Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Can dinosaur movies have too many dinosaurs?

Yes, against my better judgement, we're going there.
(Publicity image for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This image is too populous online to find its original source, so let's just assume it's the PR department at Universal/Legendary Pictures.)

So, that’s that. With the release of Jurassic World: Dominion the so-called “Jurassic Era” — which is what certain posters now want us to call the six loosely connected films in the Jurassic Park series — is over. Whether it's actually concluded will surely be determined by box office revenues more than creative necessity but, whatever: for the time being, the Jurassic Park movie series is officially finished.

However we feel about the Jurassic films, we have to acknowledge two facts about them. First, they represent a uniquely successful stream of palaeontology-inspired products. I can’t think of another string of dinosaur movies that have all had theatrical releases, nor has anything dinosaur-related ever generated so many billions of dollars. Once enough time has passed to fully gauge their impact, I’m sure palaeontological historians will give the Jurassic films serious study as a cultural phenomenon that shaped decades of conversations about prehistoric life. Whether we like it or not, 21st Century dinosaur outreach takes place in a big, Jurassic Park-shaped footprint stamped into pop culture.

Second, it’s not controversial to say that the Jurassic series has been critically divisive. Only the 1993 original is regarded as a classic and is widely, deservedly considered to rank alongside Spielberg’s best crowd-pleasers like Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Jurassic sequels, on the other hand, have made a lot of money, but fans and critics often clash about which, if any, rank above mediocre. 2015’s Jurassic World is generally regarded as the best sequel, perhaps aided by borrowing much of its plot structure from the original film, but even this has not escaped accusation of thin, contrived plotting and flat, boring characters. This is to say nothing of the series’ slide away from palaeontological science towards increasingly inaccurate, toyetic creature designs.

Moreover, and echoing broader trends in blockbuster cinema, the Jurassic films have also become increasingly action-orientated. This means, relative to the original, they feature many more dinosaur sequences. The new trilogy in particular is stuffed with as many dinosaurs as each film can bear. Box office receipts show that this elevated level of prehistoric mayhem has paid off, as least among general audiences and we can't truly blame the Jurassic filmmakers for adding more dinosaurs: they are, after all, making dinosaur movies. Aren't they just giving us what we want and expect? Maybe, but I suspect this is actually the fault line along which these films divide opinion. If you're the sort of person who punches the air every time a Jurassic film includes a new species, no matter how fleetingly and inconsequentially, you've probably enjoyed the last three films. If, however, you tire quickly of what can be repetitive dinosaur sequences and want a little more in terms of story and characterisation from your Jurassic experience, you're more likely to view this dino-centricity as mindless, dull prehistoric noise.

This raises the question of whether dinosaur films can, perhaps against expectation, go too far with their main draw: can they a dinosaur film actually have too many dinosaurs? The answer, of course, is a matter of opinion, but one way we might try to answer it objectively lies in revisiting the only Jurassic film we all agree is genuinely good: the original Jurassic Park. Were these filmmakers all in on dinosaurs, adding as many as their budget and technology would allow, or is the famously low dinosaur screen time of Jurassic Park a creative decision?

Now eventually you plan to have dinosaurs in your dinosaur film, right? Hello? Hello? Yes?

The story behind the script for the first Jurassic film is recounted in Shay and Duncan’s 1993 book The Making of Jurassic Park, and much of the following is taken from that source. The script took a long time to come together, going through several rewrites by different people. Original book author Michael Crichton was contracted to take the first stab at the film's screenplay but admitted that his heart was never in it. Crichton had literally just finished the novel and simply wasn’t interested in adapting the story so quickly after putting his own version to bed. A second treatment was penned by Malia Scotch Marmo, who’d just written Spielberg’s 1991 Peter Pan adventure Hook. Her version is notable for blending the character of Ian Malcolm with that of Alan Grant to give the latter more personality, as the weakly fleshed-out characters of Crichton’s novels were regarded as a problem that needed solving for the film.

Photograph of the essentially completed, but never used baby Triceratops built for Jurassic Park. The scene with this animatronic ended up being abandoned for creative reasons, despite the money invested in bringing it to completion. Fans would briefly see this guy in action during a very quick cameo in The Lost World, however. Image from Mike Tharme's Twitter feed.

But Marmo’s interpretation wasn’t well received either and, relatively close to the start of filming, another writer was hired for a third stab at cracking the story. Enter David Koepp, who you’re surely familiar with from some of the biggest blockbusters of the 1990s and 2000s: Jurassic Park and its first sequel, 1996’s Mission: Impossible, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, the 2005 War of the Worlds and… er… Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (hey, I didn’t say they were necessarily good blockbusters). Koepp proved to be the person who could finally tap the full potential of Crichton’s novel, perhaps because he and Spielberg agreed on a major problem with their source material: it had too many dinosaurs. Lest it be thought I’m generalising or paraphrasing, this is exactly how Spielberg described adapting the novel.

“Believe it or not… the first thing I thought was that the book had too many dinosaurs in it. I didn’t think it was physically possible to make a movie that chock-full of dinosaurs… What I wanted to do was boil the book down and choose my seven or eight favourite scenes and base the script around those. So we crunched the book.”

Steven Spielberg, quoted in Shay and Duncan (1993, p. 12)

Given that the first Jurassic Park was pioneering so many new special effects, we might assume that Spielberg’s reservations reflect limitations of technology and budget. But while these were surely limiting factors, they were not the only considerations when it came to losing dinosaur sequences. In fact, we know expensive effects were scrapped after script changes in at least one instance, when a year’s worth of development and production on an animatronic baby Triceratops was abandoned late in pre-production. This effect was intended for a whimsical scene where Lex Murphy would ride around on it, further demonstrating the "dinosaurs were not monsters" ethos etched into the writing and production philosophy of Jurassic Park. But Koepp found the scene interrupted the flow and tone of the film wherever he placed it in the script. As he explained:

“If we put the [Triceratops] ride before the T. rex attack, it slowed down the movie; if we put it after the T. rex attack, why would this kid who has just been attacked by a giant lizard go and ride one?”

David Koepp, quoted in Shay and Duncan (1993, p. 64)

Because Koepp was working on the screenplay at the 11th hour, this decision meant that work on the 1.5 m long baby Triceratops robot was abandoned literally days away from its completion, all so that the film would have a tighter, leaner story. As much as Koepp felt that the audience needed a reminder that dinosaurs were “innocent” animals following the T. rex attack, a child riding a bounding baby Triceratops would have been a tonal shift too far, and certainly out of character for a traumatised child. With this dinosaur scene cut, Koepp added a little more whimsy to the foraging Brachiosaurus sequence, allowing our shell-shocked characters to be reminded that dinosaurs aren't evil or vindictive. They're just animals, as Grant puts it, doing what they do.

Concept art for the Jurassic Park rafting sequence, swiped from the Jurassic Wiki. This doubtless would have been an action-packed scene, but would it have added anything to the film?

This was not the only planned dinosaur sequence that was cut for pacing and tone. Several parts of the novel that seemed tailor-made for cinema were abandoned, such as Muldoon tranquillising the Tyrannosaurus and the famous river sequence. The latter, where Grant and the kids escape a swimming T. rex in a raft, was included in all previous drafts of the screenplay and went as far as having concept art produced, but Koepp removed it without hesitation. In discussing why, he addresses the “too many dinosaurs” issue directly, noting that Crichton's novel was actually bogged down by its large number of dinosaur episodes. He remarked that “It seemed to me that at certain points in the book we were being taken on sort of an obligatory tour past every dinosaur the park had to offer", such that "the raft trip was rather redundant” (Shay and Duncan 1993, p. 55). Clearly, Koepp didn't consider dinosaurs for the sake of dinosaurs an excuse for their inclusion in Jurassic Park: they had to add something to the film to justify their presence. The result is that dinosaur scenes only constitute about 15 minutes of Jurassic Park’s two-hour runtime. Their off-screen presence drives the film, of course, but almost 90% of the film passes without a dinosaur in shot.

If we turn to literature, we find that this kind of reserved approach to creating a dinosaur story is in good company. Other classic works of "dinosaur" fiction such as Jules Verne’s 1864 Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Conan Doyle’s 1912 The Lost World and Ray Bradbury’s 1955 A Sound of Thunder feature prehistoric animals in memorable sequences but, like the first Jurassic Park movie, these are kept short and impactful. I wonder if this reflects a shared realisation about the narrative potential of fictional prehistoric animals: as initially exciting as they are, they quickly exhaust what they can contribute to a story. Most fictional dinosaurs invariably have to interact with people and their roles are essentially limited to inspiring awe or terror, which means their actions are either peaceful or violent. We can vary where and why these interactions occur, and we may gain additional mileage from featuring different prehistoric species, but it’s difficult not to basically rehash the same ideas and scenes over and over once dinosaurs turn up in a story. And because dinosaurs are real animals, we can’t ascribe crazy, unexpected biology or properties to them, either — not with a straight face, anyway. Jurassic World; Dominion was never going to end the series with a reveal that an evil interdimensional dinosaur was the real villain of the series all along, or show that the dinosaurs were really birthed by an awful, vengeful Megadinosaurus queen. More the pity, perhaps?

My take on the most famous scene from Ray Bradbury's 1955 A Sound of Thunder. This short story is possibly the ultimate example of lean dinosaur storytelling as it features only a single, short interaction with Tyrannosaurus. Despite this, it remains a highly effective, thought-provoking tale and contains some of the best prose describing the appearance and movement of a large theropod ever written. Check it out if you haven't.

Compounding these creative issues for dinosaur films are the huge budgets needed to create dinosaur visual effects. Movie dinosaurs are so costly that their films must appeal to broad, mainstream audiences to be financially viable, and this means avoiding creative choices that will alienate casual viewers, especially children and families. Anything too scientific and “boring” is unlikely to feature, as is anything too violent or horrifying. This, I suspect, is why the Jurassic films are the only game in town for dinosaur motion pictures. Whether humans meet dinosaurs through time travel, in a “lost world” setting or via resurrection from fossils, the Jurassic films are already exploring the full remit of what movie dinosaurs can do. There’s probably not enough creative space for another franchise to present their own, fully distinguished take on dinosaur scenarios, especially given the potential financial losses if such efforts flopped.

Back to the Park

In representing its own contained franchise, the Jurassic series represents a unique case study of attempts to escape these creative restrictions. But it seems fair to say that, even after six instalments, the franchise never really figured out how to get more agency from its reptile stars. Repetition, not innovation, is the order of the day, leading to essentially the same moments playing out in each instalment (as super-seriously scientifically documented by Dave Hone, see his tweet below). Instead of new dinosaur dramas, we simply get more of the same dinosaur scenes. This suggests a creative ethos of, when in doubt, add more dinosaurs!

Ramping up the dinosaur content began in the first Jurassic sequels but reached its apogee within the most recent films. Whereas Jurassic Park slowly led us into the world of recreated dinosaurs and established its setting, characters and story before letting dinosaur havoc commence at the one hour mark, the sequels have started their action sequences earlier and earlier. Jurassic World has Velociraptors attacking their handlers after 25 minutes, people are visibly chomped in the first five minutes of Fallen Kingdom, and Dominion is the least patient of all, showing prehistoric animals attacking people within the first minute. And this is where we can start to explore whether an “add more dinosaurs” approach has drawbacks, because all these extra dinosaur scenes absorb time from the fabrics that actually tie films together: stories, characters and themes. And, OK, we might ask who is really watching a dinosaur film for great characters and stories, but we've seen that perfectly serviceable, universally-liked dinosaur films can be done (Jurassic Park) and, moreover, screenwriters should be aiming to have something to hang a film on to give their dinosaur action agency. Putting characters in peril is toothless if we don’t care whether they survive or not. Writing a "dinosaur film" doesn't excuse filmmakers from attempting to make the best, most engaging film they can.

Viewed from this perspective, Fallen Kingdom and Dominion are especially full of what is ultimately pointless dinosaur action, wheeling out prehistoric animals to menace our heroes for a short time (often less than a minute) before moving on to the next, equally pointless encounter. Portions of these films are like riding a dinosaur-themed ghost train where dinosaurs pop out to roar at us before disappearing into the shadows, never to be seen again. And lest it be thought I'm some sort of film snob (I'm not: my benchmark for enjoying most films is how closely they approximate Evil Dead II), the tedium of such scenes was not lost on Steven Spielberg himself, who has candidly spoken of how bored he was making the (relatively) dinosaur-heavy The Lost World:

“I beat myself up…growing more and more impatient with myself… It made me wistful about doing a talking picture because sometimes I got the feeling I was just making this big silent-roar movie… I found myself saying ‘is that all there is? It’s not enough for me.’”

Steven Spielberg, quoted in McBride (2011, p. 455)

It’s hard not to contrast this creative approach and the impact of these dinosaur sequences with those of the first film. Jurassic Park clearly relied on the tried and true creative philosophy of “less is more” and carefully managed its story and tone so that its dinosaur action scenes, once unleashed, were genuinely exciting. But the successive films seem to have embraced a “more is more” approach that prioritises dinosaur violence over anything else. For me, this is one of the main reasons that the Jurassic World series has been such a flatline: the overabundance of dinosaurs roaring and fighting starts to get in the way of the films, actually undermining my enjoyment despite, in theory, adding to the excitement. To give an example, here are six minutes of the Fallen Kingdom volcanic eruption set piece. This takes place, for context, about 35-40 minutes in:


What stands out here is, first; wow, there are heaps of dinosaurs packed into this segment, but second, most are disposable, throwaway additions. The Baryonyx, which is never named, set up or returned to, comes and goes within 90 seconds. Likewise, the Allosaurus menacing the tumbling gyrosphere is there for a moment, and then gone. Clearly, the most important dinosaurs are the stampeding collective: they're what is really driving the action and story at this point, along with the erupting volcano. To give credit where it's due, I actually find the fleeing dinosaurs and eruption pretty engaging (as ridiculous as the galloping ankylosaurs and so are ) and, as our heroes shelter behind a fallen tree being smashed to pieces by charging dinosaurs, I'm curious to see what happens next. But then everything stops... so we can have a quick dinosaur fight scene. No more eruption, no more stampede. All the scene's momentum is discarded so Carnotaurus can slowly stalk around the human characters before getting into a fight with Sinoceratops. Why these dinosaurs are fighting rather than fleeing like all the rest isn't clear, but within seconds none of it matters: the Carnotaurus is put down (killed? I'm not sure) by the passing Tyrannosaurus, which then stops to roar in defiance despite the island literally exploding behind it. The T. rex then leaves, paying no attention to the humans, and the eruption and dinosaur stampede resumes as if someone has thrown a switch offscreen.

Along with killing all momentum, this dinosaur fight is confusing and, uh oh, gets us asking questions about the film. Why weren't these dinosaurs running away? Why didn't the Carnotaurus predate the easily-caught people instead of breaking off to attack a multi-tonne horned dinosaur? Why did the T. rex attack the Carnotaurus and then just walk off? Does T. rex watch Parks and Recreation and wanted to help out Andy Dwyer? Where did all the stampeding dinosaurs go? While the Baryonyx and Allosaurus portions are so superficial and inconsequential that they don't hurt the flow of the film by themselves (if, admittedly, such incessant "dinosaur cameos" of the World films do become repetitive and grating, especially in Dominion), the Carnotaurus sequence totally distracts from what should be our main focus at this part of the film. I guess the logic was that giant reptiles fighting is exciting and will thus make the eruption more engaging, but it actually does the opposite: it sucks energy and drive from the movie. It also presents a problem for story progression because it leaves the film struggling to raise the stakes later on. How do you create a situation more dangerous and exciting than dinosaurs fighting on an exploding island? Doesn’t everything seem a bit flat and dull after that? These additions are so out of place that I strongly suspect they were only added because the film otherwise lacked large theropods fighting, as if that's the only way to put drama into a dinosaur film.

Unrelated clip from Jurassic Park.

The irony in this, of course, is that the World films also revel in nostalgia for the first Jurassic Park, and yet the creative philosophy behind them is almost antithetical to that used by Koepp and Spielberg. In my view, this it shows little understanding of what made the first film great. We talk a lot about how the revolutionary dinosaur effects of Jurassic Park were integral to its success, and how its portrayal of post-Dinosaur Renaissance science blew audiences away. We also acknowledge that Jurassic Park is a rare "lightning in a bottle"-style production, the output of some of the best filmmakers of the early 1990s working at the top of their game. These are all true points, but we should add “creative restraint” to this list of success factors. A “less is more” dinosaur philosophy allowed for a logical, well-paced story with likeable, charismatic characters and truly iconic, memorable dinosaur scenes. It might only be 12% dinosaurs, but that's enough to make their screen time special and satisfying without any risk of it becoming boring or repetitive. This allows the dinosaur sequences to be the emotional high points of the movie, all choreographed perfectly to the developing story. The super-tense mid-movie T. rex attack initiates the start of chaos on the island. The Velociraptor kitchen scene ups the ante as we approach the climax, suddenly throwing the kids — hitherto shielded by adults against danger — against two smart, deadly predators. And the climactic battle between Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus finishes the film with a flourish, saving our heroes at the last moment in the most exciting way possible. These are dinosaur action sequences that build upon one another and drive the story, such that we know, intuitively, where we are in the movie. You needn’t look at your watch to know that the sight of the Tyrannosaurus roaring as the “when dinosaurs ruled the Earth” banner slips past means the film is over. This is blockbuster entertainment done with real craft and care, and it remains the best dinosaur film ever made not despite its lack of dinosaurs, but because of its lack of dinosaurs. It’s no surprise that the World films mine the iconography of Jurassic Park so frequently because, in never taking a break from throwing dinosaurs around, they never established compelling enough stories, characters or moments to create their own iconic elements.

So perhaps, as contradictory as it seems, the Jurassic film series makes a case that dinosaur films can work a lot better when they have fewer dinosaurs or, at least, when dinosaur action isn't prioritised over more fundamental and important components of filmmaking. The problems outlined here are not unique to the Jurassic sequels, of course: we could level the "too many dinosaurs" criticism at plenty of other films, from Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong to even the likes of 1966’s One Million Years BC. And I think it's important to add that "too many dinosaurs" doesn't necessarily ruin a film, but they might diminish our enjoyment to greater or lesser extent.

Ultimately the point made here is just a dinosaur-specific reminder that special effects and action alone do not make good films: it's memorable stories, characters and situations that resonate most with critics and audiences alike. So if this really is the end of the Jurassic franchise, let’s hope that the next generation of dinosaur films doesn’t just bring fresh ideas, fresh stories, and fresh palaeontological science to our screens, but that they also reflect on a crucial question for this niche genre. Can dinosaur movies have too many dinosaurs? Well, if you want everyone to enjoy your film, and you want to make a film that will last the ages, then maybe yes, yes they can.

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References

  • McBride, J. (2011). Steven Spielberg: A Biography, 2nd edition. University Press of Mississippi.
  • Shay, D., & Duncan, J. (1993). The Making of Jurassic Park. Ballantine Books.


9 comments:

  1. In general, no a movie about Dinosaurs cannot have too many Dinosaurs. Just as a movie like Topgun about Aircraft Pilots can't have too many airplanes, so too with Dinosaur cinema.

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  2. I have in part to disagree. It is not the number and frequency of dinosaurs, but the way these scenes integrate with the rest of the movie which makes dinosaur presence/absence well-done. Take as example the super-mega-amazing desert scene in Prehistoric Planet set in the Nemegt Basin, with literally >200 dinosaurs around a water hole. Imagine such scene wisely included inside a well-done Jurassic Park movie directed by a smart visionary director vs the same scene into a badly-writtem Jurassic World Dominion directed by director with no idea of what actually do with such scene. In the fist case, we'd likely remember it as the "amazing mass scene", in the second case as "that dino orgy nonsense". Dinosaurs in dinosaur movies are never "too much" if the rest of the movie is a real movie and not just a sequence of randomly included dumb scenes.

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    1. I think we're in agreement: to clarify, I don't mean "too many dinosaurs" in the literal sense of number of dinosaur individuals in a film, but more as shorthand for "too much senseless dinosaur action", as you describe. You could weave whole populations of dinosaurs into the right plot and still have a good film.

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    2. I think that's cool. I would point out that most of these problems are a problem of Michael Bay's approach to film making. According to Leslie Ellis, noted youtube film critic, the Bay approach is to fill up the film with as much action as possible, without regard to story structure of dramatic effect.

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  3. I think that something that you overlooked is, as Tom Parker pointed out on Twitter, a large incentive for adding more species is likely more profits for Mattel. I highly doubt that scaly Atrociraptors or Deinonychus (since that's what they originally were in the concept art) were ever in-demand dinosaurs in the same way that the Giganotosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus, and Therizinosaurus were, especially since the "Velociraptors" are already just misnamed Deinonychus. My hypothesis on their inclusion is as follows. Universal was hesitant on only including feathered raptors in addition to Blue. Colin Trevorrow likely originally just had regular InGen / Masrani "Velociraptors" in the Malta scene. Mattel wanted new scaly raptor species instead. After all, presumably, a child can more easily convince his or her parents to buy a dinosaur toy if it's a new species rather than just a new paint job. After Trevorrow changes the Malta raptors to Deinonychus, Universal calls and requests a cooler sounding name ending in "raptor." This results in the Atrociraptors. I've thrown this hypothesis around on Discord, and no one's ever come up with a better reason for featuring Atrociraptor instead of more "Velociraptors." Mattel wanting more money is probably the only real reason why Battle at Big Rock also exists, especially given the price tag on that short film.

    Even if dinosaurs are limited in what they can do on-screen, I disagree that this franchise has already plumbed the depths of all possibility. There's a lot of source material out there that can be adapted. Ethan Storrer (helped create the Battle at Big Rock Allosaurus) said in his interview with Klayton Fioriti that industry has declined adaptations of video games Turok and Dino Crisis cause they felt that dinosaurs belonged to Universal. A lady on Twitter (apologies; can't remember her handle) commented that she has a dinosaur-themed screenplay that was rejected for likely the same reason. I'm still surprised that no one's tried to adapt Dinotopia again. There's also the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs comics and Dino Riders TV show. Maybe Marvel will one day feature Devil Dinosaur or the Savage Land. Apparently, a lower budget adaptation of the self-published novel Primitive War is in development. I'm also a bit surprised that Disney has yet to remake their 2000 Dinosaur movie.

    Undoubtedly, the biggest obstacle to any of these adaptations is that they need a big budget or have to settle with lower quality effects or less screen time for the dinosaurs. Big budgets are risky in this franchise-dominated movie market, though I'll blame audiences as much as studios for that. Given everything that you wrote here, less screen time might be best, though it'll always mean that some fans of any of the aforementioned source material will be disappointed that something was cut.

    My personal head canon for the T. rex ("Rexy") killing the Carnotaurus in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is that she's exhibiting similar behaviour to a lion killing a hyena: eliminating competition. I've no clue what Trevorrow was thinking with that scene, but I think that, timing during a volcanic eruption aside, my logic seems at least plausible.

    While it'd be nice if there was more focus on the new species, I can't say that I wasn't at least a little delighted that more interesting species like the Therizinosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus, and Pyroraptor were included in Dominion, even if very briefly.

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  4. "If you're the sort of person who punches the air every time a Jurassic film includes a new species, no matter how fleetingly and inconsequentially, you've probably enjoyed the last three films. If, however, you tire quickly of what can be repetitive dinosaur sequences and want a little more in terms of story and characterisation from your Jurassic experience, you're more likely to view this dino-centricity as mindless, dull prehistoric noise."

    That reminds me of my favorite quote from RickRaptor105's JWFK review ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5G0OdV8sY0 ): "If all you care about are dinosaurs chasing people, you will love [Fallen Kingdom]...but a problem is Jurassic Park used to be about much more than that. The first movie had great characters with great interactions and actual ethical discussions. If you remove Jurassic Park's heart and intelligence, you get Jurassic Park 3. If you add additional stupidity, you get [Fallen Kingdom]". CC is the only JP sequel I can honestly describe as having "great characters with great interactions and actual ethical discussions", especially in S3.

    "Anything too scientific and “boring” is unlikely to feature, as is anything too violent or horrifying. This, I suspect, is why the Jurassic films are the only game in town for dinosaur motion pictures."

    That reminds me of my comment on Alteori's "DINOSAUR 2000" review ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jylThNVxHMU ): "I'm glad you pointed out the Carnotaurus killing those almost-ready-to-hatch baby Iguanodon & also mentioned Tarzan (which begins w/a leopard killing a cute little baby gorilla). I've been thinking about both movies recently in reference to how disappointing Dominion is: 1 of the best/darkest parts of the JP novels is when the compys eat the baby, yet no kids have ever been eaten in the movies; Dominion had the perfect opportunity to change that w/dinos & pteros re-taking over the world (& thus, conflicting w/humans much more than in the other movies) & wasted it; If Disney can kill off cute little baby characters multiple times, why can't the JP/JW franchise do so even once despite having MUCH more reason to?"

    "the tedium of such scenes was not lost on Steven Spielberg himself, who has candidly spoken of how bored he was making the (relatively) dinosaur-heavy The Lost World:"

    As others have said elsewhere, the TLW movie should've stuck closer to the TLW novel as originally planned.

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  5. The Jurassic films are making dino porn, it's like asking if a porno can have too much sex. When your audience is dino-horny 13 year olds the answer is no.

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  6. If they let the actors act and the dinosaurs be dinosaurs the movie would be better than having non stop specticle.

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  7. These truly are confusing times. Most people I've seen critiquing Dominion said that the movie focused too much on the humans or that the scenes featuring dinosaurs were too short.

    I btw have to disagree with putting Peter Jackson's King Kong onto this category. One of the major complaints people had at the time with the movie was that it took what felt like 40 min until the characters even reached the island (personally, I liked the build-up). And unless you want to talk about monster scenes in general and include the bug pit and the titular ape himself, there's only two dinosaur scenes in that movie, the stampede and the V. rex fight. They actually filmed a lot more, like an ambush attack by a ceratopsian, but those were cut for time and pacing. Weta Workshop went as far as designing a whole Dixonian ecosystem for their version of Skull Island, but most of those designs only saw the light of day in a spec-evo companion book.

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