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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Jurassic World

Here we go again, with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about the many movies I own.  What can I say?  Blogging about them gives me some justification for owning so many.  Anywho, after doing The Lost World: Jurassic Park last time, I browsed through my notes and figured, "Hey!  Let's skip ahead to October 25, 2015 and do Jurassic World."  So, here we are.

Jurassic World is the Jurassic Park sequel I've wanted since 1993.  I mean, we had The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, but none of those films couldn't figure out what new to do with the premise.  It was just more stranded people on an island full of dinosaurs.  But Jurassic World finally does something new, and it's so ridiculously simple:  what if we learned from our mistakes and the entire dinosaur theme park/zoo actually opened?

Granted, this winds up just adding more people to the mix when all hell breaks loose and the dinosaurs get out.  But then, they start adding more.

OK, when cloning the dinosaurs, they spliced in frog DNA to fill in the gaps.  Well, how hard would it be to splice in more DNA?  From other animals?  And thus, our main villain, the genetic hybrid Indominous Rex.  It can camouflage, it's intelligent, it's bigger and meaner, all thanks to the proprietary blend of DNA that creates it. 

And what if people start seeing other applications for dinosaurs?  Hence our shadowy side project to train velociraptors for military use.  In fact, seeing as to how that reminded me of the Alien franchise and the shadowy hope that the aliens could become living weapons, I came to the realization that Jurassic World is the Aliens to Jurassic Park's Alien:  turn down the suspense, and ramp up the action.  "This time, it's war." 

I remember, after seeing the first film all those years ago, I devoured Michael Crichton's sequel The Lost World as soon as it was published, and thus I was quite disappointed when the film ignored whole chunks of the novel.  But, some parts creep back into Jurassic World.  Like when we've got Owen riding his dirt bike, surrounded by a pack of raptors.  THAT'S IN THE LOST WORLD NOVEL!  One of my favourite parts, too, so I was glad to finally see it on the big screen.  Or the concept of how much dinosaur -- and, in fact, animal -- behaviour is learned from their parents, and how these new dinosaurs are doomed to die because the only ones who can teach that behaviour went extinct millions of years ago.  Part of the explanation for how the I-Rex is a psychotic dinosaur is the fact that it's raised in captivity and is the only one of its kind...thus it has no learned behaviour.  I loved seeing all this stuff finally explored on the big screen.

Granted, though, our characters are rather cliche.  Our protagonists are Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard).  He's the ex-Navy SEAL who's training the raptors, and become the take-charge guy when all hell breaks loose.  She's the park's GM, who tries to keep control when all hell breaks loose.  She's the uptight business lady, he's the earthy, rough-and-tumble sort, and they bicker their way into each other's hearts.  It's a classic rom-com coupling. 

And, as one review pointed out in the summer, it's the Jurassic Park formula that there's gotta be some kids to rescue from the dinosaurs.  Enter Claire's nephews, who are visiting, while their parents stay back home in the USA and get their divorce on the go.  I kinda didn't like that.  The whole divorce aspect seemed like forced character development for the kids. 

And the original Jurassic Park is old enough now that we can prey upon nostalgia.  When the kids take refuge in the ruins of the original Jurassic Park, that was easily as big a moment for me this past summer at the movies as Vision lifting Thor's hammer in Avengers

And Michael Giacchino's score!  He does a great John Williams sound-a-like for his music.  Not only did he reuse Williams Jurassic Park themes, I noticed a brief use of the main theme from the Lost World for the raptors.  Fun trivia fact:  Giacchino's very first professional credit was the video game adaptation of The Lost World.  Apparently, he did slip some of his Lost World video game themes into the film.

I had a great time with Jurassic World, and I gladly include it in the canon. 

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