Hey all. I thought I might give an update since it's been a while. I'm back home right now, on Thanksgiving break, finishing up the Monsters in Training comic. It should be complete by the end of the week... hallelujah. I'd be lying if I said I was proud of it, but at this point I'm just happy it'll all be over. The year-long process of developing it has taught me a lot of interesting (but very discouraging) things about myself and the "art" I make. Let's just say I'm not looking forward to graduation anymore and hastily move on, alright?
The real topic right now is Jurassic World. The trailer hit three days early and as expected it's generating a lot of talk. For the most part, not the talk I'd imagined, actually. People are more open to the premise than I was expecting, and more critical of the (pretty standard looking and probably not even finished) CGI. The one standard is a sizeable portion of the paleo crowd crying out against the way the dinosaurs are being portrayed. To an extent I get where they're coming from, frustrated at the lack of accurate dinosaurs in Hollywood, but anyone expecting that sort of thing from the Jurassic series need only look back to the line from JP3:
"Dinosaurs lived sixty five million years ago. What is left of them is fossilized in the rocks, and it is in the rock that real scientists make real discoveries! What John Hammond and InGen did at Jurassic Park is create genetically engineered theme park monsters! Nothing more and nothing less."
Also... to be totally fair, if you're expecting realistic anything from Hollywood you're gonna have a bad time.
That being said... haha. There is still such a thing as suspension of disbelief, and I think that's where this film is feeling weak. I'm not sure what's harder to believe: that anybody would actually go to the grand opening of Jurassic Park after what happened in the last three films, that people would get bored of seeing live dinosaurs (in what, like 10, 20 years?), or that anybody really thought it'd be a good idea to make the first manmade* attraction the deadliest thing they could possibly imagine.
*Kind of splitting hairs here, but technically aren't ALL of the JP dinosaurs "genetically modified hybrids"?
None of that is film-breaking, though. More like things to poke fun at MST3K style. There's really just two things that are seriously bothering me. The first is that Chris Pratt wasn't too great in that trailer. Really wooden and uninterested- maybe this wasn't the best role for him? I don't know. He definitely had some bad lines and it didn't set a great tone for the film. I think this might've been the dinosaur they were cooking up in that lab, friend: cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/ste…
But all joking aside, if that's a sign of what's to come then I'm concerned. It's not like every single performance was flawless in the other films, but the first two had very memorable, fun characters and were all around very quotable. The original JP still holds up great in 2014 and that's not just because of the effects. I was there for Neill, Goldblum, and Attenborough as much as I was for the raptors and rex. If World is putting CG spectacle before heart and depth and giving us hokey cardboard characters then it's already lost any chance it might've had of being a decent sequel. Hopefully I'm dead wrong, but that's my first impression.
My other problem is the tame dinosaurs. Part of me is going WOOOO RULE OF COOL, and the other is just rubbing its temples trying to decide if this is actually better or worse than the insanity from the scrapped JP4 scripts. As awesome as the idea of heroic theropods is, it really does go against the theme of the whole series. Man shouldn't try to play God... unless he's done it four times, apparently, because then that'll be his salvation. Shouldn't the solution to the Diabolus problem have something to do with us atoning for what we've done, learning from our past mistakes and somehow reversing them? Instead this movie's already like "nah, just keep doin what you're doin and two wrongs will make a right eventually". It totally undermines what the last three films were trying to say and negates any lessons we might've learned. Even if it does look cool when it comes on screen, it's still kind of a disrespectful direction to take the series in, IMO.
Plus, how easy will it really be to root for raptors? I love em and all, but we spent two novels, three films, a comic book series, and multiple video games establishing the hell out of them as cold, ruthless, hyper-intelligent killing machines. Even if they really could be tamed, would anybody trust them? I feel like I'm just gonna get flashbacks of them disemboweling people every time they try to play them up as heroic. The tamed T. rex might fare a smidge better since one was (accidentally) heroic in the first film, but still, this applies to any and all dinos they might try to do this with. These are the exact same creatures that we saw: terrorizing children, mauling a little girl, slowly picking a man apart in a hungry swarm, devouring dozens of people, ripping a man in half, stomping a man flat, rampaging through a city, prolonging a man's suffering to use him as live bait, and swallowing a beloved family pet whole. It's going to take more than a shot of them running with Chris Pratt to make me think of them as friendly.
With all that out of the way... I have to admit, I do want to see Jurassic World. I've got my fair share of reservations as you can see, but it still looks better than I was expecting. I'm also a sucker for almost anything this series does and it was a huge part of my childhood, so even if it looked terrible I'd still feel obliged to go see it. I think this is gonna be stupid, but a lot of fun. Probably better than JP3 at least, which is all I can ask for.
I'm also interested to see what other creatures make it into the film. Will we actually see everything that was on that viral brochure? It'd be pretty neat to finally get a glimpse at their Metriacanthosaurus after all this time. Suchomimus is the one I'm counting on seeing though, there's a prop skeleton of what I assume to be their version of it and it's featured twice on their website, with one of those instances being on the main page. Foreshadowing, perhaps? Their site also mentions drilling in Siberia for DNA from ice age creatures. I'm not sure if that's hinting that we might see mammoths or saber cats in this movie or if it's setting up for JP5. Interesting, though- it was only a matter of time before they started branching out, like they've begun doing with the Mosasaur (which looked AWESOME, by the way. Nice touch keeping the pharyngeal teeth!). I'm not expecting any other marine creatures to go along with that, but it would be fun to see their take on an Elasmosaurus or something.
Last but not least, my silliest of hopes is that the Diabolus rex from this film becomes a new mainstay for the video games and toylines and kickstarts the return of... CHAOS EFFECT!