If it was the smell of Baldrick’s underpants which wiped out the dinosaurs in Blackadder Back and Forth, it was the unmistakable waft of cheese which stains the nostrils after seeing Jurassic World.
Remakes and reboots are going to become a constant source of speculation and scepticism over the coming years, with Hollywood opting to cash in on nostalgia rather than risk developing new franchises; and from a cynical point of view (Jurassic World’s record breaking opening) and despite the stench of pungent French fromage, their decisions seem justified. But there is a problem, because more often than not directors and producers seem to forget the essence of what made the original a classic.
One of the things which disappointed me most about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (other than the nuclear proof fridge) was that Steven Spielberg failed to recognise that the rather unique special effects were one of the greatest charms of the original trilogy; and then subsequently failed to include them in Crystal Skull. The image of Nazi’s faces melting is one of the most enduring from the entire trilogy, and it would have been a fantastic breath of fresh air to have kept this kind of dodgy effect in the latest offering. It is now common for filmmakers to be far more concerned over CGI and making their offerings look as sleek and “realistic” as possible, but this is often in detriment to far more significant aspects.
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull failed to recognise the true essence of Indiana Jones; and unfortunately Jurassic World also failed to recognise the essence of Jurassic Park: Jeff Goldblum.
Near enough every child of the ‘90s loves Jeff Goldblum, he was, and remains, our true cult-hero. It was Dr Ian Malcolm, not the T-Rex, who was the star of Jurassic Park; in the same way it was Jeff Goldblum, not Will Smith (or the invading Aliens), who made Independence Day.
A whole host of dinosaurs fill Jurassic World, and yet it is far emptier than Jurassic Park in which the prehistoric stars only received a literal fifteen minutes of fame.
If the trend of remakes and reboots is to continue (which it undoubtedly will), it would be nice to see filmmakers consider that magic ingredient which made the original franchises classics in the first place.
I’m not asking for a make-shift Jeff Goldblum because that would be awful, but we need more than what was on offer. Chris Pratt’s character Owen was ok as the rugged yet gentle natured dino-trainer, and even the child actors didn’t annoy me; but despite acceptable performances from most involved, they were all fighting with both hands behind their backs, due to a lack of character development and a script which was at times cheesier than listening to Duran Duran and chomping on some particularly powerful Camembert. The wistful look as two characters eyes meet across the room, followed by a laughably lame line. I haven’t read or seen 50 Shades of Grey but I wouldn’t be surprised if this kind of moment wouldn’t be too far amiss…
It is said that there were a whole host of writers involved in writing the script, and it seemed that none of them bothered to scratch even slightly beneath the surface: most of the characters were simply too stereotypical and as a result the themes which Director Colin Trevollow attempted to explore were hampered because of it.
Not every film has to be a deep-thinker of course, and in terms of action Jurassic World certainly has its merits, it is by no means a bad film; but if you’re going to continue a franchise you should at least try and maintain the integrity of the original. Is it really surprising that cinema is coming under attack from the likes of HBO when one of the biggest films of the year is nothing more than a fairly standard popcorn muncher? Jurassic World may be a box-office hit, but more and more people will become frustrated and disillusioned if lazy, unimaginative filmmaking, motivated almost entirely by money becomes the Hollywood norm.
Over 20 years ago Jurassic Park had the towering presence of the T-Rex with Jeff Goldblum as the heart and soul of the beast; unfortunately Jurassic World learned nothing from the original, and as a result is little more than a cheesy paper dinosaur.