Unless you’ve been living in a cave forgotten by our Lord, after years of waiting the first trailer forJurassic World, the sequel to the historical trilogy begun by Steven Spielberg and starring the iconic dinosaurs recreated through engineering genetics, is finally public and is in fact on everyone’s lips. For better or for worse. Although it’s a preview that lasts only a couple of minutes and the film will be released only around June 2015, people feel compelled to criticize the choices made by director Colin Trevorrow and experts like Andrea Cau, Darren Naish, Brian Switek, John Conway, Will Svensen (and many others), along with the usual dissidents who like to go against the tide, wanted to express their disappointment and vivid regret observing the contemptuous indifference that the video spreads against paleontology as a science. And rightly so: there is always a fundamental need of negative and constructive views, which widen the horizons and will make people think, and who is competent has an obligation to talk about it. On the other hand what does not feel the need is the accumulation of reprimands and reproaches distorted and manipulated by the myopic vision given by nostalgia and sentimentalism, without educational lapels, which are antiquated and mentally intolerant. Right now many people are talking bad about this movie in a foolish and wrong way. I dare write more: some of these ‘episodes of savagery’ have no right at all.
First for you to take up the defense of this or that without rthinking about it, have a moment of patience and try to understand. I’m not talking about the validity of the movie’s scientific rigour - which was torn apart voraciously - but I just want to reflect on what Jurassic World really is: a film, a work of fiction and a story on the big screen. That’s it. We should never forget it, nor we should attribute such exaggerated importance if it doesn’t have it. Attacking from this point of view seems foolish as criticizing the anatomy within certain types of painting: a film is a form of art, an activity that leads to the creation of aesthetic expressions, which may or may not tie to other disciplines. In the 90s Jurassic Park decided to have a connection with the science of paleontology, but years later the sequel wants only to draw from the fictional universe created by his ancestor and expand it in the name of compelling narrative and nostalgic enthusiasm. To say that what you see in the trailer is, as he wrote Cau on Theropoda.blogspot (wonderful post to read, including the comments section - link: theropoda.blogspot.it/2014/11/…) “old, stale, self-referential, tawdry and demotivating” makes you smile because it’s true - but isn’t that the goal? And is it so wrong? If you read all the various interviews and rumors prior to this recent media phenomenon it seems that this was precisely the intention and there is nothing wrong in that regard.
But if for some this film comparison is not clear, it is absolutely necessary to revive the memory: people who criticizeJurassic World because it is conceptually different from Jurassic Park should think well before stating that. Michael Crichton's novel and its film adaptation were not dedicated just to dinosaurs as creatures but used them as bestial metaphor to illustrate the concept of chaos theory and its implications. All of which, even if you would like to deny it, are very evident even in the new and controversial video. Even if at all cost we mark their first appearance as animals (which is still wrong, as most of them seem to trace the idealized version of what an animal is) and dare say that those seen now are abominations (in appearance, but for how they walk, eat or run there is no difference with their predecessors - omit the last few seconds that are self-explanatory), those who complain of this basic part of the plot of both products then probably never really understood the original movie.
And let’s be honest: you have rewatched the first, unforgettable Jurassic Park recently? Talking about it rationally, although it is a great movie, there are a lot of things that should be revisited. Half of that film would not work nowadays, it is a fact. But that’s how the feature films work and although many of them become legends that does not mean that can’t fail to keep pace with the times. Jurassic Park remains an incredibly good movie, but it was put on a pedestal so high that you are convinced that it is untouchable and that nothing like it will ever happen. And is the most stupid and profane thing that could ever be told from a cinematic point of view.
But assuming that Spielberg's masterpiece is absolutely unattainable and deserves to become estranged from time and critics alike, then all the blame arises from a question that many would not want to know the answer: was it better to abandon it and leave it for what it is? Obviously Jurassic World answers to this question as clear as sunlight, even if that would be a huge YES written in capital letters. There was, however, a way to make all this uproar just a murmur and any kind of spectator would have been satisfied: a remake. Remake: that word which is a taboo if you’re talking about certain classics. Yet JP is perhaps one of the few cases where it would have really deserved it and would have been able to make up for the paleontologcal gaps as well as to those surrounding its plot. The story would end here and every single one of us would have had the film of his/her dreams. Yet a sequel was decided and in doing so there were obligate choices to make. Choices that can not logically please the tastes of all. The same Trevorrow sums up in a few words a notion based on why and how you make a sequel out of a saga like this one (but to think about it, it is true with any type of dinosaur movie): “There is no shortage of awesome [real] dinosaurs. We could have populated this entire story with new species that haven’t been in any of these movies. But this new creation is what gave me a reason to tell another Jurassic Park story. We have the most awe-inspiring creatures to ever walk the Earth right in front of us, but for some reason that’s not enough. We’re always hungry for the next thing, and those who profit from it are always looking to feed that hunger. The focus groups want something bigger than a T-Rex. And that’s what they get”. This is what a sequel – a good sequel – should entail that entails and there are no loopholes. Otherwise you have to put a hand on your heart and admit all those mistakes, say that Jurassic Park should never have continued and that the only reasonable things to do were either do it from scratch again or leave it as a classic. In these situations the importance of the plot must prevail on all fronts, it has to shake things up, and to argue about things like that is synonymous with futility.
I want to revindicate that I am not attacking the critics who comment from a purely scientific point of view: Jurassic World is, in this regard, an abomination and right from the beginning of its production it was clear that it would be a paleontological rape, which preferred to cover up years of progress and prioritize the simple and self-referential narration instead of the platonic love towards extinct animals. I would never say anything against this point of view because I’m not against it, but rather I support it with thunderous ardour: we are in 2014 and by now we should not see similar intellectual obscenities and the thought that the viewers as well as filmmakers are not ready to move on makes you sick. A movie focusing on dinosaurs should have the duty to show them in accordance with our current knowledge, you can’t argue with that: this was the spirit of Jurassic Park (albeit in a much more tenuous way than you think) and his heir could have continued what was left.
But I’ll inveil with similar zeal against those who judge negatively Jurassic World as a film that has yet to come out, who rely solely on this factor alone or who decide to have blinders on and not see the complete scenario. The added plot-twist that has been chosen is to be awarded, not to be criticized, and I can not find anything wrong in it even if I tried. The first chapter was focused on the influence that can have to resurrect extinct beings and on the arrogance to put yourself in the place of God, and this new work pushes the accelerator on their artificiality and their unscrupulous manipulation. And even if this would mean making even more evident their monstrous halo (slightly apparent inSpielberg's first work, ambiguous with The Lost World and obvious in Jurassic Park III), creatively speaking it is fine. There is a very big conceptual difference but different doesn’t mean worse (well, it actually is worse on the science side, but as you already know that’s not what I’m talking about to) nor better: it simply means different. And it’s stupid, selfish and disrespectful to excoriate this personal vision of the neo-director - similar narrative possibilities (because that’s what they are and that’s how they have to be seen) have always been plausible even if the paleontological vision didn’t allow them and blaming the director for taking this path is synonymous with ironic ignorance.
However, we can talk about all the points of view that you want, but the responsibility falls only one type of person: the crowd. It is my personal belief that more than three quarters of the people going to the movies can’t or don’t know how to watch them: watching a film is a pastime but it is also a cultural and intellectual share, respecting the ideas represented and knowledge of what is right and what’s wrong. Unfortunately people are ignorant and if they will see some kind of scientific authority in Jurassic World, they would not only discredit the director Colin Trevorrow for giving connotations to his work that he had never had the arrogance to own, but they would kill all the work of the past 20 years of a discipline that requires loudly to be understood.
The problem is not Jurassic World's plausibility, nor if it works as a movie: the problem is the average viewer. Because we can go round and round again, being sobbing and capricious children on these themes in a work of fiction is pure bullsh*t if we know what the real problem is. So do not animadvert on an artistic (and commercial) product, but let's sensitize who's ignorant. This is what we need: not snooty intellectuals wasting their knowledge for a mysterious and distorted 'sense of justice', saying infamies for the sake of it, but of mentors who remember what is the border between real (or at least plausible) and fantastic. Educate on all fronts instead of being close minded. And do not ever confuse entertainment with learning.
One last thing: try to understand what I’m trying to suggest and not what I wrote. Please.
You can find the blog version here: ktboundary-smnt2000.blogspot.i…
|The typical human being: unreliable, not smart, surely not handsome and hugely egocentric. Self-declared freelance "artist" and reviewer, also known with the awkward nickname "Smnt2000". Interested in geeky and nerdish stuff such as sci-fi, dinosaurs and comic books. 20 years old, luckly graduated from Monfalcone's I.S.I.S. "Michelangelo Buonarroti" and now an awful student at Trieste's University in the Language Department. Maybe.|