Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekend Fun with Jurassic World

Over the weekend, the boys and I, along with my sister and niece and nephew, went to see Jurassic World. I’ve wanted to see this film since I first watched the trailer, and I was not disappointed.

Jurassic World has been breaking records since it came out. Opening weekend, it made more than $511 million. But it’s not hard to see why. Who didn’t grow up loving dinosaurs? As adults, who doesn’t still want to see those dinosaurs? And since we’re all a little more jaded and cynical, who doesn’t want to see them eating people?

I absolutely loved this movie. But I’ve really enjoyed all the Jurassic Park films. It had everything I like: eye candy, monsters, and action. The film pays homage to so many different movies, including the original, it was amazing.

It wasn’t scientifically accurate, but that didn’t bother me. The purpose of the film was to be fun and entertaining, and it was certainly that. It’s hard to ignore science in a film like Jurassic World, especially since so much work and research has gone into dinosaurs. So, if you’re curious what they got wrong and want to educate yourself on the reality, check out this article.

While this information about what dinosaurs really look like is important, the other part of the science debate is being ignored. As usual, science and scientists are the baddest of the bad guys. They are to blame for dinosaurs roaming the island in the first place, and they created this horrible (albeit incredibly cool) dinosaur that is wreaking havoc on everyone and everything.

At one point, I thought the scientist was going to redeem himself and give science a good name. While conversing about the new dinosaur, Simon Masrani (the owner of the park) asks Dr. Henry Wu (the head scientist) who gave him the authority to create such a creature. To which Dr. Wu responds that he did. Wu says that he was instructed to create something new, something scary, something bigger and badder, so he was following instructions. He goes on to comment that everyone thinks they are doing “mad science,” but it’s the same thing they’ve been doing since the beginning.

And Wu is right, they have been doing since the beginning, but the question surfaces: should they be doing it? He tries to turn it around on the corporation, saying it was just to make a profit, thus making them the bad guys. However, that doesn’t last. Later in the film, Wu becomes a stereotypical scientist who is greedy, self-centered, and only focused on what he can accomplish in his research—even at the expense of humanity.

While it’s common practice in horror films to make science the bad guy, it makes me sad. I mean, science has given us so many incredible and wonderful things, why are they always the villain?

I know, I know, they’ve created some pretty destructive things too. But for the most part, science helps humanity, it’s not trying to destroy it.

It would be so freaking awesome if they could actually create dinosaurs! Could you imagine everything we could learn from them? According to some, that reality may not be that far-fetched.

While science was the baddest of the bad guys in the film, the military was a close second—as is also typical in horror films. There’s this notion that we can’t trust any type of authority system. Mainly because they’re out for their own selfish ends and will do whatever they can to obtain them.

This makes me sad too. After all, without the military, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we enjoy. And, technically, they’re the ones who would have the training and weapons to combat a threat like this. But, as is typical of many horror films, science and the military can’t protect us from the threat. Either they don’t want to or they don’t have the capability.

There’s a reason science/scientists and the military are always the bad guys: it allows the “common” people (the kids, the woman, and the retired military man) the ability to rise up and fight against the threat to become the heroes. It makes it so the audience can relate on an emotional level and enjoy the film that much more because that could be them saving the day. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I totally expected science and scientists to be the bad guys in the film. After all, without science, they wouldn’t have been able to create the dinosaurs at all. And I still really liked it. The most important thing to remember is that this film is pure fictional entertainment. And it left me highly entertained.

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