As we speak, an approved, green-lighted script for Jurassic Park 4 is headed for production, with a director (Colin Trevorrow) and everything. Terrific, seeing how Jurassic Park 3 left everything nice and fresh, what with that corny rescue-courtesy-of-a-Marine-Corps-beach-landing ending and all.
The impending JP4 sequel opens the question: When will America get tired of over-milked film premises? I mean, what can we expect from Jurassic Park 4 that we haven’t seen in the first three films? Kids in danger, cut of from adult protection? Narrow escapes from dangerous predators? Some dislikeable scumbag getting eaten? Oh! Let’s do something with dinosaur poop! There’s a change in direction! Let’s involve some sort of disgusting dinosaur excretion at least.
Whatever filmmakers decide on, it seems to heavily rely on coming up with a premise and sticking with it until it’s totally burned-out. The series of Star Trek films and Jaws films are two rather gruesome examples of serial film notions getting pounded to a creative pulp. Yet, we as American film-goers don’t mind the lack of originality. When it comes to viewing films, we Americans do have a tendency to go scurrying back to that which is blatantly familiar. I’m not certain when America’s addiction to repeat themes in films began. Is it related to the Planet Of The Apes series, or the James Bond series? Does it go back to the string of Bob Hope/Bing Crosby ‘road’ movies? Does it go back to the string of Tarzan movies in the 1930s and 1940s? Do the Three Stooges have something to do with it?
You can surely bet that the next Jurassic Park film will present for us some new species of dinosaur that we have yet to meet. We had the big T-Rex/Spinosaurus showdown, the sneezing Brachiosaurus, the pack-hunting raptors, the frilled lizard-looking muppet that spit poison mud in the face of Newman from Seinfeld, the Pteranadons giving everybody the North-By-Northwest treatment, and only the briefest appearances from the coolest dinosaurs, like that constipated Triceratops. So who are we going to see up close this time? Any hadrosaurs with speaking roles? A Stegosaurus swinging his tail spikes at people?
One thing that strikes me as odd is the enduring name of the series: Jurassic Park. As in, Jurassic Park. The place doesn’t really seem much like a tourist attraction anymore. The whole “Park” angle of the place was pretty much out the window after the first movie. The inmates have pretty much been over-running the asylum ever since. Why these films are still titled Jurassic Park is pretty much tied to product recognition, I guess.
See, I tried personally to break the predictability cycle where this particular film sequence is concerned. Here was the the speculative sceenplay that I wrote for Jurassic Park 4 that, naturally, was rejected all over the place. It works like this: A jerk-off geneticist gets loose on the island and engineers a specimen that is half-human, half Velociraptor. Through the years, he educates this Veloci-human to speak and think like the rest of the human population. It works: Here we have a life form that thinks and communicates like a human; but looks like, and is driven by, the same impulses as a Velociraptor. This becomes something of a problem, dag-nabbit, when the Veloci-human eats the geneticist. The Veloci-human, named Vel, escapes from the island, surfaces in the United States, and writes an autobiography. He goes on a speaking tour, captivates people with his remarkable story of courage, gets a couple of suits at Brooks Brothers, and decides to run for president of the United States as a Republican candidate under the name of Vel Shannon. (Because he ran away from the island, you see. He’s a runaway. A run-run-run-run-runaway.)
He’s a smooth talker and all, but political hard-liners of all kinds freak out. Christian conservatives get creeped out by the notion of this guy being half-human, half-dinosaur, can’t reconcile it with their anti-evolution Biblical beliefs, and start committing suicide by the thousands. This represents the comedic relief in the film. Wall Street Occupiers and limousine liberals flee the country en masse to Canada. I mean, if you thought Rick Santorum was stuck in the past, then what the hell do you do with this guy? When the nation’s post mass-suicide, post-mass exodus voter base re-settles in time for November, Vel Shannon is elected in as president of the United States, America’s first-ever commander in chief with a tail.
Here’s where things start to go wrong. Vel decides on a unilateral foreign policy philosophy that isolates the nation in the global community. He decides on a my-way-or-the-highway domestic policy, enacting measures to destroy labor unions, decentralizing the nation’s banking system, and becomes obsessed, for some strange reason, in channeling billions of dollars into installing a global system designed to detect and destroy incoming asteroids. At one point, Vel is replacing cabinet members regularly, because they keep turning up missing. That’s when two crack reporters at the Washington Post reveal that Vel has been eating a steady flow of cabinet members — a development that they are able to confirm by obtaining a review of White House emails. Since no federal statutes exist for prosecuting a half-human/half dinosaur for half-cannibalism, Vel is instead found in violation of three of the four articles of impeachment, and thus removed from the office of the presidency of the United States. He retires to California and lives out his life in semi-seclusion in the Palm Springs area. He opens a presidential library somewhere in Orange County, and occasionally dodges suspicion in connection with the disappearance of various illegal immigrants.
I don’t care what anybody says. That’s a good sequel!