Jurassic World

I love dinosaurs. Always have, since I was little. I was a bit too young when the first Jurassic Park came out to see it in theaters, so you might think I'd be excited to see Jurassic World. Well... Most of it was okay. Didn’t want to turn it off in the middle. Much like The Force Awakens, Jurassic World winks and nods at the first movie, which you all liked so much, didn’t you?

But there were things about Jurassic World that I really didn’t like. I don’t think the characters really deserved the happy ending they got. Isn’t Claire, who’s in charge of running the park, still responsible for the deaths of dozens of people? And sure, Owen was a kind and gentle ruler of his raptors deinonychuses[ref]I refuse to call them velociraptors. They don’t look remotely like velociraptors. Way too big- velociraptor was maybe knee-high.[/ref][ref]And they should’ve had feathers.[/ref], but did he speak up on behalf of any of the other animals in the park?

There were some narrative issues that bugged me, too. Normally I don’t mind when a movie skips over a familiar story beat that we’re already familiar with. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does this a lot, as film theorist David Bordwell describes here. If someone comes to George Smiley’s house with urgent information, there’s no need to have a scene at the door:

Guillem: Good evening, sir. I have urgent information for you. Come with me at once. The game’s afoot.

Smiley: Right-o! I’ll just grab my hat.

Instead, just show George watching television when he hears a KNOCK at the door. CUT TO:

Smiley and Guillem driving along in an adorable little car in the dead of night.

Jurassic-World-Poster-OfficialYou can save a lot of time this way. But every time we’re due for a moment with Zara, Claire’s assistant who’s supposed to be watching The Nephews, we just skip over it to get to something else.

I’d bet that these scenes were in the script, and probably even shot, too, before eventually being cut for time. The result, though, is that Zara essentially gets reduced to another face in the crowd. This wouldn’t be all that terrible, EXCEPT-

Zara gets the most protracted, torturous, Mesozoic attack sequence in the movie. It’s the kind of emphasis deserves to go to a character with more narrative weight. Preferably one we don’t like too much.

Like Vincent D’Onofrio’s Hoskins. Whose own deinonychus disembowelment was a little anticlimactic.[ref]It just appeared out of nowhere! Where’s the suspense?[/ref]

One of the things that made the first Jurassic Park exceptional was that it made use of all the latest discoveries in paleontology, especially in how dinosaurs moved and behaved. It was the apotheosis of the Dinosaur Renaissance.[ref]This was a period starting in the late 1960s where paleontologists like John Ostrom shifted the image of dinosaurs away from giant, lumbering, behemoths and toward the active, animalistic animals we know them as.[/ref]

Jurassic World doesn’t try to show new ideas like feathered theropods- T. rex, deinonychus, and probably even I. rex should’ve all been covered in feathers. There is even  a line to suggest the park operators wanted the dinosaurs to conform to how people thought of them, not what they actually would’ve looked like back in the day.

This is an interesting idea. But it’s just a line. You might mull it over for a second, but then-

Blue? Is that you? What are you doing there? Whose team are you on at the moment? Mine, right?

I totally get the desire to show a fully operational dinosaur theme park. But to me, most of the interesting ideas that come from this premise, such as, “Should we actually be doing this???” are best explored at the beginning of the process, when the dinosaurs are first being created. Which we never get to see.

This means that by the time we get to the question, it’s already been answered. And the answer is always, “Yes.”