Bigger, louder and with more teeth is what the public had asked to see at Jurassic World and I don’t think you could dispute that they got what they asked for. The result saw our favourite prehistoric theme park not only featuring the dinosaurs we know and love but also a new genetically modified dinosaur, the destructive Indominous Rex.
Roaring into the Box Office with a ground-shaking worldwide opening weekend of over $500 million there is no denying that Jurassic World is a financial success. With so much competition on the bigger screen is the winning formula simply to make your film with bigger budgets, body counts and set pieces and is this what we really want?
Despite the nostalgia and numerous homage references in Jurassic World to its original, it is nothing like Jurassic Park or even the same genre. Jurassic World is a straight up action film. Jurassic Park, on the other hand, was a science fiction horror film. Its intimate and personal story of one man’s dream to create something that was real, full of wonder and of course sparing no expense that was to ultimately fall apart due to the illusions of control that man thinks he can place over nature. The small cast of characters, all with their own motives for being on the island, allows us to invest and believe in them. The park itself is delicate, incomplete and awaiting the go ahead to open to the public yet still packed full of wonder, fear and amazement. The combination of practical and computer-generated effects are spectacular and only add to the wow factor that made Jurassic Park such an iconic success.
“Oh, yeah, Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and um, screaming” – Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).
Fast forward 22 years and bypass two sequels and you have arrived at Jurassic World. But with the weight of nostalgia from our childhoods and the mounting expectation due to a visit back to the iconic Isla Neblar we are met with disappointment. We were not necessarily looking for another Jurassic Park story but that’s exactly what we got and in a bid to be bigger, louder and more impressive. We have been left with an uninspired plot made from the scraps of the first movie completely missing its wow, fear and entertainment factor. The delicate moments have become drowned out by fighting dinosaurs and product placement, the drama now only a footnote of overblown CGI set pieces. We witness a move away from any coherent character development and the cast is now completely disposable. Whilst it certainly has more teeth, there is not much left for us to chew on and digest. That said Jurassic World is not a bad movie. It’s often fun, contains some very beautiful images and it’s great to finally see what Jurassic Park could have been, had Hammond’s vision been realised.
Colin Trevorrow is constantly reminding us how superior the original is and the only way to surpass it is to artificially make it bigger, louder and add more teeth to the mix.
“That first park was legit!” “It didn’t need genetic hybrids, it was real.” – Lowery Cruthers (Jake Johnson).
The phrase bigger, louder and with more teeth ironically shares enormous parallels with the film itself, which of course is exactly that when you compare it to the previous films in the franchise. This statement, almost intentionally, not only serves a purpose for the plot but also says more about what the audience wants to see out of their films. Of course this is not true for everyone but with increasing ticket prices, film streaming sites and the ever improving standard TV series, going to the cinema is a treat for a lot of people who seem to want to see more bang for their buck.
It’s this attitude of “bigger is better” that would ultimately leave you with nowhere to go. What ever happens to less is more? We need to take a step back and give our blockbusters their soul back rather than selling out. The audiences are being treated like the wild masses of the Roman Empire braying for blood in the Coliseum and the film studios seem to be obliging. Of course we want to see dinosaurs, of course there will be casualties but that doesn’t mean the film has to have heart and soul artificially removed and replaced with what essentially is a B movie action film. Unfortunately it all seems to be about the bottom line of the financial statement and as long as that number continues to rise I don’t see much changing.