I recently watched this 30 minute talk on why Jurassic Park is all heart and why Jurassic World isn’t.
It’s a good talk. It examines the subtext in J Park and shows us where the subtext is and how it builds to form another narrative alongside the surface text of dinosaurs on the loose. The subtext is that of family, by the way.
Most Hollywood blockbusters have a family theme to them, what is an action story without romance of kids in peril after all, but not many do so with as much detail and love as J Park does, I think. I’ll admit, I didn’t recognise the subtext until it was pointed out to me in this video, but now I’ve seen it, it’s so obvious and def explains some of my warm feelings and impressions towards the film.
However, I think the comparison with J World could have been expanded upon. I’d like to see a demonstration of why the presenter thinks J World is devoid of heart, and is just about Chris Pratt and dinosaurs. I’d really like to see J World pulled apart like J Park was.
There is one clip in the presentation where the J Park T Rex scene where Rex comes out of the enclosure and threatens Dr Alan Grant and the kids is compared with the J World Indominus Rex against the raptors scene. The J Park one is about humans and their fear when faced with the monster, and how they form family units. It is filmed to focus on Grant and the kids, not on the Rex. It’s contrasted with the J World scene to show that J World has little humanity and is just about big fast paced dino fights.
But these scenes aren’t comparable. There are scenes in J World which show humanity against a monster – the one in the Rex enclosure. There are scenes in J Park which are cool dino fights. The T Rex against the raptors near the end, for example. J World doesn’t have a family bonding scene like J Park does, but it has a different subtext. There are plenty of family themes in J World, but they are pretty explicit, and surface text.
The subtext in J World is self referential. It’s a critique on how things need to be bigger, better, nastier, more fearsome, and how the joy is take out of them when that happens. Well maybe it isn’t subtext as it’s pretty obvious, maybe it’s more metatextual. Either way, J World isn’t meant to be warm and fuzzy. It’s meant to be cold, because that’s the state of affairs of sequels, and a film industry where you throw money at CGI and you forget about characters and you let the spectacle overtake the important stuff. J World is a critique of that state of affairs. It’s more intelligent than the presenter gives it credit for. I’d love to see his reasoning.