Life Finds A Way: Celebrating the Jurassic Park Franchise #8: The Dinosaurs

For film remembered for winning the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, the dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park film only show up on screen for a minimum of 15 minutes in the 2 hour runtime. For any one growing up with the movie, it felt like there was more, but much of that is due to Spielberg’s natural talent. Much like how Jaws is so much scarier because of what the viewer doesn’t see, allowing their imaginations to conjure up whatever frightening images they can dream up, in Jurassic Park as soon as viewers know there are dinosaurs on the island, their minds start running in thousands of different directions.

Further a total of seven dinosaurs are actually seen in the film. This includes four of the most popular dinosaurs: the Brachiosaurus, the Triceratops, the Parasaurolophus ( duck-billed dinosaur) and the T-Rex, two of the more obscure dinosaurs the Galimimus and Diloposaurs, and the films breakout stars the Velociraptor. A quick scan of the embryos in cryostorage on the park fills the gaps as it lists other dinosaurs they don’t see. Despite how imaginative it may be, the dinosaurs still “look” like how we always imagine them to be, as if they stepped out of our collective consciousness and into the silver screen, grounding it in a certain “hyper-realism”. As Spielberg noted in an interview about the making of Jurassic Park with Empire Magazine in 1993.

“This movie is not Alien, where they can take whatever form your imagination suggests. These are dinosaurs that every kid in the world knows.”

The Dinosaurs

 

 

 

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Life Lessons from Groot

So, here we are. It’s that time of year again. The school year is drawing to a close and that means graduation season is upon us. It’s the time when we love to give students advice, with the likes of Dr. Seuss, Maya Angelou, Walt Whitman and other literary titans. Apart from these Bartlet’s quotes, there’s also a few basic bits of advice every high school and college senior hears not only from friends and relatives but at commencement.

Let’s face it. We’ve all heard these phrases so many times and seen them attached to so many generic motivational posters that they’ve lost their impact .Well, what if there was an immensely popular character from film, television, and literature to help illustrate what these classic axioms mean? Who could this character be?

Well, its none other than that lovable Collusus Florus known as Groot. He was so kind to

I am Groot.

take time out of his busy schedule to come and talk with us.

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Life Finds A Way: Celebrating the Jurassic Park Franchise #7: Tim and Lex

While any responsible adult would probably not send a child to an island filled with dinosaurs, the stories in the Jurassic Park franchise usually develop a relatively plausible explanation as to why there are kids at this giant death trap in the first place. In the film, The Lost World, Kelly Curtis disobeyed her father, Ian Malcolm, and stowed away on his expedition to Site B. In Jurassic Park III, Eric Kirby was stranded on Site B after a parasailing accident near the island. In Jurassic World, Zach and Grey Mitchell are sent to Jurassic World to visit their aunt Claire.

However, chief among these young characters, is the brother sister duo of Tim and Lex Murphy. As Zach and Grey’s parents would do decades later, the Murphy kids are sent to the island to visit their relative to take their minds off of their impending divorce of their parents. On top of that, the book makes it clear that Hammond had his own sinister reasons for having the children on the island, as it would show the lawyers just how safe he felt the park was. After all, no loving grandfather would willingly throw the lives of his grandchildren away by making them into dino-chow.

While not as sinister as his literary counterpart, Hammond in the film when introducing the kids to the rest of the professionals invited to endorse his park still refers to Tim and Lex as the target audience for Jurassic Park. The goal behind the park, after all according to Hammond, is to introduce the world to creatures so astounding they’ll capture the imaginations of children everywhere. Children of all ages love dinosaurs. The best way to show  investors that the Park is indeed for everyone, is to show them the awestruck looks on the faces of the grandchildren of the man who built the park.

Tim and Lex

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“I am Iron Man” Celebrating 10 Years of Iron Man…and the Launch of the MCU

Avengers: Infinity War has been released, and to paraphrase Mantis, one of the film’s heroines, “it has been kicking names and taking butts” as it broke a number of box office records as the film has delivered on being the most unprecedented crossover event in film history. Earlier in the year Black Panther was heralded as a “game changer”, while the D-list superhero team the Guardians of the Galaxy has become a household name. Even Ant-Man has gained a level of cool thanks to his movie. Yet none of this would have been possible had the ground work for the universe had been laid down by another one very important superhero film known only as Iron Man.

It may not seem like it now as the character has become a household name, but Iron Man

Iron Man

was just as risky a gamble for the newly formed Marvel studios as the likes of Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther had been deemed. In fact, prior to Ol ‘Shell head, the only Marvel properties that had been huge hits at the box office were Blade, X-Men, and Spider-Man.  Further, when the summer of 2008 already had a highly anticipated superhero film looming in July in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Iron Man seemed like a long shot.

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Life Finds A Way: Celebrating the Jurassic Park Franchise # 6: Claire Dearing

Perhaps one of the detrimental aspects of the internet in regards to filmmaking is how every single detail of a film can be scrutinized before it is even released. Gone are the days when fans had to tune into Entertainment Tonight for a first exclusive trailer for a movie like Star Wars or Jurassic Park. Now fans can stream it in an instant and dissect it, and post their feelings on line. In some cases, they don’t even need to wait for a trailer to being analyzing it. All it can take is a lowly extra or crewman who doesn’t know the definition of the word “Non-disclosure agreement” leaking a script for fans to know the full story of the film. It is famously assumed that the horrible review on AIntItCoolNews of J.J. Abrams first draft scripts for Superman: Flyby was what killed a Superman movie from the man who would go on to serve as the helmsman for both Star Trek and Star Wars.

Never more was this more obvious then when one of the first trailers hit for Jurassic

Claire Dearing

World in 2014. Fans were instantly hooked by the Thanksgiving teaser that feature Chris Pratt riding on his motorcycle flanked by his dino-buddies and the sight of the Mossasauus eating a shark. But one thing in a trailer that rubbed people the wrong way was the female character, Claire Dearing.

In a clip from the movie included in the trailer we see Owen saying to her,

“You might have made them in a test tube, buy they don’t know that. These animals are thinking, “I gotta eat. I gotta hunt. I gotta…” You can relate to at least one of those things. Right?”

In “Why Bryce Dallas Howard is the hero of Jurassic World” for The Telegraph, Robbie Collin, described the tension between them thusly,

“Claire Dearing, the cooly capable operations manager of the film’s ill-fated theme park, which has finally opened for business, verbally spars with the park’s scruffy dinosaur wrangler Owen Grady, who’s played by Chris Pratt…She’s terse and task-focused while he haplessly attempts to flirt: it’s a spiky encounter straight out of the Princess Leia/Han Solo playbook.” Continue reading

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Life Finds A Way: Celebrating the Jurassic Park Franchise #5: Owen Grady

For many fans one of the flaws in the third Jurassic Park film came in the form of most of its supporting human characters. In The Lost World, John Hammond at least bothered to assemble an actual team of experts skilled in their respective fields, and the big game hunter Roland Trembo was surprisingly nuanced. However, in the Jurassic Park III, aside from Dr. Grant most of the humans were almost too dumb to live. The fact that the whole catalyst for the adventure began with someone disobeying a direct order from the governments of the United States of America and Costa Rica and the expressed wishes of

Owen Grady

John Hammond to stay away from Site B, is proof of this.

However, nether The Lost World or Jurassic Park III were able to come up with that right winning combination of characters. The Lost World may have had Ian Malcolm, but his warnings weren’t tempered by Grant’s love for dinosaurs. In contrast, the Dr. Grant of Jurassic Park III was a much different man from when he first set foot on the island in the original film. In fact the Jurassic Park franchise wouldn’t see a lead character that could really hold his own, on par with traditional adventure movie heroes until Owen Grady in Jurassic World.

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Life Finds A Way: Celebrating the Jurassic Park Franchise #4: John Hammond

It would take a person of great vision to dream up something like Jurassic Park, and not just as a film or a book. After all, such a person would have to possess not only the resources, both financial and scientific, but the passion to undertake such an endeavor.  It is even said by the characters in the Jurassic Park films and books that an one can build a zoo, and for that matter any one can build a theme park with rides. Jurassic Park, and subsequently, Jurassic World, are something else entirely.

This is an idea, one that common sense says is not a good one, and even the experts

John Hammond

brought in to the island to go on a tour of the facility say the same. A person, or in this instance, a corporation is using genetic engineering to bring dinosaurs back from the dead, and use them as amusement park attractions. At the head of this whole endeavor, is that person with great vision, John Hammond, the founder of InGen.

Right from the start, Hammond is a spellbinder, teasing Grant and Ellie with the wonders of his island, telling them, in the film,

                “Come on, sit down, sit down…I’ll come right to the point. I like you, both of you. I can tell instantly about people. It’s a gift. I own an island, off the coast of Costa Rica. I’ve leased it from the government and I’ve spent the last five years setting up a kind of biological preserve. Really spectacular, spared no expense. It’ll make the one I’ve got down in Kenya look like a petting zoo. And there’s no doubt, our attractions will drive kids out of their minds… And not just kids. Everyone.”

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