It’s time to film the ultra-violent, R-rated adaption of the book.
Like all children who were eight in 1993, Jurassic Park is my favorite movie. It was, if memory serves me, the first movie I ever saw in the theater, and in some small way every subsequent theater-going experience has failed to live up to that first one. There’s just something about being a kid and seeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex eat a lawyer right off of a toilet that is hard to top. I tell you all this because I need you to know how hard it is for me to write the next sentence. But fuck it, we need to remake Jurassic Park.
The arguments against remaking Jurassic Park are solid, of course. The first movie was, you know…wildly successful and all. Also the special effects have famously aged remarkably well, so any argument that a remake could take advantage of modern technology is moot. And we must also take into consideration the fact that the original movie fucking ruled, so what’s the point.
These are valid arguments, but I still maintain that a remake is necessary for the following two reasons.
1. Jurassic World isn’t going anywhere.
2. There is a different movie to be made from Michael Crichton’s book, and that movie could be awesome.
Here’s the thing about the Jurassic World movies. I hate them. The whole “[remake/sequel] ruined my childhood” line is a bunch of self-serving horseshit, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Jurassic World series blows. I can’t shake the feeling I’m watching a computer game — nothing seems tangible. The first movie is certainly not some masterclass in storytelling, but at least Alan and Ellie and Tim and Alex were likable, with character traits we could relate to and identify with. The only character trait anyone remembers from Jurassic World is that one women has heels.
But Fallen Kingdom has already grossed 730 million worldwide. Millions of old-fart Jurassic Park fans can hate on the new movies all we want, it’s more likely an actual dinosaur park opens in 2018 than it is Universal stops making the films or tweaks the formula. And that’s ok! I understand that people’s tastes are different, and if what the world wants is Chris Pratt battling PlayStation 2 monsters, so be it. It’s also important to keep in mind that Jurassic World movies are made for children.
The book however? That shit is for grown-ups.
Most Jurassic Park aficionados know the fundamental difference between Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel Jurassic Park and Spielberg’s film adaptation — namely that the director toned down the book’s violence and transformed the story into a family-friendly adventure, an Indiana Jones on Dinosaur Island. This was quite obviously the right call. Spielberg’s dinosaurs were too awe-inspiring in 1993 to be truly villainous; we were so giddy over the magic unfolding on screen that a violent dinosaur horror movie wouldn’t have felt right. Spielberg’s vision for the movie’s tone was so successful and so iconic that all subsequent movies in the series would follow the same formula, and it’s been adventure first, horror second ever since. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Why can’t we remake Jurassic Park, this time going the other direction by emphasizing the book’s horror and visceral gore? Why can’t we make an R-rated Jurassic Park? All these byzantine cinematic universes have proven that audiences can handle multiple timelines; there’s no reason why Universal can’t pump out Jurassic World: Raptor Rising or whatever-the-fuck in 2020 while all us middle-aged fans enjoy some macabre, more-faithful-to-the-source-material mayhem. We can have both; we can have our Generrao and eat it too. What’s the down side?
(Let me just address now what would probably be seen as the downside, at least from JP super-fans: that a remake somehow disrespects or devalues the original. This is nonsense. It’s not like a remake renders copies of the original unplayable — fans can still prefer and watch whichever version they want. And furthermore, the idea that a film series that features this fucking scene has any artistic credibility left is a joke.)
A more faithful adaptation of Crighton’s book could really work! Jurassic Park the novel is a goddamn clinic in escalating dread. Little pieces of dinosaur-wrought carnage trickle out from chapter to chapter before we get to the island and await the inexorable nightmare. It’s awesome. Spielberg definitely made the right choice making his movie family friendly, but there are some insane passages that had to be cut in order to keep from wholly traumatizing the little ones. I mean, look at this horrifying scene from an early chapter:
Elena opened the door. The infant lay in a wicker bassinet, swaddled in a light blanket, only its face exposed. Around the rim of the bassinet, three dark-green lizards crouched like gargoyles. When they saw Elena, they cocked their heads and stared curiously at her, but did not flee. In the light of her flashlight Elena saw the blood dripping from their snouts. Softly chirping, one lizard bent down and, with a quick shake of its head, tore a ragged chunk of flesh from the baby.
Hell yeah! If given the choice of watching a trio of CGI compspognathi eat the neck right off some poor Costa Rican baby or watching Chris Pratt’s brainiac raptor BFF despair at getting wait-listed at Brown, I’m taking the baby-hungry dinos 10 times out of 10, my friends.
The formula that has made the first two Jurassic World movies so successful ain’t getting changed; it’s a reboot or nothing for us original fans. So with nothing to lose, I say fuck it, remake Jurassic Park, and give us that good old-fashioned, R-rated dinosaur destruction we’ve been waiting for.