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C'mon Hollywood: Where the hell is Jurassic Park 4?

09.04.2012

In 2008, author Michael Crichton passed away, leaving behind a legacy of both tapped and untapped material that will long outlast many of us.  One of those properties is JURASSIC PARK, a novel that sailed to the screen under director Steven Spielberg’s guidance, creating an epic “JAWS on land” dinosaur pic for the ages.  The film didn’t adhere strictly to Crichton’s novel (which is far superior to the movie), but managed to be one of the most groundbreaking sci-fi/adventure pics ever made, paving the way for what should’ve been a regular stream of like-minded entries.

In 1997, Spielberg again pillaged the pages of Crichton’s sequel, THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, making a kinda-sorta adaptation of the book, but injecting a heavy dose of Spielbergian gobbledygook to make it more in line with his sensibilities.  The film was a hit nonetheless, as it had plenty of T-Rex and Raptor action, plus Jeff Goldblum’s deadpan humor to carry it to the top.  While not as masterful as the first film, it delivered enough thrills and fun to warrant another trek to the big screen.

The least appetizing of the bunch came in the form of 2001’s JURASSIC PARK 3, this time with Spielberg handing the directing reigns over to Joe Johnston (THE ROCKETEER) and dusting off Sam Neill to reprise his role as Dr. Alan Grant (who was absent from THE LOST WORLD).  Despite his presence, the film didn’t pack the same punch as the previous entries, yet still managed to be a worthwhile vacation to a land where dinosaurs still live and breathe.  Even at its weakest, the JURASSIC PARK franchise still showed that it had wings. 

More than 11 years later we still haven’t seen a sequel, but have had a cavalcade of rumors, including reboots, false starts, new trilogies, and even weaponized dinos.  The most recent news has come from producer Frank Marshall, who said the film is “moving forward,” which is the equivalent of saying absolutely nothing.  The most promising news was the apparent hiring of Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) to pen a new script for the fourth film, but it’s not the first time someone’s been tapped for the gig.  Many have already tried and failed.

So, what’s the deal?  1993’s JURASSIC PARK proved that dinosaurs could “convincingly” roam the Earth again, something that’s been replicated in many lesser films (JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, LAND OF THE LOST) since then. CGI technology hasn’t exactly taken a step back in evolution either.  The effects get better and better each year, which also makes it much more affordable to make top-notch CGI (and practical) effects come to life. 

These are dinosaurs we’re talking about here.  Running around, terrorizing scientists and average folk, while wreaking havoc on everything around them.  As kids we’re inundated with dinosaurs, these long forgotten monsters that once owned the planet, creating an awe-stricken lore that stays with most of us forever.  JURASSIC PARK brought that childhood fascination to life in a way we’d never seen, coupled with the tech wizardry of Crichton and the spectacle savvy of Spielberg, it was like watching these childhood “myths” come to life.  There’s no mystery as to the allure of dinosaurs, but there’s plenty left to the question of why the hell they haven’t graced the screen under the JURASSIC PARK logo since 2001. 

Some would argue that there’s nowhere left to go; the “don’t f*ck with nature” thing has run it’s course and “how many times can you watch a dinosaur chase someone?”  Well, I have an answer: As many times as they put it onscreen!  Look, some people may not give a shit about JURASSIC PARK, but I think they’d be in the minority.  Watching well-rendered (CGI or otherwise) dinos chase modern-day humans never gets boring.  The story could be weak sauce or the actors may not sell it well, but dinos chasing humans? It’s like those Funniest Home Videos of the dad getting hit in the balls by his kid.  Never gets old.

The stop and go of this franchise has been a bigger mystery than the disappearance of the dinosaur’s altogether (Okay, maybe not THAT big, but still…). I just can’t seem to grasp why it would take 11 years to come up with a good idea to have man fighting dinosaurs again.  It’s not a fine wine.  It’s not politically “too soon”.  It no longer has to live up to an already published work.  It’s fair f*cking game!  At this point you could round up the cast of the prior JURASSIC PARK films, put them in an open field with a hundred different dinosaurs facing them and call “action!”  Instant box office smash!

Even now, with Marshall saying that another one is “years” away, the prospect of seeing another JP showdown is still in doubt.  Perhaps the release of JURASSIC PARK 3D next year is a test bed for whether or not folks want to see more, which is just silly.  Of course they do! There’s hundreds of story directions to go in, a bevy of talent to choose from, a franchise firmly rooted in multiple generation’s brains, and, you guessed it; dinosaurs.   We’re not reinventing the wheel, just resurrecting some old inhabitants for some simple man vs. nature thrills.  Is that so hard?   

Extra Tidbit: Let's hear you idea for a fourth film! Here's mine: Lex and Tim would both team up to save Dr. Malcolm and Dr. Grant, who were working to stop a massive migration of dinos from Central America to North America, which could potentially make dinosaurs rule the earth again. Heavy mix of action/tech with Neill Blomkamp directing. Now, it's your turn!
Source: JoBlo.com

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