Jeff Goldblum: Making The Chest Of A Bad Situation
When things got scary, he got sexy
In a 2015 review of Jurassic World, Pulitzer Prize winning critic Wesley Morris had a wonderful line about Jeff Goldblum’s performance in the first two Jurassic movies, “Having recently rewatched Spielberg’s first two Jurassic Park movies, from 1993 and 1997, respectively, I was startled anew by how self-consciously hot Jeff Goldblum is in those movies,” Morris wrote, and as usual, was correct. Sure, Goldblum may have been self-conscious about his sex appeal, though not out of vanity-but necessity. In his two most famous disaster survival movies, Jurassic Park and Independence Day, Goldblum’s chest cleavage was no less a defense mechanism than an iguana’s tail drop or a squid firing ink at a shark. Goldblum used his own heat as a way to survive.
Consider these four scenes:
The Movie: Jurassic Park
The Scene: The T-Rex Breaks Out
Sexiness Level: Tom Hardy holding a puppy in The Drop
Level of Danger: Um, super high-
A murderous T-Rex has just broken through a disabled electric fence. A murderous T-Rex who was genetically created in a lab. A murderous T-Rex who was genetically created in a lab and then detained in a theme park, behind an electric fence, against her will. This is a dinosaur who has been served nothing but three square meals of live goat every day since she busted out of her egg, and by the way, the T-Rex hates live goat. No one ever thought to ask, “Hey Rexie, you’ve been getting the goat a ton lately, how about a chicken or a cow tonight?” I bet they’re regretting that now. She’s hungry. She’s sick and tired of the goat. Tonight, she’ll try the buffet. The human buffet.
What’s Goldblum’s Shirt Saying?: Hey, is that a dinosaur? It definitely looks like a dinos-yup thats a dinosaur.
At the start of this scene, Goldblum has just the top button of his shirt undone. He’s stuck in a lightning storm surrounded by dinosaurs, sure, but as far as he knows, they’re stuck behind a secure electric fence. The danger at this point is minimal. Goldblum is showing off a hint of his well-polished Adam’s apple, but not much else. His one popped button is more of an invitational ‘come hither danger’ look as seen in Exhibit 1A:
However, once he recognizes the magnitude of the situation, notice how much more he exposes his chest towards the dinosaur (Exhibit 1B).
It’s as if he’s telling the dinosaur, “Hey, I’m not afraid of you old girl, take a look at my two friends, Tyrannosaurs Pecs-these two are large and in charge and ready to hunt.” It works. By the time he gets out of the truck to confront the T-Rex with a flare, his rain soaked chest is glistening. The dinosaur doesn’t stand a chance. She gives chase, but Goldblum is no stranger to women chasing him around. Of course he survives.
As for the man who doesn’t survive the T-Rex buffet? Well go ahead and take a look at those buttons. No room to take a breath. Not that he’d need to for long.
The Movie: Jurassic Park
The Scene: Back in Business- Ian helps Ellie restore power to Jurassic Park
Sexiness Level: Some Like it Hot
Level of Danger: It’s literally do or die.
Dr. Ian Malcolm, an expert in scientific chaos theory, is vindicated when the Park devolves into pure, murderous chaos. Right now is not the time for small victories though, as every human in the Park is now at risk at being killed by either a raptor or a T-Rex or some other prehistoric beast. The humans only chance at survival is to restore power to the park’s electric fences, therefore keeping the dinosaurs at bay and giving them time to escape. Goldblum, recently injured and stuck in an underground park bunker, is helping to talk Ellie through the process of turning the power back on (the process apparently being “flip the giant power switch”)
What’s Goldblum’s Shirt Saying?: I have no idea. Holy shit.
Look at that. Incredible. Goldblum is literally trying to seduce the dinosaurs into submission through the walls of an underground bunker through sheer force of will, determination, and baby oil. His leg is injured. His hand is bloodied. His chest remains untouched. All the more reason to show it off, I suppose. Goldblum is well aware that if the power isn’t restored, it’s very possible that he and all of his friends die on the island. He knows he needs to give it everything he’s got in the sexiness department. It’s the carnal equivalent of a Hail Mary. It works.
The Movie: Independence Day
The Scene: Do Your Stuff: Fighting back with a computer virus
Sexiness Level: Ryan Gosling in La La Land
Level of Danger: If this doesn’t work, planet Earth is destroyed completely, the lucky ones will die, the survivors will be enslaved by aliens for the rest of their lives.
Aliens have been destroying major landmarks all over the world. They have an impenetrable force field protecting them. They’re threatening to destroy all of human kind as we know it. Jeff Goldblum, speaking to America’s top general and her Commander in Chief, has a plan to infect their mothership with a computer virus, disabling their force fields and allowing United States fighter jets to take the fight back to the aliens, ensuring our survival and eliminating an alien threat.
What’s Goldblum’s Shirt Saying?: This situation is dire-I’d like to go full Jurassic Park but I’m keeping this undershirt on, because hey, The President of The United States is in the room.
Goldblum anxiously paces around the room in this scene, outlining his nerdy plan to save the world. His words are dorky, yes, but his look is anything but. It’s actually a very lazy dork look. It’s the equivalent of a girl putting on lingerie and a pair of taped up glasses on Halloween and claiming she’s a nerd. Goldblum is fighting danger with danger here. His exposed chest shows his raw, muscular strength. He shows off a not insignificant amount of chest hair, indicating that he’s a man’s man, and isn’t afraid to fight. Notice his complete lack of a pocket protector. He’s not protecting anything. He’s ready to rock. The President is infatuated. He quickly agrees to undertake Goldblum’s mission. President Whitmore will get the credit later in the film for inspiring his military with the now famous Independence Day speech, but it’s clear he was inspired by Goldblum’s bare chested machismo. He’s still the President, and so he knows it would be unbecoming to go full Goldblum when addressing the nation; but check out the subtle collar nod to the man with the plan.
The Movie: Independence Day
The Scene: Bye, Bye. Escaping the Mothership
Sexiness Level: Get off my plane
Level of Danger: Stuck on an alien warship with the entire planet depending on your computer program working.
On a micro level, this is an extremely dangerous scene because if Goldblum’s plan fails, he and Will Smith will die. They have families and friends that they love very much and they’ll never see them again. On a macro level, this is an extremely dangerous scene because it Goldblum’s plan fails, everyone on Earth will die. So, yeah, I guess you could say it’s pretty dangerous.
What’s Goldblum’s Shirt Saying?: Gotta stick with what works, but if I die, I’m going to do so with a little modesty.
We know how this one ends. Goldblum literally laughs at the leader of the Alien army and waves goodbye to him as he puffs on a victory cigar. This is peak Goldblum. He knows the Alien is too distracted by P.T., the Pecstra Terrestrial to be able to do anything to stop him. It’s checkmate, as Goldblum would say, and ET thought he was playing checkers. The Alien, who has one job-to make sure humans don’t infiltrate the mothership and plant a deadly virus on board-gets lost in the Goldblum sauce. Goldblum and Will Smith use this chest trance to their advantage and escape in the nick of time. It’s Goldblum putting his chest foot forward. It’s Goldblum saving the World.