Friday, 19 June 2015

Jurassic World - Dir. Colin Trevorrow

Spoilers ahead. Seriously, nothing is left unspoiled.

Jurassic Park is a one trick dinosaur. Admittedly it’s a very good trick when done properly, but it’s a trick built primarily on spectacle and the awe of watching these extinct creatures on screen (strong characters will strengthen a film and ensure that it endures for generations); but once that raptor has bolted, any sequel has to find other ideas and elements to make up for that initial wow factor. That’s why Jurassic Park shouldn’t really have sequels (let alone be considered a franchise), much in the same way that Jaws shouldn’t have sequels; the illusion is ruined once you’ve seen what’s in the water. Most sequels stick to the notion that bigger must be better but only a few ever succeed.
Director (and one of the four credited writers) Colin Trevorrow makes a similar point early on in this belated third sequel to (or its only sequel in the minds of everyone involved). We’re back on Isla Nublar and a new park is up and running, but attendances are on the decline as the public are beginning to lose interest in traditional dinosaurs. To spark the collective interest, the park’s scientists have cooked up a new, genetically modified dinosaur called the Indominus Rex that is bigger, scarier and cooler than the rest; this of course means that it’s better. Any points that Trevorrow gets for ridiculing the nature of modern blockbusters and their bigger, louder and dumber sequels are taken away when he goes on to make a sequel that’s just bigger, louder and dumber than its predecessor.
That’s not the only case of Trevorrow trying to have his goat-bait and eat it. He makes a joke about product placement when a telecoms provider wants to sponsor the new attraction; except Verizon is a real company and so the joke is a genuine piece of product placement and there are plenty of other instances of product placement throughout the film. There’s also an overwhelming amount of nodding back to the original film, so much so that Trevorrow might as well be a novelty bobblehead on Spielberg’s dashboard. Jake Johnson wearing an original Jurassic Park t-shirt is by the far the most egregious example and his comment about how the original park was better makes no sense because he never visited it. This all forms part of an odd feeling that Trevorrow and co. aren’t even trying to make a film that’s better than the original. In fact, they’re making references and jokes about how they’re not trying to make a film that could be better than the original. I’m not saying that Jurassic World had to be better, but it would’ve been nice to see them at least try.