Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hope still remains

I'm an unrepentant Jurassic Park fan, and I have been for most of my life. As a kid I saw the first Jurassic Park movie and was forever branded with a fascination and love of dinosaurs. Nor was I alone, for the movie was a landmark in special effects, direction and a pretty darned good adaption to boot. I've read both books by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park and The Lost World. I can't count how many times I've watched that first movie, and even went to the rerelease of it last year to see it on the big screen, although the 3D didn't help much. I just love dinosaur stuff overall and am always on the lookout for something dinosaur related that is suitably awesome.

But lets not kid ourselves about the sequel movies, The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3. Okay, they aren't completely horrible, but wow were there missteps made. The Lost World had some fair chunks of the original novel but of course needed some changes. When transitioning between a book to film there are always changes that will need to happen to make the story work. They are very different mediums. But some of the decisions made in those two just leave me scratching my head.

The second movie took obvious cues from the book but most of the changes I find confusing. So many of them just don't make sense. But worst of all is the environmentalist message in there that is done only for emotion and doesn't really engage in any logical well formed debate. I bloody hated Nick Van Owen who was a self-righteous guy who did nothing but create problems. My favorite character was actually Roland Tembo, the hunter. He was the only one who felt like he was in control, knew how to act in a crisis and had a rather reasonable motivation.
They make him out much like some sort of quasi-villain, but I actually understood him completely for why he wanted to hunt the T-Rex. Then just out of spite Nick somehow pulls the bullets out of Roland's 600 Nitro Express, which could be directly sited as a primary reason for more than a dozen people getting killed. How did he yank those copper pills out anyway? It was a bloody 600 Nitro! Those shells had to have had a monster crimp on them and I never saw Nick with pliers or anything. Did he pull them out with his teeth and everyone else just sat by and watched?
See, when the Rexes attack again Roland had a darned good chance of acing at least one right off the bat, which would likely have changed most of the course of what happened afterwards. The group might have been able to form a decent defense and not be utterly ravaged by raptors or stomped down. Great work Nick. I'm sure all the dead people appreciate your moral stance.

The third one wasn't really bad so much as just kinda recycling the same formula over again. Okay, there are some bad elements, such as the plane being loaded out to the gills with guns but within ten minutes the group is left without so much as a single bullet somehow. Sorry, I just always get irritated when the guns are practically stolen so that the dinosaurs will present a menace. Crap, there were still guns in the first two and it didn't sink either of them.
Very little new is brought to the table with the exception of some new dinosaurs and behavior, but in general it's the same thing. The practical effects were darned good and I appreciate that they used props, shot on locations and didn't just do it all in front of a green screen to save money. But they were both just underwhelming and don't evoke the same kind of wonder we got in the first movie.

So, when I heard about yet another Jurassic Park movie being directed by someone I've never heard of my educated reaction was "Oh good grief this is going to be painful." It's been mentioned but very few details have been given out which gave me very little to go on. I know it's being called Jurassic World, so at least the title has improved slightly, but I wasn't exactly given enough to lighten my spirits. There have been no details at all. Until today.

Knowing that a franchise is being directed by someone you've never heard of before does not install great confidence, but this very recent article reveals some quite promising information.

Although I don't wish to jump to conclusions this information does give me hope for this upcoming movie. The fact that they are taking their time to write a decent script and the studio isn't ramming it through to meet a deadline is a good sign. It also appears that they are hoping to try something different while not going way off base.
By admitting that they don't want to shove original characters in purely because of familiarity shows that they are showing restraint and trying to make a good story that can stand on its own. The idea of bringing back Dr. Wu however does have great possibilities and actually has me excited!

Now, in case some of you are wondering "Who the devil is Dr. Wu? Was he in the movie?" the answer is yes, he was, although not for long. He has a greater presence in the book, but in the movie he is only in one scene, the genetics lab. Likely to keep the script tight they didn't go too deep with Wu as he wasn't an essential character for the plot to move and one scene was enough to establish things.
Wu however is in fact a very important character, as he was the primary researcher and head of the entire genetics project. He was the keystone in bringing the animals back to life. By bringing him back we have an entire character to explore who was only briefly touched upon before and can have a legitimate reason for being involved with dinosaurs again.

At the moment Wu just makes sense to me and opens lots of possibilities. I'm trying to remain cautiously optimistic as there are still plenty of ways this movie can be messed up royally, but this little bit of information lends me some confidence. I get the feeling that this isn't just another Hollywood cash grab but an attempt to tell a good story in a franchise that has so much potential.

Let us grab onto the hope we have and pray that this upcoming movie will be as good as we hope! I'll try to keep ya'll posted. It's a long ways until June 2015, so we'll have plenty of time to speculate.

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