As some of you may well be aware, Jurassic Park IV: Dinosaurmaggedon is fast approaching. From what I've read on the interweb, the film is, at the very least, in pre-production. I've read at least three "insider"treatments of the screenplay, most of which involve the dinosaurs getting off the island(s). Raptors in central park? Pterosaurs torturing little-leaguers? The possibilities are endless. I'm sure my readers are well aware of this, but the Jurassic Park series just gets a little worse with each passing sequel. The first film blew my mind like no other had. The second film was...well...it was there. The third film made me laugh.* But now that the rumor mill has started back up for Jurassic Park 4, I fear that When Raptors Attack may not be that far off. What would I like to see in JP4? And more importantly, what would I be adverse to?
1) Don't hire Jack Horner as your consultant. There are many strikes against using Mr. Duckbill, including the awful JP3 DVD interview in which he lies to us by making mention of reasonably complete Spinosaurus remains (which he calls a "superpredator"), and then remarking how he basically stood by and did nothing while the animators showed him a clip of the bulky giant running faster than it probably could in real life. Also, did anyone see those chiropterosaurs?** I was mortified, but maybe flying reptiles aren't Horner's field...
2) Jurassic Park was good partially because, at the time, it successfully blended current scientific knowledge with monster movie fare. Yeah, Deinonychus might not have hunted in packs, but if you strip the feathers off (and snarling lips), that's basically what it looked like. The Lost World used basically the same dinosaurs, but added an interesting hunting method for the dromaeosaurs and parenting techniques for the tyrannosaurs. I do not object to any of this. In fact, The Lost World may be the best attempt at scientific accuracy in the series. But by the time JP3 comes along, it's clear that the effects team was shooting from the hip, making the dinosaurs more movie monster than living, breathing animal. Let's get back to the basics. Dinosaurs were living animals, and they were awesome. In fact, they were awesome without any Hollywood flair. Keep that in mind, movie-people.
3) A larger focus on herbivorous dinosaurs would be appreciated. Again, The Lost World leads the way here, showing what happens when you mess with a cow Stegosaurus. I dispute the idea of parental care by a thyreophoran (no evidence for it), but the scene in question demonstrates that it isn't just the theropods that were dangerous. There was a scene in the second book where a dude is stuck in a jeep that's surrounded by pachycephalosaurs. I would like to see that scene. I'd also like to see a large ornithopod get attacked by a single large carnivore or a group of small ones. That would utterly kick ass.
4) Please, please, please give us some new dinosaurs. If you have to keep the raptors, at least give them feathers. The technology must be there by now. While it's true that feathers are much more difficult to render and animate than mammalian hair, I'm sure you've got the money. Anyway, oviraptoroids might have been mean buggers, troodontids too. Or what about a roving gang of Coelophysis? Those guys fight dirty.
5) It doesn't have to be a humans vs. dinosaurs story. I've always thought it would be cool to make a movie about humans documenting life on the islands, Planet Earth-style. The humans could have adventures in getting the awesome shots or whatever. All people are seeing the JP films for are the dinosaurs, not the intricate plotline or Oscar-winning script!
6) My brain is not tricked by CGI. I know it's not real. However, I can easily discern when something is a model, and I appreciate the effort required by modelwork a lot more than I appreciate a polygonal image. The original Jurassic Park used mostly modelwork, to wonderful effect. The new Star Wars trilogy made me gag from GCI overexposure. I'd like to see some more modelwork, and less CGI.
7) The original cast does not have to be involved. No, really, Sam Neil and Jeff Goldblume can have the day off for this one--new characters are desperately needed to move the franchise forward.
8) Dennis Nedry's shaving cream can had a 36-hour expiration date. Here's the proof. The DNA is not viable anymore. Do not retrieve the can.
9) No hybrid dinosaurs or genetically engineered raptors. Dinosaurs would make awful military weapons, as they are made of flesh and bone. Please do not turn Jurassic Park into Aliens.
10) I swear to Bokonan, if I see one pterosaur flying like a bat and picking people up off the ground, I will firebomb Universal Studios.
How about you, readers? What would you like to see, or not see, in the next Jurassic Park movie?
*So, remember the scene in JP3 when Alan and...that guy...are looking at the spinosaur tracks, and Alan asks what kind of dinosaur it is? And the guy says Suchomimus, but Alan says "think bigger." And his idiot grad student says Baryonyx, a spinosaur that's actually smaller. I laughed so hard in the theater, but I was the only person laughing. My friends gave me a wierd look, and then again when I explained it afterwards. And now that Suchomimus is probably synonymous with Baryonyx, a whole new level of hilarity is added to that exchange.
**The Pteranodons in JP3 must have been reproducing with bats, because the Pteranodon in the final scene in The Lost World is great and completely accurate (although landing on a branch seems like a stretch). Anyway, JP3 gave us inherently evil pterosaurs...with teeth. Ironically, Pteranodon means "winged and toothless," so that's ONE strike against the film's portrayal. They also weren't flying like bats or carrying kids that were likely just as heavy, if not heavier, than they are off to their nests. And how was this Pteranodon flock living before those moronic humans stumbled into their enclosure? They're caged in, for pete's sake, so where is their food coming from? Also, the Pteranodon sequence has the film's stupidest scene: After an adult pterosaur is seen trying to carry off Grant's grad student, a pterosaur in the foreground turns its head and looks straight at the camera (and the remaining people) as if to say "You're next." Awful, awful film.