Welcome to Jurassic World, Part 6: Building a Better Dinosaur

Introduction: Science and Society

In discussing the films in this series I’ve always discussed science in a section, and rightly so. However, when outlining this project this most recent installment this was the only one wherein I could not rightly just label it science but had to add society. Clearly this is by design because the public at large is present and the public that frequents the park, pays the bills, and demand more teeth to be further satisfied.

The most important question that needs addressing here is: when does bad science breed bad cinema? As Matt Zoeller Seitz recently stated on Twitter, I agree that more critics “should show their work,” and that’s what I intend to do here because as I was looking over some of the finer points of this film I got to wondering, if this science is shoddy then why do I like this and not Interstellar.

Bad Science = Bad Cinema?

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

The issues I had with Interstellar I think were more pervasive for one. The so-called revolutionary sound mix didn’t work for me, the film seemed to be trying too hard in story, and performance, to coax an emotional response from the audience such that it felt artificial.

Parallel those aspects to Jurassic World and it had a sound mix that was appropriate and followed some of its pre-established rules. Further, the characters have their emotional moments (Judy Greer) and Gray, but that pain is their characters’ pain and it’s not brandished. If you identify with it you react, it’s not trying to force that reaction. This can partially be attributed to Giacchino’s more restrained musical philosophy as opposed to Zimmer’s heightening approach.

Conversely, when Nolan in Inception was more intent on building a world rather than using science as a crux of his film that worked. Regardless of whether the science of sleep and dreaming in that film were accurately interpreted for dramatic effect.

Jurassic World also has the benefit of not being the first in a series. The rules of this specific narrative universe have in many ways been pre-established, therefore, whether the science is accurate or well-applied has less bearing.

Jurassic Park (1993, Universal)

Since the beginning the issues of missing sections of genetic code has been addressed. The usage of the DNA of amphibians opened the door for the dinosaurs to change sex and to breed. The odds of newly found genetic material being more complete are slim to none, so gaps still need to be filled. The change of sex being an acknowledged issue other safeguards can be attempted.

The park is now open, it needs revenue, the patrons have demands, so do the bosses; to create the new assets tried methods will be used. To create something never before created, to try to make a hybrid, new methods will be used. Methods that would create more issues. Issues that may or may not be foreseen but will happen nonetheless if ideas are fast-tracked with less regard for the consequences than is normally shown.

Variations on the Theme

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

The film opens quite gracefully with the hatching of an Indominus Rex juxtaposed against a tight shot of a crow’s foot, which in close looks like a dinosaur. It’s visual evidence of the evolution of species and also an allusion to how the first film started out (Dr. Grant talking to a smart-mouthed kid about the evolution of raptors into birds).

When pitching his concept of Raptors as military weapons Hoskins says as a retort to concern over if they’d follow orders “Only loyal bloodlines will be promoted.” Hearing this having seen Blackfish and heard the tale of the generations spawned in captivity from a tainted genepool is chilling.

That’s not the only time I thought of Sea World, obviously the Mosasaurus’ watershow is another one. And it prompted me to tweet the following:

Hubris has always been a theme in these films. Hubris usually begets shortsightedness and poor decision-making. As does greed. All this leads to the genetic engineering to create all-too-powerful hybrid. It’s a great idea in a video game (yes, Jurassic World has one of those you can play), but not as much in a supposedly real world. So we know from experience in the first film that it’s an inherently flawed concept. The question is how are the stakes raised and how is the enemy bigger, stronger, and faster.

Building a Better Dinosaur

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

One of the stumbles the film faces is the partially askew introduction of the new star, the Indominus Rex in two parts; each encounter, one with Masrani and one with Grady has some oddity. With Masrani there’s the “Isn’t it white?” question which kind of foreshadows the ability to camouflage, but we never see it looking as if it’s an albino. With Owen he discovers the scratches on the outer wall and starts to surmise its intelligence, but its off-frame when mentioned, and not cut to, the scratches are only seen later. Those are odd occurrences and slips of mise-en-scène and script.

As we’ve already examined we know as a given that some of the DNA of other animals is used in completing gene sequences. This seems to be information that requires a certain amount of clearance at the park. Grady doesn’t know that, even Claire does. Her concerns are the day-to-day operations and bringing money into the park through investors and new attractions to draw crowds, if asset development is within her purview she never seems to pay it any mind. She’s only really interested in more teeth if it means more money and marketable names. It’s one of the clashes she and Grady have.

This assumption is what I believe is behind the awkwardly placed, blocked and specimen scene – this segment with forced framing is thankfully cut short by some monologue-ing by Hoskins, and that is thankfully and humorously cut-off by a raptor invasion (dinosaurs always save the day in the parks). It furthers the notion if knowing not what we’re messing with. Grady makes the leap first stating “That’s no dinosaur.” Aside from the given frog DNA it is learned that cuttlefish DNA must’ve leant the ability to camouflage, though it was incorporated due to the need to support an accelerated growth rate, which asset development would’ve wanted to get their new hybrid ready for primetime sooner.

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

In all the examination of the genetic makeup of the new dino in the film what is perhaps most keenly gleaned is that it’s not more unnatural a creation necessarily just much harder to predict, and a beast we’re even less inclined to handle.

To What End?

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

Jurassic World introduces the Military-Industrial complex to this world, in this setting where the park is literally creating dinosaurs that never existed, where one man’s ability to bond with the creatures is being exploited so the dinosaurs can do something they weren’t made for, seeing Malcom’s book God Creates Dinosaurs is more poignant than ever.

Stocking Masrani’s “petting zoo” and justifying be able to charge $7 a soda is of the ultimate importance, therefore it’s unsurprising in this environment that a dinosaur would be created that can hide from thermal radiation or camouflage because there has not yet been less care taken in creating one, and rushing it to public display.

Intelligence

Jurassic Park (1993, Universal)

In each of the films the question of intelligence has been brought up. This, of course, something that could only be speculated upon by paleontologists. Seeing the size of a creature’s brainpan in its fossilized remains is one thing but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

In the world of these films the ante has been raised when further observation has shown the raptors have an intelligence which rivals primates. Here with a hybrid we assume that it has taken the best traits of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor and not been muddled in any way. That’s how it plots to hide itself from thermal radiation sensors, has the recall to know where its implant is, the intelligence to take it out, and plot to get humans into the enclosure.

The omnipresent theme of control is an aspect too lost. Grady is there to examine the enclosure for possible faults. Grady says to Hoskins that maybe “Progress should lose for once” about his raptor plan. Surely, the same must go double for a hybrid.

Conclusion: “We’re just used to being the cat”

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

Touching back on this scene because it’s just that good, in the debate between Masrani and Dr. Henry Wu (played brilliantly by B.D. Wong),  quickly refutes Masrani’s complaints as in any way being something he is solely responsible for. He was just doing what needed doing to get the “more teeth” on a scarier, exaggerated predator ready when it needed to be.

The death and unruliness is unfortunate but he made the creatures ordered to make. He wasn’t asked to make a third after the sibling was eaten. Genetic engineers are not behaviorists and Grady didn’t come in until it was too late and the Indominus had missed out by being in isolation and lacked in socialization.

The capper on the conversation is perfectly astute, and may distill the series to its essential core element:  we, being the current dominant species on the planet, have brought back one of the former dominant species. Being the species in its own place and time we assume we can control, maintain, and present them for our amusement and edification, but the truth of the matter is they will not be held down, and with all things being equal we don’t really stand a chance.

This series will continue tomorrow with Part 7: What Works and Really?

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2014 BAM Award Nominations

Here in a live blog format you will see this year’s nominees in the BAM Awards (Bernardo Villela’s personal selections) be posted.

The honorees will be announced on January 9th. When the list is complete it will be indicated. Please note that the parenthesis around the word in Original indicates that at times songs not written specifically for a film are considered.

Best Picture

A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Calvary
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Finn
Into the Woods
The Judge
St. Vincent
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

Best Director

Richard Linklater Boyhood
John Michael McDonagh Calvary
Rob Meyer A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Daniel Ribeiro The Way He Looks
Frans Weisz Finn

Best Foreign Film

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Custody
Finn
Ilo Ilo
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Misunderstood
The Mystery of Happiness
Stations of the Cross
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
The Way He Looks

Most Overlooked Picture

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Boxtrolls
The Famous Five 3
Finn
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Labyrinthus
Mission: Sputnik
Misunderstood
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

Best Actress

Amrita Acharia I Am Yours
Juliette Binoche 1,000 Times Good Night
Essie Davis The Babadook
Charlotte Gainsbourg Nymphomaniac: Volume 2
Shailene Woodley The Fault in Our Stars

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage Joe
Brendan Gleeson Calvary
Tom Hardy The Drop
Tom Hardy Locke
Robert Downey, Jr. The Judge

Best Supporting Actress

Ximena Ayala The Amazing Catfish
Ellen Burstyn Flowers in the Attic
Jessica Lange In Secret
Melissa McCarthy St. Vincent
Meryl Streep Into the Woods

Best Supporting Actor

Jan Decleir Finn
Robert Duvall The Judge
Gabriel Garko Misunderstood
Logan Lerman Fury
Brendan Meyer The Guest
Mark Ram 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

Best Cast

Nils Verkooijen, Mark Ram, Marcel Musters, Anneke Blok and Marieke Heebink 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep, Mackenzie Mauzy, Chris Pine, Billy Rasmussen etc. Into the Woods
Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Dexter Darder, Kayla Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, etc. The Maze Runner
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gabriel Garko, Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Asia Argento, Olimpia Carlisi, Alice Pea, Carolina Poccioni, etc. Misunderstood
Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Dax Shepherd, Emma Tremblay, etc. The Judge

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Annalise Basso Oculus
Lauren Canny 1,000 Times Good Night
Joey King Wish I Was Here
Giulia Salerno Misunderstood
Flora Thiemann Mission: Sputnik
Lea van Acken Stations of the Cross

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Spencer Bogaert Labyrinthus
Antoine L’Écuyer The Custody
Antoine L’Écuyer It’s Not Me, I Swear
Kodi Smit-McPhee A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Garrett Ryan Oculus
Nils Verkooijen 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Anna Lou Castoldi Misunderstood
Adrianna Cramer Curtis 1,000 Times Good Night
Lilla Crawford Into the Woods
Catherine Faucher It’s Not Me, I Swear
Lorelei Linklater Boyhood
Emma Verlinden Labyrinthus

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Peter DaCunha Tormented
Reese Hartwig Earth to Echo
Daniel Huttlestone Into the Woods
Felix Maesschalck Labyrinthus
Art Parkinson Dracula Untold
Tye Sheridan Joe

Best Youth Ensemble

Kodi Smit-McPhee, Katie Chang, Alex Wolff and Michael Chen in A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Valeria Eisenbart, Quirin Oettl, Justus Schlingensliepen, Neele-Marie Nickel and Davina Weber The Famous Five 3
Spence Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck, Emma Verlinden, Nell Cattrysse and Pommelien Tijs Labyrinthus
Flora Thiemann, Finn Fienbig, Luca Johanssen, and Emil von SchönfelsMission: Sputnik
Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Carolina Poccioni, Andrea Pittorino Misunderstood
Raúl Rivas, Daniel Cerezo, Claudia Vega, Fran García, Marcos Ruiz, Christian Mulas, Aníbal Tártalo, Alberto López, Javier Cifrián and Álex Angulo Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

Best Original Screenplay

Anna Brüggemann and Dietrich Brüggemann Stations of the Cross
Bruno Forzani, Hélène Cattet The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Steven Knight Locke
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman The Lego Movie
Janneke van der Pal Finn

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn X-Men: Days of Future Past
Gary Hawkins and Larry Brown Joe
James Lapine Into the Woods
Dennis Lehane The Drop
Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle and Paul Briggs and Joseph Mateo Big Hero 6

Best Cinematography

Eric Adkins and Pat Sweeney The Boxtrolls
Dion Beebe Into the Woods
Manuel Dacosse The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Florian Hoffmesiter In Secret
Nicola Pecorini Misunderstood

Best Editing

Sandra Adair Boyhood
Bernard Beets The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
James Herbert and Laura Jennings Edge of Tomorrow
Wyatt Smith Into the Woods
Marie-Hélène Dozo Stop the Pounding Heart

Best Visual Effects

The Boxtrolls
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Into the Woods
Interstellar

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edge of Tomorrow
The Lego Movie
Locke
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

Best Makeup

Gone Girl
Into the Woods
Maleficent
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken

Best Art Direction

Curt Enderle The Boxtrolls
Alan Spalding, Said El Kounti and Hauke Richter Son of God
Dennis Gassner, Andrew Bennett, Ben Collins, Chris Lowe, and Mary Mackenzie Into the Woods
Julia Irribarria The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Juan Pedro De Gaspar and Géza Kerti Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

Best Costume Design

Colleen Atwood Into the Woods
Deborah Cook The Boxtrolls
Nicoletta Ercole Misunderstood
Louise Mingenbach X-Men: Days of Future Past
Pedro Moreno Cannibal

Best Score

Ramin Djawadi Dracula Untold
Pino Donaggio Patrick
Michael Giacchino Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Fons Merkies Finn
A.R. Rahman The Hundred-Foot Journey

Best (Original) Song

“Everything is Awesome” Jo Li The Lego Movie
“The Boxtrolls Song” Mark Orton, Loch Lomond and Sean Patrick Doyle The Boxtrolls
“Quattro Sabatino” Dario Marianello, Peter Harris, Alex Tsilogiannis, Thomas Kennedy and Edmund Saddington The Boxtrolls
“The Bald Guy” (“Skallamann”) from Baldguy Cast in Fun in Boys Shorts
“Prologue: Into the Woods” James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep and Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods

Neutron Star Award

TBA 1/9

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

TBA 1/9

Robert Downey, Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year

TBA 1/9

Special Jury Prizes

TBA 1/9

Nominations

Into the Woods – 12
Misunderstood – 9
The Boxtrolls, Finn – 7
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears – 6
Labyrinthus, Stations of the Cross – 5
A Birder’s Guide to Everything, 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg – 4
Edge of Tomorrow, The Lego Movie, Locke; 1,000 Times Good Night, Finn; It’s Not Me, I Swear; Mission: Sputnik, Stations of the Cross, , The Way He Looks, Boyhood, Calvary, The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Judge – 3
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang, Joe, Dracula Untold, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Labyrinthus, Oculus, In Secret, The Drop, The Famous Five 3, The Custody, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, St. Vincent -2
Fun in Boys Shorts, Dracula Untold, Patrick, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Cannibal, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Son of God, Unbroken, The Theory of Everything, Maleficent, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Stop the Pounding Heart, Big Hero 6, Earth to Echo, Tormented; 1,000 Times Good Night; It’s Not Me, I Swear, Wish I Was Here, The Maze Runner, The Amazing Catfish, Flowers in the Attic, I Am Yours, The Babadook, Nymphomaniac: Volume 2, The Fault in Our Stars,The Mystery of Happiness, Ilo Ilo, Fury, The Guest– 1

2014 BAM Award Considerations – November

I decided that with the plethora of BAM Awards-related post towards the end of 2013 and the start of this year it was best to wait to the end of this month before officially recommencing the process.

I will post these lists towards the end of the month to allow for minimal updates. By creating a new post monthly, and creating massive combo files offline, it should make the process easier for me and more user-friendly for you, the esteemed reader. Enjoy.

Eligible Titles

I Am Yours
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Apaches
Rhymes for Young Ghouls
Halbschatten
Pants on Fire
To Kill a Man
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Interstellar
Big Hero 6
A Life in Dirty Movies
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
Santa Hunters
Horrible Bosses 2
The Theory of Everything
The Babadook
Spud 2: The Madness Continues
A Christmoose Story

Best Picture

Big Hero 6

Best Foreign Film

I Am Yours
Apaches
Halbschatten
To Kill a Man
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
A Christmoose Story

Best Documentary

A Life in Dirty Movies

Most Overlooked Film

As intimated in my Most Underrated announcement this year, I’ve decided to make a change here. Rather than get caught up in me vs. the world nonsense and what a film’s rating is on an aggregate site, the IMDb or anywhere else, I want to champion smaller, lesser-known films. In 2011 with the selection of Toast this move was really in the offing. The nominees from this past year echo that fact. So here, regardless of how well-received something is by those who’ve seen it, I’ll be championing indies and foreign films, and the occasional financial flop from a bigger entity.

Apaches
Rhymes for Young Ghouls
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
A Life in Dirty Movies
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
A Christmoose Story

Best Director

Apaches
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Big Hero 6
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
A Christmoose Story

Best Actress

Amrita Acharia I Am Yours
Devery Jacobs Rhymes for Young Ghouls
Anne Ratte-Polle Halbschatten
Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Felicity Jones The Theory of Everything
Essie Davis The Babadook

Best Actor

Matthew McConaghuey Interstellar
Eddie Redmayne The Theory of Everything

Best Supporting Actress

Rabia Noreen I Am Yours

Best Supporting Actor

Ola Rapace I Am Yours
Arjan Ederveen A Christmoose Story

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Claudia Vega Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
Dana Goldberg A Christmoose Story


Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Steven Perry Pants on Fire
Raul Rivas Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
Daniel CerezoZip and Zap and the Marble Gang
Noah Wiseman The Babadook
Dennis Reinsma A Christmoose Story

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Mackenzie Foy Interstellar

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Prince Singh I Am Yours
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Lenard Proxauf Halbschatten
Joshua J. Ballard Pants on Fire
Timothée Chalamet Interstellar
Marcos RuizZip and Zap and the Marble Gang
Oliver Payne The Theory of Everything

Best Cast

I Am Yours
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Interstellar
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gan
Horrible Bosses 2
The Theory of Everything
Spud 2: The Madness Continues
A Christmoose Story

Best Youth Ensemble

Apaches
Pants on Fire
Interstellar
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
Santa Hunters
The Theory of Everything

Best Original Screenplay

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Big Hero 6

Best Adapted Screenplay

Big Hero 6
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
A Christmoose Story

Best Score

<emThe Strange Color of Your Body's Tears
Big Hero 6
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
The Theory of Everything
A Christmoose Story

Best Editing

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Interstellar

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Big Hero 6
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

Best Cinematography

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Interstellar
Big Hero 6
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
The Theory of Everything
A Christmoose Story

Best Art Direction

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Interstellar
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
The Babadook

Best Costume Design

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
The Theory of Everything

Best Makeup

Rhymes for Young Ghouls
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
The Theory of Everything

Best Visual Effects

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Interstellar
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
The Babadook
A Christmoose Story

Best (Original) Song

“The Hanging Tree The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
“Immortals” Big Hero 6
Choir Spud 2: The Madness Continues