The trailer for “Jurassic World” was released a few days ago and the Internet… noticed. Most of the comments seem to be focused around the sad scientific ignorance demonstrated in the creature design. Where the original trilogy did it’s best to reflect the most up-to-date findings, this definitely seems to toss that away in favor of a popularist view.
I’d like to focus on another aspect hinted on in the trailer, but first, here it is:
My real problem is similar to a criticism that I had of the first movie as well: why is science always so stupid? The first movie begins with a poor worker getting killed by what we later learn is a velociraptor. We learn later that the velociraptors have been very difficult to manage and have a habit of killing each other. So what do we see on the tour? A big old clutch of brand new baby raptors! Stupid, stupid science.
The Jurassic World trailer shows a new park full of the latest technology and it is clearly functioning well. We hear about how far we’ve come in genetics research and how we can do anything! Then we immediately hear about how they’ve built a new, giant Frankenstein’s monster of a beast – a “highly intelligent animal that will kill anything that moves” – that clearly destroys everything they’ve worked for. Stupid, stupid science.
What logical reason would there be for any scientist in this narrative to create a bigger, badder, meaner, smarter dinosaur? They have T-Rexes and they have Spinosauri. More importantly they have whole herds of utterly impressive herbivores that won’t eat their guests! I’m sure that some reason will be given for the creation of the monstrosity, but I’m also sure that it will be stupid.
How to Fix It?
Instead, why not do something logical? What, exactly, would the next step be for a company who can breed dinosaurs and now feels that they can improve upon them? Why not something a little more… marketable? Here’s the trailer that I would have envisioned:
We open on a light, sunny suburban kitchen. The camera is low, from the floor. Mom’s getting breakfast ready, she’s clearly rushed. She absently hollers to a child that should have already made an appearance, then, to the camera, “Go get him up! Go get ’em!”. We hear claws scrabble on linoleum and the camera bounds up the steps and into a dimly bedroom where it leaps to the bed and awakens an annoyed child.
We pan out and see that the pet is, in fact, a cherubic. bright eyed dinosaur about the size of a large dog. We breeze through the breakfast with the dino-pet acting in all ways the part of happy member of the family. When the son leaves, he leaves the pet in the yard. We see other dino-pets, of other types, being walked or yapping from other yards. The dino-pet wanders around and under it ducks into a large decorative bush where we see a clutch of dino eggs just starting to hatch.
The title sequence rolls and, after, we jump forward 10 years where dinosaurs have intruded into nearly every available ecosystem. You see the wildly popular pets were supposedly not able to breed, but of course, were (a call-back to the first film). More disastrously the unexpected offspring had regressed to the original forms. Those forms have proven remarkably successful.
Yes, the story is still science gone wrong, but not directly wrong and that makes a huge difference. It makes sense from a marketing position: why have one island full of dinosaurs when you can make every household on Earth a customer instead? The stakes of the story grow exponentially and the title “Jurassic World” makes significantly more sense.