An adventure 65 million and 22 years in the making, Universal Studios unveiled the official trailer for 2015's Jurassic World, a four-quel that comes over two decades after the original 1993 film. As a major fan of the series (despite its stumbles), I had to share a few thoughts.
But, first, in case you've missed the trailer:
Okay, so the biggest reaction I have is that Chris Pratt just doesn't seem to be very believable in this role. Part of the charm of the original Jurassic Park was the cast of non-action-hero heroes: a paleontologist, a botanist, a chaotician, and a few kids. Pratt, hot off his run as Starlord in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, comes off as the Muldoon of the bunch (minus the Aussie accent and with less of a personality), not the Dr. Grant or Dr. Malcolm—and that could be a problem.
Side note: did you notice Kitty from Arrested Development in the beginning? Unfortunately, she appears to just send her kids off to the island at the beginning, so that's likely "the last time we'll be seeing these for a while."
But, okay, it's not all bad. Plenty of old touches are back for a healthy dose of nostalgia: the impressive park gates; the use of a live shark to bait a huge, undersea dinosaur hearkens back to the chained goat that initially failed to lure the T-Rex; an InGen-style helicopter; a mosquito in amber; dino eggs incubating in machines; someone holding a lit flare out to their side; someone yelling run; raptors terrorizing children; and, last but not least, DINO DNA!! The trailer-makers, at least, have included as many callbacks to everyone's favorite dino film to help ensure long-time fans take notice.
Yeah, so that last point is actually a bit concerning, as the film does not appear to have a School House Rock-inspired cartoon strand of DNA, but instead involves a plot around a genetically engineered hybrid species. It's not enough to bring back a whole slew of extinct dinosaurs? We have to be creating new ones?
This could be the film's undoing, honestly. It's already leading to ridiculous dialogue, like this exchange Pratt has with a park official:
It's not that Jurassic Park didn't have some cheesy one-liners; rather, it's that this isn't nearly cheesy enough! You can't tell me this holds water next to Samuel L. Jackson's infamous, "Hold onto your butts."
Probably the best idea in the film is that we finally get to a see an operational park. I have to believe that InGen is no longer in charge; that company can't still be around after the disasters in the first three films, right? Their logo doesn't appear anywhere in the trailer, so I'll assume some other ill-fated corporation is behind the park's second life. Anyone who thought this day would never come clearly didn't believe Dr. Malcom when he said that "life, uh, finds a way."
Seeing throngs of people actually getting to enjoy Mr. Hammond's grand zoological experiment is a treat nevertheless, no matter how short-lived it might be. The old, automated Jeeps have been replaced with a variety of transportation methods: some kind of monorail, safari trucks, kayaks on jungle rivers, and new "Gyrosphere" pods that let visitors roam through the dino-filled savannas. All of these are pretty nifty improvements to the original vision of the park.
But, of course, this new hybrid dinosaur throws a major wrench in the works, and Pratt's character makes the call to "evacuate the island." Well, that didn't take long (and those Gyrospheres clearly weren't built sturdily enough).
When you boil it down, Jurassic Park is the movie equivalent of a survival horror videogame. The creepy monsters or chainsaw murderers get subbed out for Velociraptors and Tyrannosaurus Rexes and the haunted mansion gets swapped for a beautiful island in the tropics, but the gist is the same. And that's why a fourth go-round can seem a little ridiculous. These people really haven't learned their lesson yet? They have to keep going back for more?
Maybe there's more heart to this film than this two minute, forty second clip would have us believe, but something about it just falls flat for me. I hope that's not the case, but it honestly felt like it needed a little Jeff Goldblum magic.
Are you excited? Concerned? Don't care? Leave your thoughts in the comments.