Jurassic World: It’s a world of (s)laughter
When I was little, I was all about dinosaurs. I had a subscription to DINOSAURS! magazine (from which I still have the glow-in-the-dark T-Rex skeleton I had to put together using a few bones that came with each issue). I went to the Royal Tyrrell Museum and was supremely glad to have experts to talk to about the minutia I was worrying about, such as whether Parasaurolophus had a skin sail which connected its head crest to its neck and/or back. It was vitally important for my drawings to be up to date with the scientific understanding of my favourite animals ever.
That was the first time I realized that science was an ongoing process, that we were constantly expanding and refining our understanding of how everything worked, especially the further back in time you go, and that they couldn’t yet tell me with certainty if the parasaurolophus had a skin sail connecting its magnificent head crest to its neck and/or back. I was perplexed; they were the experts, how could they not know. But then- if the experts didn’t know yet, holy smokes there must be so much to learn.
So I grew up and retained my love of all things dinosaur. I created and mod the Dinosaurs subreddit. It’s been great fun to see the community grow as we share our mutual love of all things dinosauria. Heck when that drunken reddit post about Lam(e)beosaurus hit the front page at the beginning of last year it was basically the best thing since sliced pizza.
Last night I went to Jurassic World. I fully intended to be disappointed but prepared to see things that would make me happy. My expectations were low. Things I wanted to see included: 1) dinosaurs, 2) Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle hunting in a pack with velociraptors, 3) the Indominus Rex, and 4) parasaurolophus because they are the best hadrosaur and obviously way better than lam(e)beosaur.
I got to see all of these things and more. Here are some of my likes and dislikes from the film.
How I turned against the familiar theme music
Right off the get go my excitement turned to annoyance at their cavalier use of the much beloved Jurassic Park theme music. They brought it in way too early and it served literally no emotional purpose other than to tug at the viewers’ heartstrings. To me, they were saying “hey remember how magical it was when you first heard this theme? Well here we go again. Oh you’re expecting to see something magical this time around again? Best we can do is an arial flyover of a crowd of people milling around this theme park. Oh maybe how about these characters going into their hotel room.” What a tragically wasted opportunity. To throw away such beloved music on nothing-scenes actually made me angry.
The viewer being inserted into the film as a character
They had a great character that represented the viewer and I wasn’t even annoyed at how obvious they were about it being us. He was the guy in the control room wearing the Jurassic Park t-shirt. Kind of cringy, right? But no, I liked him immediately, and his lines were all spot on. He was us, and they did a great job writing him so that he felt real and added a bit of humour here and there.
The sound design is stellar
When Indominus Rex escapes its paddock and is slowly searching for Chris Pratt, we hear the noise it makes for the first time and it sent a shiver down my spine. There was something strangely human about it, but then there were all sorts of terrifying nuances in the way its breathy growl seeped out through those teeth (so many teeth) that made it seem alien.
They also did a good job of holding off on showing us the entirety of Indominus for quite a while. We got some spikes here, a foot there, which really left me wanted to just see the damn thing already, but in a good way.
Raptors, raptors, raptors
They did a great job of treading a fine line between making the raptors terrifying but also relatable, able to follow commands but also clearly wild animals with hunting instinct. The raptor “Blue” had a nice splash of colour which hopefully we’ll see more of in the future when dinosaurs are portrayed on the big screen. Watching Chris Pratt work with them was pretty killer, and was basically the thing in the trailer that got me on board with this sequel. It delivered.
Reconning the (outdated) look of the dinosaurs
The had a little attempt at retconning the inaccuracies with the appearance of the dinosaurs. As you may know, we know understand that many dinosaurs, including plant eating dinosaurs had feathers. And they had colours! Heck dinosaur eggs just got a nice makeover when these ones were discovered to be blue and green! So why does Jurassic World have naked, boring brown dinosaurs? Wu says that if they had created dinosaurs as they had actually looked they would be very different “but that’s not what you wanted”… Sort of a nice nod to why they’re showing last centuries version of what dinosaurs look like, but also a little lazy. You’d think they’d be transitioning their theme park- you know, the theme park all about displaying animals meant to inspire awe with their appearance- to having more accurate looking animals that would be much more visually compelling. You know, with bright colours, camoflage, display patterns, and feathers? I’m a little disappointed they’re sticking with the outdated model of dinosaur appearance. When when WHEN will we get to see a big screen dino flick with right proper looking dinos? I hope it’s soon because it’d be nice if their images could get a massive update with the general public.
All in all it was massively entertaining. There is a ton to knit-pick and many flaws, but over all I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was just good fun. Dinosaurs: check. Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle hunting in a pack with velociraptors: check. The Indominus Rex: check check check. And finally parasaurolophus: check. Granted they had minor appearances but you could tell they were the best dinosaurs in the park.
If you get a chance to check it out I hope you enjoy it! The discussion in my beautiful subreddit is here if you want to take part.
Thanks for reading.