Out of the Fire Pit and Into the Dinosaur Pit
– a visual commentary on Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom
Many spoilers to follow. Although, if you have ever seen a film with dinosaurs, you will not be surprised. (All pictures drawn in the cinema, in the dark.)
This is a film that asks bold questions such as:
- Are children dinosaurs?
- If children are dinosaurs, are dinosaurs the future?
- Which would you prefer, death by LAVA or DINOSAUR?
I went to this film not having seen Jurassic World so was immediately disappointed to discover that this was not a sequel to a film set in the far future on an alien planet which had been colonised with dinosaurs to make a theme park. Instead, it was a sequel to a film about a dinosaur park called Jurassic World rather than Jurassic Park.
But it was okay, because after the cold open, we have Jeff Goldblum sporting a sexy beard! My eight year old self is excited. A thinking action hero! My 33 year old self is wondering if he still looks good in a sweaty white tank – I bet he will. But it isn’t to be. Jeff Goldblum will not be sweating valiantly in this film; we will leave that to the pretty red-head. Jeff Goldblum’s contribution to the film is to give us the THEME. He gets one of the few close ups in the film that are not of feet, so we know it’s important. I wrote it down in my notes.
And suddenly it makes sense why all the gates in Jurassic World look like teeth. It’s to tell us that they mean death. I don’t mean to quibble, Jeff, but we know what death looks like. It looks like dinosaurs and lava.
But wait, you ask, isn’t joker-with-a-heart-of-gold-in-a-practical-sort-of-way Chris Pratt’s sweating sexy enough for you? It could have been. Except the film-makers took every available opportunity to cover him in dinosaur snot. This made him seem like he had just emerged from a placenta and masked any sexy sweating he might have been doing.
I have decided that there is a metaphor hiding here: Chris wishes to be a dinosaur parent. When we are first (re)introduced to him he is working on a half-built house (NESTING!) and soon after this he sadly watches baby videos of his lost velociraptor.
Don’t worry, though, he still gets to do cool things. For example:
- Make his ex-girlfriend feel bad.
- Roll away from lava while partially tranquilised.
- Roll through a T-rex’s mouth.
4. Crawl into the ceilings of lifts and drop down at opportune moments.
In fact, one of the morals of the story is that to survive a dinosaur apocalypse you really need to be able to control doors, ceiling cavities and dumbwaiters.
Reasons to see this film are also reasons not to see it (worst spoilers to follow):
- The film thinks that lamp-shading fortune cookie dialogue makes fortune cookie dialogue okay.
2. Vehicular mayhem and dinosaur heists!
3. Costume as character development:
a. Both side-kicks lose their glasses by the end.
b. Hot red-head goes from schoolmarm attire to breast definition through sweat.
4. Bad guys are really bad and we can tell because they say things like, “4 million is not worth getting out of bed for” and “nasty woman” and “You should have stayed on the island. Better odds” and generally are not as good at outrunning dinosaurs as good guys.
5. Good guys are good but may be responsible for mass death.
6. The last act is Home Alone 2 if there had also been dinosaurs
7. It has a cute orphan child who saves the day and loses and gains a family and may also be a dinosaur.
I ended up being genuinely moved by the mass extinction on the island in spite of myself. The majesty of the iconic long-necked dinosaur being swallowed by smoke is about as harrowing as an M rated film can get.
I give the film 3 de-extinctions.