Director Colin Trevorrow acknowledged his new gig as director of Jurassic World, the first Jurassic Park sequel in fourteen years and twenty-two years since the original, with a simple tweet stating, “No Feathers.” It was a bold move on the surface (and dare I say it), ruffled more than few feathers of paleontologists and dinosaur fans. With the release of the film’s first trailer a week ago, these progressive protestors have even more fodder for their cause, but there’s a more complex reason to why our dinosaur pals are sticking to 1993 mode, scaly sheen and all.
Jurassic World is being made in a post-Marvel Cinematic Universe world where Easter Eggs and more importantly, mythology (aka world-building) rule the day for modern nerds. If Trevorrow’s film is supposed to kick off a new franchise, what better way to appeal to the fans than with nods to not only moments and characters from the original film(s), but the general aesthetic as well. Through the lens of nostalgia this new sequel (and gentle reboot) in the Jurassic Park-franchise is attempting to appeal to the hardcore fans, and also needs to appeal to the widest audience possible. However, “All major theme parks have delays,” and the Modern Entertainment-Industrial Complex cannot anticipate every taste and predilection of their market. Jurassic Park is a special case in this instance wherein its appeal is not coming from the same place as Doctor Who, the Marvel films or even Star Wars. For most people, Jurassic Park exists as a single entity. They don’t know about its two mediocre sequels or bevy of videogames, comic books and yes, even trading cards. Wouldn’t it be better to start fresh, update the animals for 2014, and create new adventures where these accurate-looking dinosaurs can freely eat man without the constraints of their forward-thinking, yet ultimately incorrect past? I’m sure there’s a way to made birds scary on screen considering it’s been done since 1963.
As a nerdy Jurassic Park fan I am excited to see the fledgling world of Steven Spielberg’s classic grow into a thing I can obsess about for years to come, but as a dinosaur fan I’m conflicted. People have rightfully commented that the original Jurassic Park was and is about the excitement of seeing ‘real’ dinosaurs on screen even if the filmmakers took the natural liberties you need to take when making an thrilling and epic science fiction film. Yet, the film inspired a whole generation to grab tiny pickaxes and brushes to journey off into the desert in search of fossils. For me, Jurassic Park is a means of expressing my desire to see real dinosaurs in the flesh, but I don’t speak for every fan.
So where does this conflict leave us? Right now we only have a trailer, some set photos, and the filmmaker’s trust to go on until we see Jurassic World in the cinemas on June 12th, 2015, but based my observations, I believe the film is going to comment on this very topic of discussion. All new sequels to old franchises are meta-reflections [Star Trek, The Muppets, Skyfall (James Bond series), The Hobbit Trilogy, and possibly, but mostly likely the Star Wars and the new Terminator films]. They cannot help but comment on themselves. We live in a nostalgic world after all, so we’ll see if, by the end of Jurassic World, it will follow suit with the rest of the selfie generation, or in some way break the chain, the electric fence, and uh, find a way.