When Jurassic World hit theaters on June 12th, 2015, no one expected it to do as well as it did. It shattered box office records, making 208 million dollars in it's opening weekend alone. It's momentum refused to falter thereafter, solidifying it's place as the number 1 movie of 2015. Every Jurassic Park fan was ready to see it, either to love and praise it or to have the ammunition to tear it apart. It gave us what we all wanted: a summer blockbuster full of action and humor.
During the chaos of it all, we may have missed something. While the 4th installment of the Jurassic franchise succeeded into turning all of us into kids again, it was speaking to us in another way as well. Our society has gone through abundant changes since Jurassic Park debuted in 1993. Jurassic World did a wonderful job of discreetly placing social commentary, evolving it's underlying themes to pay respect to the original while adjusting for the time that has passed. At times, we can all be numb to how much our world has evolved. It was refreshing to see a film take that on with grace and humor. A few moments in the film stick it to society in the most intelligent of ways. I'd like to point them out. As always, spoiler alert!
You Get What You Pay For
One of the most obvious examples of nodding to society's dark side is the business aspect of Jurassic World. Everyone involved with it's development had something to gain from it's success, so they do what is natural to them in today's age: make everything bigger. They scare others and show the world how powerful they are.
CEO of InGen, Mr. Masrani, funds the development of a genetic hybrid to drive ticket sales for Jurassic World. He tells Dr. Wu to go bigger, badder, scarier, cooler. That's exactly what he does. The Indominus Rex was made to be all of the above. Bigger than any dinosaur in the park and smarter than many humans, this creation is the thing of nightmares. She's so dangerous, half of her genetic code is classified. When she escapes and starts wreaking havoc upon the guests and employees, Masrani has a few words for Dr. Wu. He asks,
"Who authorized you to do this?"
To which the good (?) doctor swiftly replies,
He goes on to explain that with enhanced predator features come corresponding consequences in the form of extremely dangerous behavioral traits. He barks back at Masrani's criticism with,
"You didn't ask for reality, you asked for more teeth".
This is all too familiar with our current societal state. Many of the world's biggest shot callers never consider the bigger picture. Whatever makes them more money is the way to go.
We Can Weaponize Almost Anything
Vic Hoskins, head of InGen's security department, has one distinct goal in Jurassic World: transform the park's raptors into military weapons. At the beginning of the film, we meet the raptor trainer, Owen. After displaying the progress he has made with teaching them to respond to commands, Hoskins is more than ready to begin testing them in the field for military use. He and Owen argue over this for most of the movie. Owen has to continue to remind him that while they can be trained, that doesn't make it a good idea to let them run loose. Once Indominus frees herself, Owen is forced to allow the use of his raptors to hunt her down. This, of course, backfires and just speaks once again to the woes of our society.
It disgusts me that this plot point is actually accurate. If Jurassic World was real, I believe that many countries would want the rights to weaponize these animals. Hoskins says it himself,
"They've got millions of years worth of instinct in their cells. Instinct that we can program. Their loyalty can't be bought."
Upon hearing that, I was overwhelmed by the fact that someone saw enough reality in that line to justify writing it.
Fifty Shades of Product Placement
It's everywhere. You can't go to a single event or attraction, see a single movie or live concert without coming across some product placement. Jurassic World is no exception. Never having seen an open Jurassic themed amusement park in the franchise to date, I expected to see some of the biggest corporations making their mark on it: and I was right. Upon seeing the park for the first time, we are introduced to Claire. It is her job to take care of the business end of things at Jurassic World. We join her during an attempt to gain sponsorship for the Indominus. Her presentation impressed, and the new attraction became known as Verizon Wireless presents the Indominus Rex.
There are branded products galore in this film. Starbucks, Samsung, Mercedes Benz, AT&T and even Margaritaville make their own appearances. This somewhat ties into the last section with the notion that people, things and even ideas can be bought. Money talks, and if you don't have it, you're voiceless. The world is on sale. Highest bidder takes all.
All seriousness aside, Jurassic World was amazing. I loved every second of it. It was after I left the theater that the time bomb, cleverly placed by screenwriters and production designers, went off. I was saddened that this is the reality we live in, but couldn't help but laugh at how easy it was to miss- simply because its what we've gotten used to.
Check out this Honest Trailer for Jurassic World by Screen Junkies for some serious laughs! Don't forget to comment with any thoughts, rebuttals, or additions! Follow me here, and as always, watch more movies!