Jurassic World was fun… BUT it could have been better, right? We think so. Daryl and Jay are joined by Anthony Holdier from The Story Cauldron podcast to share our thoughts on how to make Jurassic World better! What do you think about the romantic elements? The dinosaurs? The overall plot? How could it be better?
Also, we did a follow-up LIVE Show on this same topic! If you want more Jurassic World content, you can get that, right here:
First of all, I think “Jurassic World” is a really fun movie. It did a good job capturing the sense of wonder and nostalgia I was hoping for from a “Jurassic Park” sequel. I actually took my bridesmaids to see “Jurassic World” on the Thursday night it opened in June 2015, since my wedding rehearsal was that Friday night and as avid geeks we didn’t want to miss the new movie in the Jurassic Park franchise. 😉 So whenever I rewatch “Jurassic World,” it brings back happy memories.
However, it’s also fair to say that “Jurassic World” isn’t a perfect film. The dinosaurs are great, and it was awesome to see them again on the big screen. Unfortunately, the human characters and the script itself aren’t *quite* as strong. So, here are three changes I would recommend to make “Jurassic World” a stronger film!
1. Don’t kill the assistant!
If you’re watching a “Jurassic Park” movie, you know that at least one character is going to get eaten. However, the death of Zara, the assistant/babysitter who is watching the two main kids in the film, sticks out as over-the-top and needlessly jarring.
The assistant is really just an innocent bystander, since Bryce Dallas Howard’s character Claire asked her to watch Claire’s nephews when this is something that Claire really should have been doing herself. As chaos erupts and dinosaurs start escaping, this assistant is picked up by pterodactyls and carried away (you probably know what scene I’m talking about, so I won’t describe it further).
This is a disturbingly brutal and drawn-out death for a family film, and to make it worse, her death is pretty much just forgotten about by characters that should have remembered her. If director Colin Trevorrow wanted the kids to be on their own for the rest of the movie, he could have easily kept them separated from the babysitter and then had a quick scene with her at the end to show that she was okay. The brutal death scene just isn’t necessary to the plot and ended up pulling me out of the film.
2. Flesh out the side plots a little more.
There’s a lot going on in “Jurassic World,” aside from all the rampaging dinosaurs. Not all these plot threads are capitalized on as effectively as they could be, which is why I wish the filmmakers had spent a little more time fleshing some of them out.
In the film, we learn that brothers Zach and Gray are being sent to visit their aunt Claire at the Jurassic World theme park to distract them from the problems going on at home (i.e. their parents are getting a divorce). Zach is pretty mean to his younger brother Gray about the whole thing. I wish the movie had devoted a tad more screen time to showing how the brothers deal with this issue and then come to rely on/trust each other despite the conflict within their family. We get a little of this, but I would have liked to see the film do more with the relationship between the brothers.
There’s also a somewhat unexpected subplot involving this guy who wants to weaponize dinosaurs. It’s a weird but interesting concept, and also, quite frankly, terrifying (imagine a T-Rex charging across a battlefield with a fleet of raptors behind it). However, this plot point isn’t fully developed, either, and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the film. Maybe it should have been cut and saved for a future movie.
Additionally, the film kind of glosses over NUMEROUS safety violations that occur during both the regular operation of the park and the disaster response. I feel like there should have been more conversations about how these safety violations were allowed to happen, especially since nobody really seemed to learn anything from the previous park disaster and the fact that LOTS OF PEOPLE GOT EATEN BY DINOSAURS.
3. Add some depth to Claire’s character.
There are a number of characters in “Jurassic World” who could have benefited from some additional depth, but probably the character I see complained about the most is Claire, the park’s operations manager. I like the idea of this character, but I do think it could have been executed better. This isn’t the fault of the actor; it’s the fault of the script.
Claire’s character comes off as cold/detached/uptight at times. I wouldn’t necessarily change that, because I think her personality provides potential for really interesting character development. What I wanted to know was why she’s cold/detached/uptight. There’s always a reason behind why people act the way they do, and knowing these reasons help us understand them better (whether it’s in fiction or in real life). Why is Claire not very involved with her extended family? Is she just busy, or is there some sort of tension behind the scenes? Maybe she and her sister had a disagreement or falling out in the past. Backstory like that would have added some much-needed layers to the story.
Also, I wanted to know how Claire actually feels about her job. Does she enjoy it? Was working at Jurassic World once her dream job, but now she feels disenchanted because of how the park and its dinosaurs have been commercialized? Maybe deep down she’s disappointed in herself for simply becoming part of the bureaucracy. Or, does she feel so much pressure from her boss to make this park succeed that she responds to the stress by pulling away from other people? Perhaps the reason she comes across as detached is because she feels she has to be that way to protect herself.
Because the film fails to dive more deeply into who Claire is and why she behaves the way she does, it’s difficult for the audience to empathize with her. Her relationship with Chris Pratt’s raptor trainer also doesn’t come across as terribly authentic, and doesn’t compare to the friendship between Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler in the original film.