Tag: opinion

Why Jurassic World's controversial hybrid dinosaur is a good idea

Contributed by
Dec 10, 2014, 1:14 PM EST

The first trailer for Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World has enthusiasm high for a return to the hit franchise that has lain dormant for more than a decade. But some fans aren’t quite so high on the plot twist the long-awaited sequel brings with it.

In case you’re just catching up: The first trailer for Jurassic World revealed quite a bit about the plot, as it shows that the newly reopened (and renamed) Jurassic World is as popular as ever, with all kinds of cool real-life dinosaurs roaming the grounds for our amusement. But that’s not really what this movie is about.

Instead of man vs. dinosaur, Jurassic World throws in a twist — the Big Bad of this film isn’t the dinosaurs, which is the dynamic that had been in place for the first three films. Instead, it’s a weird dinosaur hybrid that scientists cooked up in a lab. Not surprisingly, playing God does not go well, and they seem to have created something smart enough to turn the tables on the unsuspecting theme park’s patrons.

It turns out not everyone was as excited as Trevorrow about the change in dynamic. First up, some dinosaur purists were angry with the idea of using a hybrid dinosaur as opposed to a regular ol’ real-life dino (among other things). Admittedly, there are more than enough dinosaurs that actually did exist capable of terrifying us no end, but that’s not the point. As if that wasn’t enough, the Internet exploded with snark aimed at the hybrid idea — with no shortage of humorous guesses at what it might look like.

But we’d argue those fans are missing the point. Jurassic World stumbled around in development hell for the better part of a decade because the first two sequels to Jurassic Park kind of, to put it bluntly, stank. Both films told somewhat contrived stories designed to try and recapture the magic of the first film, pitting a group of humans against an island of dinosaurs, and both missed the mark. Why? Because we’ve already seen that story. It was the first Jurassic Park, and it was awesome. We don’t need a retread of a retread of a retread.

We’ve already seen the man-vs.-nature story told three times in the original trilogy, and we’re glad Trevorrow took a different angle with this sequel. Sure, it’s not exactly what we expected, but it’s a fresh take on what had become a tired concept. This is the natural evolution of the idea that we played God to re-create dinosaurs to begin with, and a great twist to (hopefully) make it a worthwhile way to revive the franchise. 

We’ve already battled dinosaurs, three times, and now we get to see what happens when we start fiddling with that DNA to make our own — and the price we have to pay for those creations. It’s an intriguing twist, and though some of the dialogue was admittedly clunky in that opening trailer, it’s at least an interesting angle to explore.

On top of that, Trevorrow explained to Empire that the hybrid-dino arc is actually a reflection of how the world has changed in the years since the first three films opened. Basically we live in a society that always wants something bigger and badder, so it stands to reason that’s what we’d push ourselves to make in an effort to keep folks coming back to a theme park like this. Once you think about it, it’s hard to argue:

“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.”

In a meta way, the film itself is a reflection of that ideal, and it’s really the only logical way to do a Jurassic Park movie in 2015. It’s right there in the title: Jurassic World, because a park isn’t good enough anymore. If you want the classic dino-vs.-man story, Jurassic Park is still there — and the 1993 mega-hit still holds up remarkably well. If that’s not enough, rediscover the original two sequels.

But it’s time for a new spin on the franchise for a new generation. Yes, it’s different than what we might be used to from the Jurassic franchise, but it’s a brave move to revitalize a series that had gotten so dry that it faded away for more than a decade, while things as bizarre as this were actually considered for sequel storylines before cooler heads prevailed and just let it lie. All the way back in 2012, producer Kathleen Kennedy said they’d taken so much time because they were looking for the right approach to “reinvigorate” the series.

Like it or not, hybrid dinos are a unique angle for the franchise, and it’s at least a way to tell a fresh Jurassic Park story that brings something new to the table. But that doesn’t mean they won’t honor what’s come before. The first trailer includes a few visuals that are almost shot-for-shot homages to the original film, from the trip through the field to the opening shot of the gate opening (which was actually created solely for the trailer and will be a bit different for the film).

They’re obviously making an effort to recapture some of that Spielberg magic — and that’s a good thing — while throwing in some uber-dinos and heavy doses of Chris Pratt charm to round it out into something new. Heck, I’m even intrigued by that bizarre shot of Pratt cruising around with a pack of raptors. Weird? Yeah, a bit. But different! Hopefully it’ll be a good different. 

Regardless, I'm glad they’re swinging for the fences, because the last thing we’d want to see is a third retread of Jurassic Park. If they fail, at least they crash and burn trying something new.

What do you think? Is a hybrid dinosaur a fresh idea to reinvigorate the series, or is it too much of a break from what made Jurassic Park great? Let us know in the comments!