One of the major criticisms of Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World is the fact that there’s actually lots of stupidity. But what about the shining example that is the beloved peak Spielberg original, Jurassic Park? Didn’t that have a whole lot of stupidity as well? Let’s take a look at a Jurassic list of dumb and discuss why we’re able to accept it in one of the movies, but not in the other one. Disclaimer: I think Jurassic Park is one of the best movies ever. Jurassic World has none of Park’s sense of wonder, thrill, or elegance, but it’s highly entertaining! Really liked it.
(MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD)
– when Claire’s nephews choose to leave the official area, they just ignore the alarm and the creepy giant claw marks around the broken fence. Someone’s obviously ready to get eaten
– gladly, the JP kids are more intelligent. Right? Take Lex for example. She attracts the T. rex during its initial escape by activating and shaking the flashlight like crazy. Who wouldn’t do that?
– why can’t the control room remote-control the gyrospheres? You know, in case teenagers (main target audience) don’t adhere to the rules and just go for it?
– can a gyrosphere withstand the full 70 tons an Apatosaurus weighs? They may rarely fall over, but even a simple footstep of such a giant should have a weight of at least 15 tons. And I don’t wanna know what happens if an Ankylosaurus or Stegosaurus decides to swing his tail at it. You know, it’s just that kind of tail that breaks Tyrannosaurs like toothpicks
– why is the barricade at the Mosasaurus so low that it can easily jump up there and grab stuff (like dinosaurs, or people)?
– why does the security team only use cattle prods? Did they ever test that on a +20 tons animal?
– the Indominus has an implant that creates major pain the moment it tries to leave its area. Did they ever test that?
– why can visitors leave the cars during the ride? All of the predators are fenced in, yeah, but you don’t really want your guests to touch the 10.000 volt electric fences, right?
– why can visitors roll down their car windows? You know there’s a venom spitting species of dinosaurs?
– you actually guard your billion dollars worth of dinosaur DNA behind a locked door with a single camera aimed at it?
– why do you create pens in a way that dinosaurs can be completely out of sight? Imagine travelling the world only to see trees. That’s an unimaginable bummer
HAPPY BREEDING TIME
– why didn’t they ever notice that the I. rex is capable of camouflage? Or that it can change it’s body temperature?
– why didn’t they implant the tracking device where the I. rex could physically never get to it, for example in the middle of its back?
– why has Claire, the second-in-command, never once met the one guy who is training the Raptors since birth?
– why exactly did Wu’s earlier team add the neck frill and the venom spitting to the Dilophosaurus? And why aren’t the Raptors just 1.5 ft tall and fully feathered like they really were? More importantly, why does no one ever notice some of the dinosaurs change their genders?
– just saying, isn’t the Raptor enclosure a completely useless attraction? You can’t see shit, you could save yourself a lot of money by just having shaking trees and a recording of their grunting. No need to have live animals in there
– so, why exactly do they have new Raptors? Their new enclosure is a way better construction, I give it that, but visitors still don’t get to see these “products”
In addition to everything above, Jurassic World has this:
– a woman running around in heels even though she says she noticed how it affects her running
– Raptors hunting together with a human alpha who’s driving a motorcycle
– a dinosaur commands another species of dinosaurs to kill humans
– a dinosaur seemingly understands the concept of cameras and tricks them
– that super ridiculous kill (you know which one)
– also: the one with the rocket launcher
– three kinds of species teaming up to bring down another
But please don’t forget Jurassic Park has all of these stupid images:
– Hammond invites his guests over on a weekend right before an approaching hurricane
– there’s actually a scene in which a greedy lawyer gets eaten by a dinosaur
– the lawyer gets eaten while sitting on the toilet
– a kid outsmarts the deadliest predator by luring it into a freezer
– Lex frantically uses a terribly designed 3D user interface (Unix!)
– a touch screen is described as an interactive CD ROM
– a torn off arm comically lands on a woman’s shoulder
– a dinosaur sneezes a teenage girl right in the face
– a woman grabs right into a small mountain of dinosaur poop
– a boy is covered in vomit (sneezing, pooping, vomiting – the trifecta of good taste! Only thing missing is pee, and we gloriously got that in JP3!)
– the T. rex seemingly teleports to the showdown, avoiding to make any earth shaking foot steps
– when the T. rex rules the showdown, a falling banner comically states “When Dinosaurs Ruled The World”
STUPIDITY FINDS A WAY
I could go on even further, but I guess it’s undeniable that Jurassic Park is full of stupid moments as well. Which leads us to a question 65 million years in the making: Why doesn’t it bother us? Is it because Jurassic Park mesmerized us with its epic scenes which swept every dumb away? Is any sequel doomed to be measured against that? I’m not going to open a box on The Lost World‘s stupidity – it has a lot of it – but aside from Kelly’s acrobatics the first sequel seemingly didn’t get as much shit as Jurassic World gets. 3 got a lot of shit, but it was a shitty movie (which I like if only for this).
I’d say that every single listed moment of dumb can be answered by the screenwriters. Every perceived moment of stupidity serves a specific function. It’s not like the writers didn’t think about it and just noticed those flaws during first test screenings. Most of the time, they’re completely right. Their actions always lead to entertaining sequences, and there’s never a moment breaking the invisible barrier of dumb (you know, like the scared guy from Prometheus suddenly trying to pet that threatening looking snake alien thing).
It’s absolutely necessary to have certain flaws in the safety precautions. To have dumb people in leading positions. If secured properly, a park like this could never be a major problem. You can easily lock up even 50 ton creatures so good that they could never get anywhere. You could observe and control a population like that masterfully, and you can even have precautions against external problems like earthquakes, storms, etc. One aspect to disturb such a system does make sense: an intruder, a saboteur who infiltrates the system and creates unforeseen weaknesses. But Spielberg had already used that in the first movie. So basically, there were only two options left to have a scenario in which dinosaurs hunt humans in a park setting. First: you need to have a mass murderer dinosaur who is hard to kill and overly hungry, and second: you need to have dumb. Lots of dumb. And dumb we got.
But why do we criticize some characters more than others? Lex and Tim are even more stupid than the new kids (I really can’t remember their names), but we do care way more for Hammond’s kids despite their stupidity. What about the grown-ups? Grady isn’t the nicest character, but Grant wasn’t either. The way he scared that turkey kid was a lot more than what Grady said. Both are fascinating due to their work. Grant because of his fascination for prehistoric bones, Grady because of his work with living Raptors. And when the shit hits the fan, both of them are ready to do anything to save others. Is Grant more sympathetic because he’s a teacher guy while Grady is a tough douchebag biker who knows his way with guns and vehicles?
And what about the women? Claire has a major problem in practically being responsible for a lot of deaths, yes. It’s her decisions that free the Indominus. She has no friends, she only has her career on her mind, and she even describes the dinosaurs as products. Still, she redeems herself by saving Grady and by leading the T. rex to the final showdown. Meanwhile, Ellie does give Hammond shit, has an interesting discussion with the man, and is brave enough to go re-start that generator. She’s never really portrayed as dumb – she is a strong, smart, and important woman which is great. Her act of bravery leads to the boy actually dying from electrical shock, but she’s indefinitely better as a character than Claire. Claire meanwhile is portrayed as really dumb and irresponsible, but Bryce Dallas Howard injects her with so much cuteness and naivety that she can’t be perceived as a villain. The only thing she’s missing is true warmth. Hoskins meanwhile needs to be that dumb. Using Raptors to hunt is obviously an incredibly dumb idea, but it works for the movie, and people like that actually do exist. It’s just not a very elegant solution to get the characters where you want them to be. Is that the major divide? The elegance of Jurassic Park?
What about other beloved B movies like Deep Rising or Deep Blue Sea who get embraced for their usual dumb? Isn’t Jurassic World just a super high budget version of that? The first one attempted to be more of a serious movie, but shouldn’t the dumb hit even harder because of that?
What do you think? Do you perceive Jurassic Park as dumb? Or Jurassic World as too dumb? What do you think makes the difference?
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