Day 63. 176 pages, 86,923 words.
The trailer is out, for anyone who is even remotely interested in this sort of thing but has fallen down in their house and had something heavy land on their legs rendering them unable to get to a computer for the last couple of days (can we get some help for those people, by the way? Maybe a kickstarter. I hear good things about the kickstarter).
And of course, already the palaeontologists are mad about it.
Come on. Frankly, the originals looked fake.
Well, at least the pointless and rather silly palaeontologists who haven’t been paying attention. They get mad easily, because they have wasted their lives digging up fake bones Noah and his friends buried as a prank, and they just can’t accept that.
Seriously though, I can’t help but feel they might just have missed the boat on the whole “complaining about inaccuracy” on this one. For a start, didn’t the founding premise – mosquitoes drink blood of dinosaurs, get trapped in amber, we extract DNA – prove to be impossible a few years ago, because we found out that any trace of DNA would have been long gone? Not Crichton’s fault, but if they want to keep making Jurassic Park movies, they either need to keep setting them in the Nineties-Crichton universe, or come up with some new way of making dinosaurs.
Hasn’t there been some luck with back-breeding recessive genes to make wolves, mammoths, stuff like that? Maybe that would work with sharks and crocodiles. In fact shit, that sounds like a whole new genus of monster movies right there, as they work their way back through the recessive generations towards the older forms.
Shit, I should probably have copyrighted that. Still, I’m sure someone’s on the case. Go and make those movies.
And then make this in the process.
Anyway, the point is, if you ignore some of the new fossil findings, the new scientific evidence about DNA, the stuff about dinosaur evolution and feathers, sooner or later you end up having to make a plain old-fashioned film that ignores a lot of moden knowledge. You end up with John Carter. Written before we knew diddly squat about Mars, but does that really matter? Even if he travels to distant-past Mars, would he have those abilities? Would the atmosphere and temperature support human life? Were there ever Tharks? The answer to all these questions is “probably not, but do the movie anyway and we’ll just ignore that shit.”
The Jurassic Park quandary is basically this, happening as we watch. A science fiction story that captured our imaginations is being debunked and disproven and sidelined by modern discoveries. And that’s OK. They can’t all predict the future with uncanny accuracy. But we can probably still try enjoying them on some level.
Now, these complainers, okay. They’re palaeontologists. But like I say, missing the boat on some of their complaints. One of them actually tweeted something like “Jurassic World looks like a really fun monster movie. You want dinosaurs, go to your local museum afterwards.”
Spot-on. Well done. Oh, if only someone in the movies themselves had already said this.
“Dinosaurs lived sixty-five million years ago. What is left of them is fossilised in the rocks, and it is in the rock that real scientists make real discoveries. What John Hammond and InGen did at Jurassic Park is create genetically-engineered theme park monsters. Nothing more and nothing less.”
But sure, that’s an Alan Grant quote from Jurassic Park 3, I wouldn’t expect you to have remembered it. The point is, I pretty much realised this truth as soon as “frog DNA splicing” and “they’re all female oops they’re all hermaphrodites” came into play. A lot of the joy went out of the Jurassic Park thing – for me – when I realised that they were not really trying to do a movie with dinosaurs. It was a movie adaptation of a cool but rather shonky-Nineties-science-based science fiction novel, with things that sort of looked like dinosaurs.
No, that’s … oh hi Glenn.
And sure, for me this was the first in a string of obscurely disappointing revelations about Michael Crichton’s books. Like the one about time travel where they didn’t actually time-travel, just quantum-shrinkplopped into a different universe altogether where it was three hundred years earlier, and presumably some other version of them quantum-shrinkplopped from some other universe into our own one three hundred years earlier, in order to – by staggering quantum coincidence – leave clues in an archaeological dig to get them to whatever. I don’t know, I don’t remember the book all that well, aside from the King being tortured with a red-hot iron bar up the pooper through a wooden tube so there wouldn’t be any visible signs of torture, you know, apart from him being dead from gastrointestinal rupture. And the crushing disappointment of realising there were at least three different versions of the characters and / or universe, so who cares what happens to any of them?
 Or – dang, was that other universe three hundred years ahead of us, so three hundred years ago when they quantum-shrinkplopped, they ended up doing it into our three-hundred-years-in-the-past? There’s a movie there, too, you know. Quantum variations from the distant future shrinkplopping into our present? No?
And the one about the sphere that they find in a crashed spaceship and I can’t even end this sentence because it was so disappaaaauuuugh
But yes, I actually sat and read the comments for a little while, because they seemed more reasonable and less ranty than usual websites. They seemed to boil down to explanations of the perceived errors, and advice against expecting too much perfect accuracy in a movie.
And many of them covered the ground I’ve covered above. The in-story continuity would be wrecked by the new data, because this seems to be a sequel and not a reboot. A reboot would need to take into account all the other discoveries that made the original Jurassic Park not work, so you’d have to change a lot more than the appearance of the dinosaurs.
Of course, where do you draw the line in the recreation of classic old science that we know looks different now? I mean, we wouldn’t copy some of those really old “Lost World” style Harryhausen dinosaurs, right? They were wrong. They were awesome, but now we know dinosaurs didn’t really look like that. InGen might as well manufacture them to look like that again. Why not? Anything goes, right?
And we come full circle.
Personally, I hope they just ignore this whole thing altogether, although I suppose a subtle lampshading of the old-fashionedness of the dinosaurs, properly done, could point out the inaccuracies and explain them away in-universe by saying they didn’t test well with theme park patrons.
Yes, they could also trot out the “frog DNA means no feathers” excuse, but frankly I find it helps my enjoyment of these movies if I can minimise my exposure to any reminder that these are fake dinosaurs mixed up with bits of frog genes. It just spoils the fun for me.
Maybe the hybrid super-dino in this one is meant to be a way through that problem, if not around it.