Donald Trump’s expense, but they’re both jarring and seem to lack much of a point.
There are spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in this post.
The most overt reference to Trump comes early in the film, when Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) travel to the ruins of the park in what they think is a rescue mission. However, it turns out that they’ve been tricked, as the mercenaries — led by Ted Levine’s gruff gun-for-hire Ken Wheatley — are planning on selling the dinosaurs, rather than saving them from an exploding volcano for purely humanitarian reasons.
Blue, the raptor from the first movie, is essential to the plan, which is why Wheatley leaves Owen for dead but spares Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), as he needs the hostage paleoveterinarian to keep the wounded velociraptor alive. Zia gives her captor lots of attitude, prompting Wheatley to mutter that she’s a “nasty woman.”
If you fell from your roof while cleaning the gutters and hit your head, erasing your memory of the past couple years, then congratulations. Otherwise, you’ll likely remember that Trump called presidential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “such a nasty woman” during the final presidential debate after Clinton insinuated that Trump would attempt to get out of a proposed raise on taxes on the wealthy, as he is wont to do. It was a memorable and controversial moment in the campaign, and many left-leaning women have embraced and reclaimed Trump’s tellingly misogynistic diss.
Why did Wheatley quote Trump? Is he a #MAGA mercenary? More likely, the film’s writers just put the words in his mouth as a winking nod to the real world, saying “look, he’s a bad guy,” as if the fact that he pulled a gun on our heroes wasn’t already enough. It’s a weird moment; for Trump fans, it’s an irritating attack on their fearless leader, while opponents might lament that the references to the orange fellow in the Oval Office upset whatever escapism they were hoping for when they sat down to watch a blockbuster movie. There are also people who think simply having “#resistance” in their Twitter bio makes them true patriots. They’ll probably laugh at this “epic Trump takedown,” but it’s a similarly empty, unproductive gesture at best.
It’s not the only anti-Trump moment in Fallen Kingdom, though it’s certainly the most overt. Toby Jones plays Gunnar Eversol, a black market auctioneer who sells illicit dinosaurs to Russian buyers and who sports a floppy, straw-colored mess of hair, not unlike a certain politician. Rafe Spall’s Eli Mills comes across as a sniveling, two-faced Jared Kushner archetype, though that could admittedly be unintentional.
Audience mileage may vary on how effective, enjoyable, or distracting these Trump shout-outs are in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. What’s easier to agree on is that they are not subtle. There’s an inorganic nature to them.
Having said that, “Fallen Kingdom” would probably make for a good title for a movie about the Tump era one day.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is now in theaters.