Jurassic World

Inciting Event: Park director Claire takes park owner Mr. Masrani to the paddock of the Indominus Rex to update him their progress with their first genetically engineered hybrid. This moment doesn’t so much engage the characters with the main conflict, as it does the viewers. Claire and Mr. Masrani are already familiar with the Indominus, so this isn’t the strongest Call to Adventure you’re ever going to see.

However, it does do a good job emphasizing the potential and increasing danger of the conflict by showing that the Indominus has tried to break out through the glass. It also moves the plot forward by inspiring Mr. Masrani to insist that Claire ask raptor trainer Owen for his advice in strengthening the paddock. At the end of the day, it definitely fulfills its most important job, which is introducing the main conflict via the main antagonist.

First Plot Point: During Owen and Claire’s visit to the paddock, the Indominus hides its thermal signature and fools them into thinking she escaped. While Claire races back to the control center, Owen and the guards enter the paddock—only to realize the Indominus is still there. They barely make it out with their lives, and the dinosaur escapes for real. This is a huge turning point. The safe Normal World of the in-control theme park now enters the rapidly spiraling chaos of the out-of-control Second Act.

First Pinch Point: Claire’s nephews take their gyrosphere off-road, even through all the rides have been recalled. They encounter the roaming Indominus, and must flee for their lives. This turning point both emphasizes the personal stakes for Claire and, in so doing, steers the plot around to its primary focus for her and Owen: finding and protecting the kids.

Midpoint: Mr. Masrani pilots a helicopter gun crew in an attempt to kill the Indominus. He crashes into the aviary and looses the Pterodactyls on the tourists. This is a crucial turning point in several respects, since not only does it finally tip the balance and endanger everyone on the island, it also removes him from command.

Second Pinch Point: InGen officer Hoskins takes over the control room and orders Owen to use his (barely) trained raptors to attack the Indominus. Even though Owen feels this is a horrible idea, he moves forward to take action. It’s interesting to note that even though he is essentially acting under duress here, he is still moving forward and taking action, just as he should be in the Second Half of the Second Act.

Although this is definitely a strong turning point, it’s not a great Pinch Point, since its emphasis is primarily upon Hoskins, who even though he is ultimately as cross-purposes with the protagonists, is still working with them toward their joint goal.

Third Plot Point: Owen and his raptors find the Indominus—only to have the Indominus communicate with the raptors and take over as the new alpha of the pack. Owen realizes the Indominus is part raptor. As the raptors then turn on him, he and Claire and her nephews must all flee. Again, not the strongest Third Plot Point ever. In fact, I initially missed it altogether as the Third Plot Point and counted it as the Second Pinch Point instead. It’s certainly a moment of defeat, but it could have been much stronger.

Climax: The Indominus reaches the main park complex, where all the tourists are trying to evacuate. The raptors return to Owen, but the Indominus kills most of them. Claire looses the T-Rex, who does battle with the Indominus.

Climactic Moment: The T-Rex, the only surviving raptor, and the sea dinosaur all combine forces to kill the Indominus. Claire, Owen, and the boys escape.

Resolution: Claire’s sister and brother-in-law arrive to pick up the boys. Claire and Owen decide to “stick together” in the future.

Notes: It’s always a little dicey plotting structure when watching a movie in the theater. Not only do I lack the foresight of having seen the film previously, but I’m also unable to predict the timing of the major plot points by watching the clock. The second half of this movie surprised me. As I said, I originally identified the raptors’ betrayal of Owen as the Second Pinch Point—and was still on the watch for the Third Plot Point by the time the Climax arrived. In hindsight, I picked out Hoskins’s takeover as the Second Pinch Point. But it’s possible a second viewing might help me refine all of this—so use your own judgment in identifying these structural moments.

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