Recently, I have heard a common comment made about the 1998 film, Godzilla, which boils down to this: “If this movie wasn’t called Godzilla, it would be pretty great!” The opinion is depicted in the below video, in part as a defense of 1998 remake.
Now I have already stated some of my thoughts on this film years ago and I really don’t have too much desire to rehash here. To sum up: I don’t care for it. That’s just my opinion, it is no more valid or objective than anyone else’s. I don’t mean to belittle those who enjoy this film – heck, I’m glad someone does!
So why am I writing this? Well, at one point in the video, the speaker brings up that the sole reason many people dislike this film is because it is called “Godzilla.” For the record, he’s not wrong. I have been to numerous G-Fests and have heard variations of this dialogue a lot. Like a lot a lot. It was even the reason for the older post I linked you to above – I wrote a whole article about how the 1998 film is nothing like the 1954 original and should not be used as an introduction to the Godzilla mythos.
That said, would I like this film if it was called say The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or Reptilicus or Skippy the Super-Sized Iguana? No, I would not. Well…maybe that last one…
So Jurassic World is out, and despite fears expressed by this writer… the movie has been a phenomenal financial success. Seriously, look up how much freaking money this movie is making. It’s insane. Well now, as with any successful project in this day and age – time for cash-ins. A film like Jurassic World calls for something very specific: I want a sequel to the 2003 video game, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.
For those not in the know, Operation Genesis is a park simulation video game (similar to Theme Park and Roller Coaster Tycoon… just with dinosaurs). You play as the one person to run Jurassic Park the right way – or the wrong way; it is left to the player to decide. Build the park, build the attractions, make the dinosaurs, watch the dinosaurs devour people, drive the car – everything from the first three movies is in this game… except the pterosaurs.
But that’s just it: first three movies. Now there’s four. $$$$ time.
Jurassic World introduced several new features that would be perfect additions to the game. The first is obvious:
Jurassic World showed what the first three movies never did: a successful park. Operation Genesis had to guess what that would look like. Sure they took the obvious, like the car tour, from the movies but really – that was it. The rest of the rides you could build were guesswork, with some working better than others. The balloon tour was neat and the viewing platforms made cool… but restaurants with dinosaurs on them and generic gift shops? Kinda lame.
Jurassic World brings new ideas such as more interactive attractions. A petting zoo and feeding exhibits come to mind. The SeaWorld inspired Mosasaurus would be a lot of fun. And for the love of all that is good, Jurassic Tennis. It has been mentioned in two films and I have no idea what it is. What makes it Jurassic? I want it in the game.
Was Indominus Rex dumb? Absolutely – but she was also fun. Jurassic World also teased the idea of other genetic hybrids, and the player should be able to make them all. Another issue raised in the fourth film was authenticity. As Dr. Wu mentioned, this is not what dinosaurs actually looked like. It would be an innovative option to be able to create more scientifically accurate dinosaurs while attempting to battle public reaction. It would create a lot of dynamic game experiences (such as mixing “real” dinosaurs with fake ones and watching how they interacted).
As Chris Pratt showed, even the mightiest beast can be tamed with the right handler. Bringing in handlers and introducing the idea that how a dinosaur is raised mattered would be another exciting way to add depth to the game. A good trainer would help yield more docile creatures and help keep the park fatality rate down. A bad trainer would, well, make things interesting.
In general, it has been twelve years since Operation Genesis was released. What was the PS2 and Xbox have transformed into the PS4 and Xbox One (and Nintendo still makes consoles too evidently). It should not be too hard to top what was done twelve years ago. Look at how easily Jurassic World topped Jurassic Park III. More dinosaurs, more interesting dinosaur behavior, more ways to build and destroy – it wouldn’t be too difficult. Heck, there’s so many dinosaurs, the DLC creates itself.
In short, please make this game. Heck, you can even just call it Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis if you’re worried that gamers won’t buy anything with a number after it (like Doom 4 clearly is). We’re running out of mods to play. Please people with money, make a game we want… so we will give you more money. Sound fair?
Fourteen years ago, Jurassic Park III hit theaters (yes, you are that old). The film received mixed reviews with many people calling it more fun than The Lost World… but also more stupid. The “they’re not monsters, they’re animals” approach championed by Steven Spielberg was gone, replaced instead with “here’s a new dinosaur… bigger and more terrible than T-Rex.” Granted, Jurassic Park III never pretended to be anything more than a simple thrill ride, just watch the trailer:
Three big things to take away from that trailer: 1. Dr. Grant is back!!!!!!! 2. Raptor intelligence. 3. New dinosaur – bigger and meaner than Tyrannosaurus.
So while the film was an experiment, it does not seem like one the producers would like to repeat. Let’s look at the trailer for the brand new entry, Jurassic World:
Three big things to take away from that trailer: 1. Star-Lord is in Jurassic Park!!!! 2. Raptor Intelligence. 3. New dinosaur – bigger and meaner than Tyrannosaurus.
Yeah, it seems like at least one part of the Hollywood machine, Jurassic World‘s marketing, is very content to recycle the old hooks of Jurassic Park III. Both films also share a similar “over the top” approach. Jurassic Park III includes shots in a river, in a giant bird-cage, in a lot of environments to add spectacle. Jurassic World shows much the same… adjusted from 2001 to 2015 (over the top means so much more today).
This marketing move is perplexing, given how the last film was received. While some fans enjoyed Jurassic Park III‘s ride, manywanteda return to the more intelligent Spielberg approach. Instead, audiences will be treated to Indominus Rex, the new dinosaur created by genetic modification… of all the largest and most dangerous dinosaurs into one… cause that sounds intelligent.
Escalation is a typical strategy in Hollywood sequels: bigger means better. Jurassic Park has been a film franchise that has followed this philosophy with every sequel. One T-Rex became two, became a Spinosaurus, became an Indominus Rex. What’s next? Two cloned dinosaurs… are they planning to give it wings? The problem with this approach is that it all says one thing: what is there isn’t exciting without something new added. In this case dinosaurs… dinosaurs are not exciting without new and better dinosaurs. What?
Granted, the story arch of the first Jurassic Park does not lend itself well to sequel material. There is a park that makes dinosaurs, dinosaurs get out, dinosaurs eat people – cut and we’re done. It isn’t an idea that demands “what comes next?”. The Lost World tried to change the formula, adding messages of conservation and naturalism vs. profiteering… to mixed results. Jurassic World looks squarely back in the first movie’s camp, however the trailer does contain some self-awareness that may be a sign that audiences are in for a treat. After all, Jurassic Park III had no character calling out how inane its central plot mechanic was.
Director Colin Trevorrow is untested, and that can be a good thing when it comes to injecting freshness into a series. However, two recent developments have further damaged excitement towards Jurassic World. Trevorrow has already said he has no plans to return for a sequel, which can be taken as either creative vision to do something else… or the studio was less than pleased with the final product. By itself, it is easy to assume the former, until we look at the early reviews… or lack thereof. As of right now: no critical review has been received on either Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic. This is odd for a movie with such an imminent release. Pixar’s new film, by contrast, does not release until later than Jurassic World – and that already has reviews pouring in.
Time will tell what type of movie Jurassic World is. One thing seems already certain though, the Jurassic Park franchise marketing department needs to go extinct.