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The Point People Are Still Missing About Jurassic World

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The new Jurassic World has already raised a number of thought-provoking questions, questions like: Should you attempt to train a pack of raptors (probably not), is it a good idea to send your unaccompanied child to dinosaur camp (nope), but, especially, what's the deal with the movie's Super Dino?

The new dinosaur — a giant, clever, genetically-modified hybrid created by the same crack team of Jurassic Park scientists that brought us the last group of dinosaurs that gnawed on our previous island-visitors — has understandably attracted a lot of attention. But that attention is obscuring one of the basic premises of the Jurassic Park world: Their dinosaurs have always been hybrids, created for the express purpose of spectacle.


As several commenters noted the theme has run through the entire trilogy:


There's a lot of people kvetching and stuff about Jurassic World. They talk about how it should better represent what we currently know about dinosaurs. They say it reinforces the "science is bad" themes of so many blockbusters. They ask why make a new dinosaurs when there's so many REAL dinosaurs to choose from. And I have to wonder if they're actually paying attention to what Trevorrow is saying and what's actually been shown not just of Jurassic World but of the entire franchise so far.

For one thing, there doesn't seem to be a "science is bad" narrative here. All the bad stuff in any of the films so far and is hinted to occur in JW is the result of naivete and corporate greed. Everyone seems pretty okay with the science, there's just some who urge more caution than others. In fact they all but conclude that sticking closer to the scientific method in general is the right way to go before opening a theme park.

Someone said Owen comes off as a Luddite, but I'm not sure you can call someone who only has a career thanks to genetically engineered monsters a Luddite.

As for making new dinosaurs when they have so many real ones to choose one, that's the thing, there's NEVER been a REAL dinosaur in Jurassic Park. That's always been one of the key points of the films. They're not representative of anything except what audiences, both in-universe and in real life, have mostly wanted out of dinosaurs. They are chimeras made from a potent mix of various other creatures, just the strongest samples happen to be from dinosaurs. They say this in the movies, they say this in the books. Not just the people who created them but the folks who observe them and know better as well.

Which leads to the next point, they didn't just go and make a new dinosaur for the first time ever starting with Jurassic World, they've never been doing anything BUT making new dinosaurs. Unless you think that rapidly aging giant velociraptors were thought to be the norm in 1993.


So great to hear someone who really GETS the themes of jurassic park. one of the only good/poignant bits in the the third film is when Grant talks about this in response to the entire auditorium wanting ask him about the big scaly birds.

"Now what John Hammond, and Ingen did at jurassic park was to create genetically engineered theme park monsters. Nothing more, and nothing less."

There's some interesting animal exploitation themes to be plumbed here as well me thinks.


I would add that, because of how fossil evidence works, people complaining about (currently) scientifically inaccurate representations of dinosaurs are missing a larger point about the limits of empiricism and evidence, versus the drive for spectacle, witness, and representation. These have been tensions in play in reconstructions, restorations, and museum displays of dinosaurs since the 19th century... But that's a whole other conversation.


Of course, this premise also, as commenter Mark points out, opens another door, and its one that we always want to take a walk through: The possibility for more feathered dinosaurs:

While I agree with some of this, I think it actually shows how feathers would have made sense for Jurassic World. When they (the fictional movie scientists) created the original dinosaurs, they didn't know they should have feathers. Now that they do, they alter the DNA accordingly to get them the appropriate feathers. They could even claim (perhaps correctly) that they took some effort to prevent the feathers the first time, not realizing it was coming from the dino DNA and not their fill-in technique.