What makes a scientist “good”? Some scientists cure diseases, other scientists research new technologies that help people, while others fight to protect the planet, and we’d probably call all of these “good” scientists. But what makes a movie scientist “good”? In many films about scientists, they’re often using science to overcome impossible odds, or trying to uncover the truth when those in power would rather keep it quiet, but for me the defining “goodness” of a movie scientist is measured by their devotion to scientific ethics, to using science for the betterment of society rather than for personal gain or glory, and to understanding the consequences of science. And in my book, there’s no better example (outside of Star Trek, of course) than the scientists in Jurassic Park. And the qualities that make them good scientists are all on display in one key scene in the film.
It might be an understatement to say that I didn’t enjoy Jurassic World. I found it alternately boring and infuriating, a wasted opportunity. Despite that, it’s the one movie that I’ve thought the most about in the past few weeks. Partly it’s been hard to ignore, given its monumental box office run, but there’s something more to it than that. As much as I disliked it, I can’t shake the feeling that there might actually be more to the movie than I gave it credit for. I don’t mean to imply that Jurassic World is secretly great, because it’s not, but watching it I had the sneaking suspicion that writer/director Colin Trevorrow might have had a not-so-hidden message he embedded in the film through certain characters, scenes, and especially its climax. You see, I’ve never encountered a film that seems to hate itself more thanJurassic World.
Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorite movies, but I also believe it’s one of the most important films in the history of cinema. It ushered in a new era of filmmaking and box office blockbusters, where anything an artist could envision could appear convincingly on the screen, while setting a standard for visual effects that is still unmatched. It was also one of my most memorable moviegoing experiences, and to an entire generation of people my age it was our Star Wars. It inspired us and filled us with wonder, while delivering a story, characters, and a universe that captured our imaginations and dominated the pop culture landscape. It also had dinosaurs. Jurassic World was seemingly inevitable, particularly in today’s nostalgia-obsessed world. Take one of the most popular franchises of all time and update it, bringing the most modern visual effects and most popular stars to the series, and the result has been the biggest box office smash of all time. It’s also a mess.
Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.
I’ve been sitting on the Jurassic World trailer for a couple months now. (I actually do this a lot, prepping screencaps of trailers without actually posting them, something I intend to change in 2015.) In some ways I’m intrigued by it, but in others I’m very wary. I’ve previously referred to Jurassic Park as the Star Wars of my generation, and to me it’s a cinematic masterpiece, one of the most awe-inspiring films I’ve ever seen. I love The Lost World, but was pretty disappointed in Jurassic Park III, which was hurt by Spielberg’s lack of involvement. I didn’t really need another Jurassic Park film, but I was intrigued by the way the script leak for Jurassic World was handled last year. So when the trailer arrived in November, it stirred up a mix of emotions. Take a look below and read on for my thoughts:
How do you sum up a life and career as successful and enduring as Richard Attenborough’s? With over 60 years in the film industry, a knighthood and a peerage, his life seemingly could speak for itself. In addition to his contributions to the movies, he’ll also be remembered for his charity work, particularly in the fight against muscular dystrophy and as an advocate for education. But for us film buffs, we’ll honor him for his excellent work on the big screen, whether in front of the camera or behind it.
Spoilers have become an increasingly big problem for filmmakers, and most tend to overcompensate for them in one way or another. Movie shoots are often incredibly secretive places, with scripts numbered and collected at the end of the day and excessive at filming locations. This makes some sense, as any set photo or leaked plot details might affect the public’s desire to see a film. Of course, leaks are bound to happen and there are a variety of ways to respond to them. You can completely ignore them, which is the most common tactic. You can take the J.J. Abrams route and deny them even though Benedict Cumberbatch is obviously playing Khan. You can simply shut down your movie before it ever gets started, like Quentin Tarantino did after the entire script for his film The Hateful Eight leaked earlier this year. Or, you can do what Colin Trevorrow, the director of Jurassic World, the upcoming fourth entry in the Jurassic Park series, did when the general plot of his film leaked. He confirmed the rumors about his film, while taking time to lament the era of the spoiler.