And so it's here. The trailer arrived three days earlier than announced, but I can't say I mind.
I have reservations about this. I won't deny I'm quite excited, but there's also a bunch of story elements I knew would be involved that I'm worried about, since the trailer confirmed their presence.
Even though a lot of it is obviously digital (as is usual in trailers, since the movies they promote are still a work in progress, so I'm not gonna whine about that), I will say it looks pretty spectacular. There's a working park now, it has been in operation for a while, and everything seems to be running smoothly. The park looks state of the art and few people wouldn't want to visit something grandiose like this. There's monorails and gyrospheres and all types of futuristic gadgets, but at the same time iconic imagery like the Main Gate is present. That in itself recalls the folly of people making past mistakes all over again, considering the events of the previous JP films, which are not ignored since this is indeed a sequel of sorts, rather than a total reboot. Of course, cynics will say the set-ups offer little new narrative possibilities and they're not wrong, as in the end, it's still mostly about people running from hungry dinosaurs. Hollywood after all engages in the same type of recycling the JW scientists apparently do, but it's been that way for decades.
Of course, the primary new ingredient comes in the shape of a new dinosaur. An engineered dinosaur, that didn't ever exist before man went and created it. An actual theme park monster, called a Diabolus Rex (shitty name, I know). It's supposedly created to make for a more exciting attraction, as if ordinary dinosaurs aren't exciting enough. This troubles me somewhat, though it also sounds intriguing. On the one hand, the notion of the hubris of scientists to mess with nature's creations in order to spawn something that fits human desires is both straight out of the original book by Michael Crichton - where it goes even further in discussing the possibilities of cloning tiny and cute herbivores to make pets for people! - and right up Jurassic Park's alley of its main 'don't play God' philosophy. Hopefully the ethical debate involved in creating a tailor made dinosaur in a lab is seriously addressed, for it is indeed a fascinating and contemporary topic. However, it basically allows for dinosaurs to be turned into stereotypical 'movie monsters' even more than the Hollywood industry already emphasized them as. In comparison, both the first and second Jurassic Park movies had the decency to handle dinosaurs mostly as real animals. Dangerous and unpredictable animals of course, but still recognizable as not behaving all that differently from most present day animals.
On the other hand, the exact same notion is twisted the opposite way in this trailer's display of the Velociraptors, which are actually trained by the protagonist (Chris Pratt). These are not the highly intelligent vicious killers that assumed the spotlight in the previous movies as nearly psychopathic killers. Rather, they're simply predatory animals that can be tamed if raised by humans from birth, much as what happens to the likes of everyday dogs and cats, or even lions and tigers. Though on the one hand I applaud this concept of literally humanizing the otherwise lethal and too often demonized Raptors, I'm also quite hesitant about Pratt using them as his personal hit squad. Nevertheless, in this case a species of dinosaurs invariably portrayed as murderous monsters is shown as not being so black and white 'evil', but more relatable than we would have thought possible from the previous trilogy of films.
Then there's the Mosasaurus. It's staggeringly huge, probably for dramatic reasons, unless the final plot will reveal its size was genetically modified to make for a good sensational show, too. The gimmick of its eating Great White Sharks appears to be a typical 'because it looks cool' rationalization on the writers' part. I can live with that, even though I consider the idea of endangered species being served as food abhorrent and ridiculous. But who knows, maybe they have a lab on the island for the sole purpose of cloning Mosasaur snacks. Introducing a species of marine reptile largely feels like a gimmick. We've had the flying kind of prehistoric critter in the previous installment, now it's time for the aquatic type to make for diversity, is probably the studio's line of thinking. Fine, but please don't make it feel like a gimmick only. Add a bit of substance to it. And bother to explain where they found its DNA. Judging from its humongous size, I wouldn't be surprised if the plot makes good use of this beastie to defeat the rampaging D-Rex, as of course nothing else could kill this highly intelligent raving creation of science gone wrong. Doesn't matter, as long as it looks cool.
There's a lot of possibilities for the plot of Jurassic World to go south, from the looks of it. But if handled well, these same dubious plot elements could truly add to the franchise. On a more basic level, at least I like the look and feel, combining old and new, clearly revealing director Colin Trevorrow is a fan of the original. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, even though I'm not as wowed by this first trailer as I hoped I would be. Jurassic World is still a place I would visit instantly if given the chance, and of course the same goes for the movie. Nevertheless, I cannot help but remain skeptical. But I never for a second thought this film would ever come close to the original Jurassic Park anyway, and I'm not gonna hold that against it.
I mean, which dino fanatic could turn down a beautiful vista like this?: