Jurassic World filming locations: welcome back to Hawaii!
Revisiting a dear childhood experience like Jurassic Park with a sequel – Jurassic World – 22 years later is a rather dreadful exercise full of apprehension. Only now I begin to appreciate how it must have been to grow up with Star Wars in the late 70s/early 80s and be confronted to Star Wars Episode I in 1999.
Jurassic World is the rebranding attempt of the Jurassic Park debacle two decades earlier. The good Dr. John Hammond has passed on the legacy of his dinosaur theme park to Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), another billionaire with god-like ambitions. Since then Jurassic World has flourished into a full grown attraction run like a tight ship by Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). But just like any other public company, Jurassic World is pressured by its shareholders for growth and profit. The solution is Indominus Rex, a genetically modified specie engineered to be bigger and more terrifying than any other dinosaur that has ever lived to attract even more visitors. You can guess the rest: the Indominux Rex escapes, putting mankind on Isla Nubar to the test, this time against unprecedended intelligence and predator skills.
Let’s start by giving praise where praise is due. Jurassic World didn’t skimp on the action and, after a concise introduction, it’s an avalanche of mind-blowing scenes that culminate with a dinosaur battle that is dream come true to anyone who grew up with jurassic toys by her/his bedside. The characters are also quite endearing and it’s a pleasure to discover the massive Jurassic World park through the amazed eyes of a young kid passionnate about dinosaurs. Chris Pratt lost some of his funk from Guardians of the Galaxy but who could blame him when he’s the one who has to deal with the consequences of the mad science that Dr. Ian Malcolm called ‘the rape of the natural world’ in the first opus.
Jurassic World is not without spirit and should not be confused with a spineless blockbuster. Director Colin Trevorrow, taking over from Steven Spielberg, succeeds in instilling his indefinable style, mix of cold humour and faint irony. Under his caustic eyes conspicuous product placements – Starbucks, Samsung, Mercedes, you name it! – turn into a running gag taking a stab at the irresponsible corporate-greed and perverted science embodied in Jurassic World.
But just like Star Wars Episode I struggled to revive the flame of the original George Lucas’ episodes, Jurassic World misses the spot by being enjoyable but never great. Throwing more dinosaurs and action scenes ironically depletes Jurassic World from what propelled Jurassic Park to the pantheon of films: suspense. The more we see dinosaurs on screen in Jurassic World, the less their threatening absence is felt. Jurassic Park was profoundly disturbing because it would strip down any safety net and leave the audience in a powerless state that would awake one’s rawest survival instincts. Only then could we emphasize with the characters and feel what it’s like to be at the bottom of the food chain. The bloodless horror scenes that make Jurassic World almost look like a Disney movie don’t help with the vividness but even then it’s doubtful whether gory shockers would have helped to draw spectators out of their comfort zones.
If scarlet isn’t Jurassic World‘s color, lush green undoubtedly is. Following the footsteps of Jurassic Park, Jurassic World was filmed in the beautiful lanscapes of Hawaii, on the islands of Kauai’i and O’ahu where the legendary Kualoa Ranch is located. Although Jurassic World may not leave you stranded in horror, shook to the core, it’s not for a lack of trying with many scenes filmed at the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans theme park and other thrilling locations in Louisiana like the swamps of Slidell.
Step by step
Isla Nubar (Jurassic Park)
Kualoa Ranch, 49-560 Kamehameha Highway, Ka'a'awa, O'ahu, Hawaii, United States
Located on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu, the Kualoa Ranch consists of 4000 acre (16.18 km²) spread across three valleys: Kaʻaʻawa Valley, Kualoa Valley, & Hakipu'u Valley. The Kualo Ranch offers many touristic activities like a zipline, ATV rides, a jungle expedition, a movie site tour, ocean voyage, horseback riding, and hiking.
Claire: We have learned more in the past year from genetics, than a century of digging up bones! A whole new frontier has opened up! We have our first genetically modified hybrid!
Owen: You just went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea...
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Louisiana co-stars with Hawaii in Jurassic World with many filming locations in New Orleans.
A scientist village was constructed in Six Flags New Orleans especially for the movie. Six Flags is a fascinating location: it was severely damaged after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and had to close down. Since then it never re-opened and became a new type of attraction prised for the haunting atmosphere of its derelict rides. If you like abandoned places as much as we do, check out the The 20 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places on Earth
Masrani: You created a monster!
Henry Wu: Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We're just used to being the cat.
Slidell, Louisiana, United States
The swamp scenes in Jurassic World were filmed in Slidell, Louisiana.
Claire: You can track them by smell or footprints?
Owen: I was with the Navy! Not the Navajo!
Valley on Isla Nubar
Olokele Valley, Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States
Remember the highly suspenseful scene in the original Jurassic Park when Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and the kids climb an electrified fence under the threat that the current may be turned back on at any moment?
It was filmed in the Olokele Valley (or Olokele Canyon) in Hawaii, another filming location that is also featured in Jurassic World.
Masrani: The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control.
Manawaiopuna Falls, Hanapepe Valley, Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States
The Manawaiopuna Falls - nicknamed the Jurassic Falls after Jurassic Park - make another apparition in Jurassic World.
The Manawaiopuna Falls are privately owned so, unfortunately, it's only possible to visit them by helicopter tour.
Claire: Think this will scare the kids?
Masrani: The kids? This will give the parents nightmares.
Manoa Falls, Oahu, Hawaii, United States
The Mānoa Falls are new to the Jurassic universe but their reputation precedes them: they feature an impressive vertical drop of 150 feet (46 meters). The Mānoa Falls are also quite easily accessible with only a 1.5 mi / 2.6 km hike to reach them (about 2 hours with a beautiful landscape made of diverse ecosystems).
Watch your six! Raptors got a new alpha!
Lawai, Kaua'i, Hawaii, United States
Lawai Bay is where the military arrives under the supervision of Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio).
Barry: [regarding the raptors] What do you think? Want to take one home?
Hoskins: Hey, don't joke. When I was your age I rescued a wolf pup. It was like two months old. Could barely walk. Used to sleep by my bed. Watch over me. My wife, she came at me with a steak knife. He took a chunk out of her arm.
Barry: You put him down?
Hoskins: Hell no.