In preparation for viewing Jurassic World, and being in Kauai/Hawaii where the first Jurassic Park was filmed, I saw the old movie again and then its sequel, and then I saw the blockbuster. Oh what a disappointment. After 20 years, to the applause of millions worldwide and nearing a billion dollars in revenue, a brainy thriller has given way to a mindless romp.
Jurassic Park lingers with you long after even a second viewing. Characters struggle with moral issues: the limits of an anything goes technology and concern with human meddling in evolution; the lining of one's pockets at the expense of degradation of the natural environment; and ultimately, whether we can afford to roll the dice in a showdown between contemporary man and resurgent dinosaurs. Incidentally, researchers have recently discovered that high voltage jolts of electricity can reactivate the seemingly dead cells of dinosaur bones.
Jurassic World, by contrast, sports no moral ambiguity, no flights of conscience, no struggle with whether to endorse or not the development of an amusement park of brontosauruses and prehistoric giant birds of prey. The new movie is simply a pastiche of Indiana Jones and E.T. and nostalgic references to Jurassic Park with a former Navy SEAL trying to mentor some of the prehistoric creatures. And then there is the befuddled young female executive of the enterprise falling head over heels -- she never loses her high heels despite breathtaking runs -- in love with the SEAL.
Jurassic World is in fact indistinguishable from most contemporary blockbusters with lots of high tech chases -- here, simply substitute dinosaurs; and with lots of people being blown up -- here, simply substitute being eaten alive.
My suggestion to those that have the urge to see the movie is to rent Jurassic Park and see it twice, maybe three times. You'll get a lot more out of it than the current distortion of what was once and remains a great movie.
Or, if you are inclined to nevertheless see Jurassic World, reflect afterward on the new world of computer graphics and special-effects run wild. Ask if we have lost the sense of what makes great drama. For great drama, as Jurassic Park illustrates, begs us to consider the same questions that Sophocles and the ancient Greeks wrestled with: what is our personal and societal moral obligation in the face of unbridled greed and abandonment of respect for our natural world?
See Jurassic World and lament, for the new Jurassic Park is wired only for the momentary thrill of escaping the dinosaurs' jaws, or seeing others devoured by them. And millions around the globe are shelling out the money for this mindless thrill.
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