Jurassic World — both the movie and the fictional theme park — is populated by terrifying new creatures, state-of-the-art special effects, and plenty of jaw-dropping moments. It’s also jam-packed with clever callbacks to previous Jurassic films. We spotted quite a few, and here’s a list of what we caught. Sound off in the comments with anything we missed.
Warning: There are plenty of spoilers in the text below.
That entrance to Jurassic World looks awfully familiar.
Before embarking to Jurassic World, mom Karen (Judy Greer) tells her sons Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) to be sure to answer the cellphone when she calls by “pushing the green button.” That’s an homage to the scene in Jurassic Park when John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) tells Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) to restore power to the park by pushing the “round, green button.”
As the kids cruise through the park on the monorail, they spot a safari truck surrounded by a gaggle of galloping Gallimimus. These are the same species of ostrich-like dinos that “flocked this way” and nearly trampled Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and the kids in Jurassic Park. Considering the premise of the film is that Jurassic World was rebuilt on Isla Nublar, these critters are related to (if not survivors from) that original herd.
On the park’s Main Street we see a skeleton of a Spinosaurus, which was the Big Bad of Jurassic Park III. (Later in the movie, the Tyrannosaurus rex smashes the skeleton, getting a measure of revenge for her cousin.)
Situated right behind the Spinosaurus is Winston’s Steak House. The thoroughfare is teeming with real eateries that presumably paid for such prime cinematic real estate, including Starbucks, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritavilla, Nobu, and a Ben and Jerry’s featuring Fossil Fuel flavor ice cream. But Winston’s is a nod to the late, legendary FX creator Stan Winston, who won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for the original Jurassic Park.
While his Margaritaville restaurant is easy to spot on the park’s main street, Jimmy Buffett himself makes a cameo in the film during the Pteranodon attack, rescuing a couple of margaritas. (He’s also featured hamming it up with customers in a video on JurassicWorld.com.)
Mr. DNA, who served a key expository role in Jurassic Park, makes a cameo in the signage for Jurassic World.
Speaking of the signage, this one is priceless:
While John Hammond is no longer with us (Richard Attenborough, who portrayed him in the first two Jurassic films, died in 2014), his presence is still felt at Jurassic World. A Walt Disney-esque statue of Hammond, wielding his amber-tipped cane, lords over the new park’s Innovation Center and images of the InGen founder are scattered throughout.
One of the neatest features in the Innovation Center is the “Holoscape,” which projects life-sized holograms on the floor of the room. During a chase at the end of the film, a raptor is momentarily distracted by a Dilophosaurus that is the spitting image of the frilled, venom-spewing dino that took out Wayne Knight’s treacherous Nedry in Jurassic Park.
The only actor to return from Jurassic Park is B.D. Wong, who plays Dr. Henry Wu, the geneticist who is able to extract dino DNA from mosquitos preserved in amber and turn those into flesh-and-blood killing machines. (Wu and Hammond were memorably scolded by Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm in the “life finds a way” speech.) Now Wu runs the Creation Lab, which is lousy with amber.
There’s a lazy river in Jurassic World where kayakers can get up close and personal with towering sauropods and Stegosaurus — reminiscent of the boat scene in Jurassic Park 3, which passes by similar creatures.
While Indominus rex gets the majority of screen time, our vote for favorite new Jurassic franchise creature goes to the Mosasaurus. As we noted when the first trailer came out, the ginormous aquatic reptile that makes sushi out of a great white shark — a wink to original Jurassic Park director and Jurassic World producer Steven Spielberg who freaked out moviegoers 40 summers ago with Jaws. His marine monster is no match for the Mosasaurus.
The Gyrosphere that Zach and Gray ride in has plenty in common with Universal Studios’ signature tram ride — notably long lines and Jimmy Fallon as the tour guide. Universal has released all the Jurassic films, including World, and counts the Jurassic Park attraction as one the most popular at its theme parks. (Producer Frank Marshall even hinted that the Gyrospheres themselves might one day become a park attraction.)
Watch a video about the best ‘Jurassic Park’ dinosaur kills:
The conclusion of the boys’ ill-fated Gyrosphere ride, with the Indominus rex smashing through the glass, also echoes the ill-fated Jurassic Park tour when the T. rex smashes through the moonroof of the SUV that Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) are sitting in.
The film’s primary dino antagonist, the Indominus rex is a mashup of several species, and she has scenes in the film that echo moments with her predecessors. Notably, when we first meet her in her paddock, we only see a cold, blinking eye hidden in the trees — not unlike the stealthy alpha raptor from Jurassic Park, better known as “Clever Girl,” after she and her gang outwit the park’s game warden Muldoon.
Later, Indominus tries to sniff out Owen (Chris Pratt) as he hides under a truck — a tactic employed by the supposedly vision-impaired Tyrannosaurs (which is actually a scientific inaccuracy) in in both Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Later in the scene, Pratt is splayed against the side of the truck to avoid Indominus, just like Tim hiding from the raptors in the kitchen scene in Jurassic Park.
When the drops of blood fall on Hamada’s arm from the Indominus above, one rolls one way and the second rolls the other way. Chaos theory.
After the boys manage to elude the Indominus, they find themselves in the dilapidated remains of the original park’s visitor center. Under some detritus, older bro Zach finds the tattered “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” banner that fluttered so cinematically at the closing moments of Jurassic Park. He proceeds to turn it into a torch and is transfixed by the old raptor mural.
Also in the ruins: Zach and Gray stumble upon a stash of flares (more on that below) and night-vision goggles that fans will remember from Jurassic Park.
The boys eventually make their escape in a Jurassic Park jeep No. 29, the same vehicle John Hammond rides in at the beginning of the first film.
As Owen and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) assess the swath of death left in the wake of Indominus, they come across a wounded Apatosaurus. They try to comfort the dying creature, tenderly rubbing it in the same manner that Alan and Ellie tended to the ailing Triceratops in Jurassic Park.
Mathematician and chaos theoretician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) might be MIA from Jurassic World, but his spiritual son could easily be lovable dork Lowery (Jake Johnson) — the park’s one tech who’s not afraid to go off-script and surround his workstation with an army of plastic prehistoric beasties. When chastised by Claire for his “chaotic” desk, Lowery offers a very Malcolm-like response: “I like to think there is just enough stability to keep it from collapsing into anarchy.” There was an Easter egg on JurassicWorld.com that featured a copy of Malcolm’s book, God Creates Dinosaurs; in the film, you can see the back cover of the book on Lowery’s desk.
One of Spielberg’s seminal shots in Jurassic Park came as the jeep was being chased by the Tyrannosaur and the camera captured the dino in a rearview mirror imprinted with the warning “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” At least twice in Jurassic World, characters gaze into their rearview to see approaching dinosaurs, with the most obvious instance coming towards the end when Claire is being pursued by raptors. However, her armored truck does not appear to have the disclaiming text.
During that pursuit, one of the raptors attempts to get into the back of the truck. Gray and Zach try to figure out how to make their stun gun work and have a conversation mirroring the “Turn it on!”/“I don’t know how!” exchange that Lex and Tim have with the flashlight in the original when the T. rex approaches them in the SUV.
It’s not crystal clear in the context of the movie, but both director Colin Trevorrow and the official site, JurassicWorld.com, confirm that the T. rex residing in Jurassic World is the same battle-tested dino from the original Jurassic Park now 25 years older — observant moviegoers may be able to spot the raptor scars from that movie’s climactic clash.
One thing that hasn’t changed in two-plus decades: The T. rex still has an appetite for fresh goat.
As in the first movie, the T. rex responds well to flares. Claire lures the towering therapod out of its enclosure using the tried-and-true method that Dr. Grant and Ian Malcolm used in Jurassic Park to get the creature away from the kids.
Let us know if there are any we missed!
—GIFs by Imma Zimma
(All movie images courtesy of Universal Studios; Stan Winston photograph courtesy of Stan Winston School of Character Arts; Walt Disney statute courtesy of Disneyland.)
Watch a video about how Steven Spielberg helped create a terrifying Indominus Rex scene in ‘Jurassic World:’