‘JURAS­SIC WORLD’: An Ad­ven­ture 14 Years In The Mak­ing

Public News (Houston) - - FRAME BY FRAME - Story by Glen Ryan Tadych [email protected]­lic­new­son­line.com

Sum­mer is here, which means it’s the sea­son of block­busters. Many ex­cit­ing ti­tles await movie­go­ers, the most an­tic­i­pated pos­si­bly be­ing Juras­sic World.

De­but­ing this week­end, Juras­sic World is the first film in the Juras­sic Park se­ries to hit the­aters since Juras­sic Park III in 2001. Work on a fourth film orig­i­nally be­gan fol­low­ing Juras­sic Park III’s re­lease, but a decade-long pe­riod of de­vel­op­ment limbo soon con­sumed the pro­ject. And as if cre­ative hur­dles weren’t enough, the deaths of Michael Crich­ton—au­thor of the novel that spawned the orig­i­nal 1993 film—and Stan Win­ston—spe­cial ef­fects artist be­hind the se­ries’ prac­ti­cal ef­fects—in 2008 nearly sealed the fate of the fran­chise. But af­ter months of teasers, trail­ers and an in­tri­cate vi­ral mar­ket­ing cam­paign, im­mense hype sur­rounds the re­turn of movie­go­ers’ beloved sci-fi ad­ven­ture fran­chise.

Hype isn’t all it takes though. This isn’t the first time a film se­ries has been re­vived af­ter an ex­tended pe­riod of time. In­di­ana Jones re­turned in 2008 af­ter 19 years, Star Wars in 1999 af­ter 16 years (and now again in De­cem­ber af­ter a decade) and Mad Max in May af­ter 30 years. These hia­tuses typ­i­cally re­sult in an over­whelm­ing amount of an­tic­i­pa­tion from fans, and can re­sult in an am­pli­fied level of ei­ther sat­is­fac­tion or dis­ap­point­ment. Nos­tal­gia plays a key role with fans, and the Juras­sic se­ries cer­tainly car­ries a wide load of it.

It’s un­de­ni­able view­ers will com­pare Juras­sic World to Juras­sic Park. Juras­sic World is a film with new char­ac­ters, a new di­rec­tor, a new com­poser and 22 years of cin­e­matic evo­lu­tion be­hind it, so the feel of the film won’t be the same. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber this go­ing into the movie, oth­er­wise the like­li­hood of au­to­mat­i­cally hat­ing it will sky­rocket. I will ad­mit I have my own reser­va­tions re­gard­ing Juras­sic World’s qual­ity, as the orig­i­nal film is one of my fa­vorite films of all time, and what we hold close to our heart of­ten gets in the way of hav­ing an open mind.

Judg­ing by the trail­ers, I feel this new en­try will be too flashy and be­come the mon­ster movie Steven Spiel­berg avoided in the early 1990s. Of Juras­sic Park’s 127-minute run­ning time, di­nosaurs only filled 15 min­utes—roughly 12 per­cent of the film. I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion view­ers will en­counter di­nosaurs more of­ten dur­ing Juras­sic World’s 124 min­utes, which to me, con­tra­dicts the “less is more” style em­ployed in Spiel­berg’s clas­sic. One could ar­gue this shift in style is what will make Juras­sic World a fresh chap­ter, and while there’s some truth to this, the lurk­ing sus­pense and sub­tle na­ture of Juras­sic Park is what gave it its edge.

A cer­tain “If it isn’t bro­ken, don’t fix it” method ap­plies when it comes to thrillers like Juras­sic Park. When you stray too far from the flight path, you wind up lost, and that can cause a movie to fail. One of the rea­sons Juras­sic Park per­formed so well and is now hailed as a clas­sic is be­cause it bor­rows from one of the great­est thrillers of all time: Jaws (1975).

Jaws and Juras­sic Park have many com­mon­al­i­ties, the ob­vi­ous of which are the films be­ing Spiel­berg crea­ture thrillers and a cap­ti­vat­ing John Wil­liams score. The films bear char­ac­ter sim­i­lar­i­ties—Quint and Mul­doon, Hooper and Mal­colm, Brody and Grant, Vaughan and Ham­mond—and fea­ture sim­i­lar open­ing (a dra­matic and ter­ri­fy­ing char­ac­ter death) and clos­ing (the pro­tag­o­nists head­ing out into the hori­zon) se­quences, but the big­gest con­nec­tion is the slow and sus­pense­ful re­veal of the films’ an­tag­o­nis­tic crea­tures.

While other films since 1975, such as Alien (1979), have put these el­e­ments to use, Juras- sic Park is the film to pull it off step by step, but in a fresh and riv­et­ing way. You want to watch the film with­out think­ing, “Well, I’ve seen this be­fore.” Ob­vi­ously, there’s no way to be sure un­til Juras­sic World ac­tu­ally comes out, and while I hope the film of­fers a fresh take on Crich­ton’s fic­tion, I don’t see it be­ing any less of a typ­i­cal mon­ster movie than Juras­sic Park III.

Juras­sic World will ei­ther bring life back into the Juras­sic se­ries, or it will send it back into obliv­ion. What­ever my opin­ion, I don’t see the lat­ter be­ing the more likely as Juras­sic is a pop­u­lar, crowd-draw­ing fran­chise like Star Wars.

For now though, go see Juras­sic World and in two weeks, I’ll give the run­down on the film and we’ll see just what the fu­ture holds for the sci-fi world of ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered di­nosaurs.

Glen Ryan Tadych

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