Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jurassic World update

Well, everyone else is talking about Jurassic World, so I figure I might as well throw my hat into the ring! With the Super Bowl trailer released we've gotten to see a few new things which have gotten me to thinking. At first I was really horrified at what I saw in the first trailer, namely the appearance of a genetically enhanced animal for giggles. Usually not a good sign.
But just today as I was walking to work I began really thinking about what I was actually seeing in these trailers and what the actual plot was. I normally hate gimmicky things shoved in while weakly trying to adhere to a typical plot formula, but I gradually noticed that this wasn't exactly adhering to the JP formula. It was in fact actually doing some other things very differently.

Unlike the other three movies, this isn't a survival/escape scenario. This isn't a handful of people stranded on the island and trying to find a way off while chased by dinos. This is a fully functional and inhabited location loaded with thousands of tourists. Heck, the new trailer said there were over 20,000! This is now more of a disaster movie than a typical romp through the jungle.

Another thing I noticed, and this made me really happy, was that our protagonist played by Chris Pratt, is actually frigging armed with a good weapon! The guys in other JP movies were honestly never properly equipped, and if they were they never used them. Muldoon in the first one had a Franchi SPAS 12 shotty, which really shouldn't have been his first choice. In the second one we have Roland armed with a .600 Nitro Express, which is better than most choices other guys have made, but that dirty skunk Nick somehow pulled the bullets and left Roland unarmed, costing several men their lives. Good job Nick. Jerk. Third one has them improperly armed with a twelve gauge pump, 20mm anti-material rifle, an HK SL8 which would have done nothing to bigger animals, being chambered in the 223 Remington, etc. Basically almost every choice made was wrong.

Ah, but what should our rugged hero be armed with here? Looking closely in the first trailer I saw that he was toting a Marlin 1895 Guide Gun in the 45-70! The exact gun I would have used for such a situation! I... am unreasonably pleased by this. They must have hired a decent armorer, because this is actually an excellent choice. (Happy sigh)

But anyway, Pratt is actually trying to track down this circus monster as it runs amok. Unlike almost every other movie we have characters being proactive and trying to stop what is causing the problems. In the first JP they mostly reacted and then tried to fix the bad things that went down. Here we have people trying to take the initiative. For once we have stakes besides simply not dying. If the super predator gets to the stranded guests it will be a frigging blood bath, and they just aren't equipped to respond to this.

This is a situation we've never really seen presented in the franchise before, and if the pacing is executed correctly it could in fact be pretty darned awesome. With the first act we see the calm, gentle side of the park while we get to know our characters and have a bit of fun observing the park ourselves. We learn about the problems stewing in the background. Second act the arlix, no idea how they came up with that name, escapes and begins causing major problems which begin to compound on themselves. Pratt and the scientist gal work to try and mitigate these problems, but they continue to spiral out of control until all semblance of order goes out the window and it's every man for himself. Third act is when things reach their peak and we'll likely have a dramatic showdown.
Yeah, I know I'm stating the basics of any half decent screenplay, but this particular setup could in fact genuinely work. Enough has changed and there are enough moving parts to truly set it apart from the terrible sequels and become it's own truly good flick.

I'm also interested with the fact that the raptors are actually good guys this time! Yes, yes, I know, they don't have feathers, that's scientifically inaccurate, burn the producers at the stake for heresy. I honestly don't care that much. They could probably have done it to appease the paleo-purists, but didn't either because they wanted to keep accurate to the original, or they didn't want to risk weirding out the casual audience. Whatever. Marketing decision. It does kinda suck though, that I get my beloved Marlin 1895 in there but the poor paleo lovers can't get a single feather.

Anyway, the potential to have the raptors working as good guys in conjunction with the heroes for a change could add a very fun an interesting element, treating them as useful allies that you could grow to care about rather than just more beasties to help whittle down the human population problem. Granted, it will have to be executed with intelligence and finesse, so let's keep our fingers crossed and hope they don't screw it up.

And in case you're wondering why they don't just evacuate everyone, have you ever tried to evacuate 20K plus people in under a day? I mean, I haven't, but I know enough about logistics to know that it would be a nightmare at best, and a debacle at worst. I would like to comment on the pterosaur grabbing someone like a bird of prey though. Looking at pterosaur skeletal structure, they couldn't actually grab things like that. But I'm just going to assume one of the geneticists was having a bad day at work and though it would be a real hoot to make a quick change in the DNA structure. There! Now I'm happy with that scene. :)

There's still no guarantee that this movie will actually be good of course. Hollywood has a nasty habit of making really awesome trailers for movies that end up being crap. This could end up to be an overhyped train wreck that will be the final nail in the coffin for the franchise for another decade or so until some executive gets the bright idea to dig up the moldering corpse of the JP franchise and go Re-Animator on it.
But in light of the things I've seen so far and with some critical thinking, I believe this could end up being the Jurassic Park sequel we've all been waiting for. One that captures the spirit of the original while doing something new, but not bat-shiz crazy or dumb. It is doing enough to truly set itself apart and definitely has the potential to be what we're all hoping for.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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