17.

You Will See a Shitload of Sequels—and a Few of Them Might Even Fill That Hole in Your Cold, Dead Heart

Our emotional well-being, rebooted.

By Julieanne Smolinski

Illustration by Paul Windle

Most veterans of the Civil War made it through the deadliest conflict in American history simply by anticipating their sweetheart’s kiss on their return home. For us—survivors of the emotional tent surgery that was 2014—that sweetheart’s kiss will be… fake dinosaurs.

This coming year won’t be all bad—and that’s because Jurassic World is slated for release. That means we’re almost definitely going to see Vincent D’Onofrio get eaten by a velociraptor. (Maybe two!) There’s going to be a sequel, and that’s enough for me.

In the coming months of cinema, we will get a Star Wars, a Hot Tub Time Machine, an Exotic Marigold Hotel, a Furious, a Paul Blart, and a Magic Mike, among dozens of other follow-ups, reboots, and spin-offs.

You could argue that many if not all of the sequels coming out in 2015 were made without the advanced knowledge that 2014 would blow so hard. You could also point out that we’ve been churning them out since Jaws attacked Sea World. But a Jurassic Park film is different.

Sequels are generically comforting because we don’t have to learn anything new, and we can just sort of zone out until Paul Blart becomes inadvertently intoxicated and falls through a stained glass window. Dinosaur sequels are doubly comforting because they are an enemy we know and actually want to see win — they’re just doing what they’re biologically programmed to do, which is eat the fuck out of some people in entertaining ways.

There’s a reason you never really see people kill dinosaurs in Jurassic Park movies, and that’s because we don’t want to see that. We are mad at man. And we are so, so mad at man right now.

We’re happy when the stand-ins for us (the guy who doesn’t want to be involved, the scared child, the Jeff Goldblum) get away, but we’re even MORE happy when the idiots in control who are responsible for everything get eaten off a toilet. Jurassic Park is a fantastic allegory for the individual’s powerlessness and persecution at the hands of the corrupt, evil, and stupid.

I’m certainly not suggesting that anybody supplant activism with escapism, but I’m definitely suggesting that you supplement it. Fantasy — particularly one where humanity gets its comeuppance — is a great way to combat burnout with humanity. Occasionally, we need to have our emotions rebooted by watching somebody get munched on by a big lizard. Again, preferably while on the can.

Disaster and monster pictures are so powerful because at their core they suggest that we all have the potential to stop terrorizing each other. It’s a kind of a reverse remedy, like how drinking something hot on a scorching day will somehow cool you down. This is somehow incredibly beautiful to me — the idea that there might still be bigger problems than the ones we have right now. Dinosaur problems. Because God knows, we’re tired of the people ones.

Oh, and there’s also going to be an Entourage movie.

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