There is a moment in the hit classic Jurassic Park towards the opening of the film where our protagonists, the archaeologists Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler, are introduced in fairly character defining ways that are both realistic and stereotypical. Each of them display a sense of charm and passion for the love of dinosaurs yet have their flaws immediately put on display, motivating the audience to understand why they are in their scientific field in the first place: the stereotype being that scientists have poor social skills and Sam Neils character being terrible with children.
The story progresses obviously to fix these character tropes and to make them seem more relatable for the sake of entertainment and comfortability. A family dynamic forms between the unrelated character in this moment of extreme peril, hoping to possible teach the audience what an appropriate action would be in the insane moment that dangerous dinosaurs should be let loose.
Jurassic World: A Franchise
The newest installment in Jurassic World (a franchise that never should have been a franchise) takes us on a nostalgic trip to replicate that same dynamic that the first film had. The first film was a progressive enough movie that touched of controversial or polarizing topics such as gender role, genome experimentation, moral dilemmas of science. There is exactly more of the same found in the conversations of Jurassic world that almost didn’t seem like it needed to be said. The obvious question being, why the hell would they open up another Jurassic park in the first place? Especially after the three previous films clearly showed us not to do that!
But being Hollywood and needing to generate money off an established franchise, of course another sequel had to be in the works. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sequel, but in order to make a good sequel, there needs to be a defining scene of originality that doesn’t just give us more of the same. Action is action, and I’m not going to lie, seeing dinosaur CG action is super entertaining. But I remember when there was a purpose behind the action rather than just getting straight to the point the way Jurassic World opens up.
The second half of Jurassic World actually is much better than the first half. I found myself asking if the studio executives just wanted a straight copy of the same dynamics that made the first movie so popular. It’s perfectly fine to want to capture that same feeling that worked in Steven Speilberg’s version, but using the same idea of two kids with a randomly romantic coupling of the parks director and trainer (did they really need to give Chris Pratt‘s character the same identical outfit of Dr. Grant?) is a little too close to copying. I found it taking away from the realism of the film and thinking about the production of the movie rather than investing my imagination.
I did mostly enjoy the movie overall, mostly thanks to Chris Pratt’s don’t-care-what-business-thinks attitude and Bryce Dallas Howard’s acting, but the reality of the story raised the stakes to heights that weren’t as simple or realistic as they should have been. There were too many characters put in the story as plot points or the replicate past characters (Nick Johnson as a fake Newman???) But of course, entertainment isn’t supposed to be realistic, it’s just a movie! Still, I signed up for dinosaur action, and it didn’t disappoint in that regard, so they got something right.