How to Save Jurassic Park

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One of the most impactful moments of my movie-going life occurred when I was 12 years old and saw a little movie called Jurassic Park. I loved it so much I saw it again, and again until I had seen it 7 times in the theater. My young brain was completely caught up in the magic of the great storytelling. I had never seen images like the dinosaurs on the screen. I had never felt such fear, awe, majesty and excitement. It was exhilarating! Even now years later, Jurassic Park still holds up as quite possibly the greatest blockbuster entertainment ever made.

Having loved the first one so much you can imagine my excitement when they announced a sequel and Steven Spielberg would be directing again! This was thrilling! And then I went to the theater and had my first real disappointment. It was cluttered, boring and thoroughly lame.

The rest of the sequels have continued the trend of the Lost World and been very disappointing. The most recent example is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I liked it a little bit better than Jurassic World because the director J.A. Bayona is talented enough to put together some engaging set pieces. However, some plot choices were idiotic and much of the movie the dinosaurs are in cages because that makes sense…

So it begs the question- what would I do to make a better Jurassic movie or is it just a hopeless endeavor? Do you have to get so convoluted trying to get people back to the dinosaurs that it just doesn’t work any more? Well, like I have saved Superman, Alice in Wonderland and Tim Burton I have a proposal to what I think would fix Jurassic Park (BTW the hints at Jurassic World 3 left in Fallen Kingdom sound completely awful so this is strictly a fantasy pitch).

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The group could be kind of similar to the diverse collection of people on the show Lost

My main premise is to take the idea of the Jurassic Park 3 but actually execute it well. You start out with a cruise ship that is shipwrecked onto the Isla Nublar. They have no way of reaching anyone and nothing to do but to try and survive until another ship comes.

Do not have any of the original characters but create new characters that have compelling backstories about why they came on the cruise. You could have a mixture of workers, elites, young singles looking for love etc. You can cast charismatic actors that are fun together and of course you need to have some people who are jerks that can be eaten by the dinosaurs LOL.

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Naturally you are going to want to have lots of dinosaur action and antics but don’t forget to have moments of awe and wonder as well. One big mistake in Jurassic World was killing off all the herbivores so there was no moments to stop and breathe. In Jurassic Park we get a lovely little break where Lexi, Tim and Dr Grant get to pet a brachiosaurus. As an audience we need this moment both as a breather for the characters but to make the dangerous dinosaur moments more chilling and real.

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I would also make it a priority in my movie to create real characters that have meaningful conversations. Sure the dinosaurs are great in Jurassic Park but so are the characters. One of the best moments in the film is when Dr Sattler and John Hammond are eating ice cream and Ellie calls Hammond out on his BS. He is waxing on about his dreams (letting us get to know him) and she basically dope slaps him and says “all that matters is the people that we love”. We learn so much about these characters in one quick scene of dialogue and so we care about them when they face all the action and tension.

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The thing I like about this shipwreck idea is that it wouldn’t require some convoluted reason for them going back to the island and it wouldn’t necessitate some ridiculous excuse for mutant or militarized dinosaurs. It’s just people on an island with dinosaurs trying to survive. That’s enough. That’s all you need. These other sequels have just gotten too stupid for my liking and I can’t deal with it. Jurassic Park was smart! It can be done.

Of course some of the characters would fall to the dinosaurs but eventually a ship would come or they would find some way to signal from the old Park headquarters and be rescued. And as they are being rescued the T-rex would be coming towards them but they zoom away just in time. This would be exciting and a thrilling moment for all involved. Don’t worry about setting things up for a sequel or starting a cinematic universe. Just make a fun monster movie with a good script and it will make tons of money. I know I would LOVE it!

So there you have it. That’s my idea for a Jurassic Park movie. I think almost anyone will agree my idea is at least better than whatever ridiculous nonsense they have planned for Jurassic World 3.

Sigh…What could have been.

How would you save Jurassic Park? And what do you think of my idea? Let me know in the comments section

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Movie 39: Dinosaur

dinosaur posterI knew it would happen.  Eventually a movie would get the dreaded F.  Even a movie that I really didn’t enjoy like Three Cabelleros or The Aristocats I still found things I liked.  Literally the only thing I liked in Dinosaur, Disney’s 39th animated classic, is the music by James Newton Howard.   Everything else really sucks.

Production-

Dinosaur is directed by Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton and it was the first movie for Disney to use all CGI.  At the time it cost $100  million to make and Disney said in the screening kit  “The visual effects will make it an instant classic”

Boy have they not held up.  I hate CGI and these dinosaurs look particularly bad. Honestly they look like their plastic toys from Mcdonalds

Here’s the toy-

mcdaladar1760Here’s the dinosaur from the film-

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Take out the backdrop they look the same. In fact I actually think the toy looks better…

The velociraptors look so bad.  It boggles the mind.

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That’s an actual screenshot from the movie. That’s how bad it looks.

VelociraptorsJust as a comparison the velociraptors in Jurassic Park made 7 years earlier in 1993.  It looks so much better-

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Jurassic Park had way better dinosaurs 7 years earlier than this film

Just like Jurassic park there are backgrounds that are real, which is cool at the beginning when it is lush and pretty.  The first 5 minutes was shown in the trailer and it is beautiful if you take out the CGI dinosaurs

The Story-

So the visuals, which were supposed to make it so special, have not held up.  How about the story?

Unfortunately I saw little to like about that either.  It starts out a lot like Tarzan with a Carnotaurus (why not just do  a T-rex. That’s what we all know as the villain of the dinosaurs…) kills a herd of dinosaurs.  An egg is saved and taken by a bird dinosaur (I don’t know all the names sorry!) to an island and it is found by lemurs (although the film refers to them as monkeys).

These lemurs look fine in a photo but the way they move in the movie feels so choppy- like the monkeys in Indiana Jones 4 that look so bad.  It’s kind of amazing when you think about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which blew me away in creating realistic apes.  How far we’ve come (I realize motion capture isn’t exactly the same but still the computer fur and movement looks so much better).

lemursJust like Kala in Tarzan a nice female lemur named Plio decides to raise the baby dinosaur (why not have the male raise the baby dino and the mother resist?  That would be new and different just anything other than the tired story we get). We even get the baby urinating on the male.  Like a bad sitcom with dinosaurs (actually there was a sitcom with dinosaurs and it was much better than this!)

There are friend monkeys just like Tarzan’s friends and one is called Zini and he is unlucky in love but he thinks he’s a smooth talker- never seen that before…

Various things happen and then we get a giant meteor shower that destroys the jungle.  Even this scene looks awful.  The characters look washed out, the explosion looks fake.  Like I said, the music is only thing I like.

So with the land now desolate and ugly they start searching for a new home and find on the other side of the ocean a herd of dinosaurs like Aladar.  You would think when you come across your own species as a dinosaur and you’ve been living with monkeys you’d be pretty excited but not so much.

In the herd we get every cliche.  There’s the love interest, jerk, crony,  wise talker, and everything else.  The big conflict for the rest of the movie is to find the nesting grounds.

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As they march the leader Kron refuses to wait for the weaker dinosaurs.  He’s a Darwinist and believes ‘only the strong prevail and the weaker should be left to die’.  At first I thought this was a joke from the filmmakers.  I mean really?  A movie about dinosaurs is going to tackle Darwinism?

The whole species is basically killed by the sun…

Wouldn’t it make sense to keep the herd strong with as many as possible and not just kill off the weak?  They constantly show these predators out there,  and I think if there was a thinning herd that is good for nobody but this movie isn’t smart enough for that.

And it is all handled in such a preachy and stupid way it really doesn’t matter. Kron is bad.  Aladar is good.  People are thirsty.  They stomp their foot and find water (no joke) and the carotaurus appears sporadically and radically changes sizes throughout the movie.  At one point he is as big as a velociraptor, at others as tall as high mountains.

Part of the problem too is the dinosaurs show no emotion on their faces.  They look exactly the same when they are happy, sad, angry, and everything else and they don’t really have any arms to show emotions.  It makes t all very stale.

The writing is also laughably bad.  I tweeted that Michael Bay and George Lucas must have secretly wrote this script because it sure seems like their type of movie.  We get line stale lines like these:

“What’s happening?”

“My brother’s moving the herd”

“If you ever interfere I will kill you”

“stay away from him”

“Aladar, no.  Just go”

“What’s with you?  At least I know to get out of the rain”

What was this written by 5 year olds at a script convention? Every line explained the obvious like that.  We see he is moving the herd! It’s the twilight school of dinosaur script writing…

Eventually they get to the nesting grounds.  The carotaurus eats Kron and that’s it. 82 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

Movie Review/Conclusion-

This movie sucks.  If you like it great. I don’t get it.  It looks awful.  Almost unwatchable.  The story is stupid and plodding.  The script is laughably bad.

The voice work is fine and the score is very good.

That’s it.

Overall Grade- F