Mild SPOILERS for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom overcorrects the problem with Claire’s high heels in Jurassic World, making the film series’ shoe issue even worse. In 2015, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World revived the Jurassic Park franchise with a new installment that was a direct sequel to the original, and ignored the continuity of The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. After Jurassic World earned more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, Trevorrow’s plans for a new dino-focused trilogy became closer to a reality. Now, the middle chapter of the Jurassic World trilogy is here as J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theaters.
Fallen Kingdom continues the stories of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) – but it also picks up one particular thread from Jurassic World. In the wake of Jurassic World’s release, the film was criticized for featuring Claire wearing high heels throughout, including when she’s running from a T-Rex. It became such a big talking point that Howard responded to Claire’s heels in Jurassic World, explaining it was a character choice. Still, Claire’s heels were a sticking point for many viewers, and the filmmakers made a point of addressing the issue in Fallen Kingdom – but they overcorrected a bit.
Now that the film is out, we know Fallen Kingdom makes it a point to focus the camera on what kind of shoes Claire is wearing on three separate occasions. Twice, Claire is depicted wearing high heels – once when entering the office of the Dinosaur Protection Group, then again for her meeting at the Lockwood Estate. When Claire arrives on Isla Nublar to help rescue the dinosaurs, the camera once again focuses in on her shoes, and this time she’s wearing flat-heeled boots.
Undoubtedly, all three shots are meant to address the concerns that viewers had after Jurassic World. It didn’t make very much sense for Claire to run in heels in Jurassic World, and Fallen Kingdom clearly wants to showcase that the filmmakers learned from the first film. However, three distinct shots of Claire’s shoes is an overcorrection from Jurassic World. Once is cheeky, twice is starting to wear out the joke, three is overkill. Further, since the shots often start at Claire’s shoes and pan up her body, they border on leering, though the use of the male gaze in film is a separate issue.
Still, Howard has been adamant that Claire’s choice of shoes is key to her character in the Jurassic World series. Certainly, it makes sense for Claire to wear heels to work in an office and for a meeting, then change into boots when heading to the wild terrain of Isla Nublar. However, it’s Fallen Kingdom’s attention to Claire’s shoes that goes eye-rollingly far. Three distinct closeup shots of Claire’s choice of footwear is unnecessary. Viewers who knew about the debate following Jurassic World would get the joke in the first shoe shot, and definitely by the second scene that opens on her feet. Including a third is an overcorrection that draws too much attention to whether Claire is wearing heels or not. Essentially, in trying to fix the problem from Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom makes it even worse – not better.
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