Why Jurassic World Is About Blockbuster Filmmaking

By  · Published on June 11th, 2015

Universal Pictures

A movie that comments on itself is almost always in a tough spot. If a filmmaker is pointing fingers at other movies, the story he or she is telling better not succumb to the same problems they’re analyzing. Even good movies, such as 22 Jump Street, have struggled with that balance ‐ joking about sequels recycling the plot from first movie while it also recycles the plot from its predecessor.

The co-writer and director behind Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow, attempts to strike a similar balance with his mega blockbuster. Bigger doesn’t always mean better is one of the many lessons the brass at Jurassic Park learn the hard way in this sequel. For the sake of profit, the park creates a genetically modified dinosaur, the Idominus Rex ‐ a big, loud killing machine. They think this is what the public wants, so they try to give it to them, which only leads to disastrous results.

Does this all sound familiar? Because it should. Jurassic World is basically an allegory for the mentality we see behind most blockbusters today: the larger they are, the better. The funny thing is, Jurassic World is probably the biggest and loudest movie in this series yet. Trevorrow takes aim at what his movie represents ‐ which is a gamble that could’ve gone either way, but considering the positive reviews and the high box-office expectations, Trevorrow may have turned that contradiction into the film’s dichotomy.

“In our particular situation, I had a good relationship with Universal,” Trevorrow says, when asked about his intentions. “They weren’t really giving us notes. I answered to Steven. The entire creative relationship was between Derek, Steven, and I. I, kind of, went one step beyond that [allegory]: the corporatization in entertainment, in general, has led to a desire for profit above all else. The very existence of Jurassic Park 4 when we came onboard was, you know, to make as much money as possible, whether it was a good idea or not. Because it was what we were living we wrote what we knew. We had a movie barreling towards a release date without a functional screenplay, and they’re going to make it one way or another, because shareholders had been promised. We thought we could put that in the context of Jurassic World, and make a movie about that.”

The hope in this scenario is that Trevorrow doesn’t become his own protagonist, Owen (Chris Pratt). Owen has a pure relationship with his raptors, which Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) wants to exploit for profit, by weaponizing the animals for the military. Look at Hoskins as the mad studio executive who only sees dollars and cents in Trevorrow’s sincere intentions. Thankfully, for Trevorrow’s sake, Spielberg doesn’t sound half as insane as Hoskins.

In Jurassic World, a massive mosasaur feeds on a shark, and the joke is obvious: the old school blockbusters, the Jaws of the world, are now eaten up by these monsters. Trevorrow wanted to blend both sensibilities together in Jurassic World ‐ another tough tightrope he had to walk across ‐ so the director’s attempt was to not give audiences another Idominus Rex, which they’ve already seen plenty of.

Jurassic World opens in theaters June 12th.

Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.