Spoiler Alert: Before you read this you should go see Jurassic World – and you should go see it.

In the original Jurassic Park, the message was that cloning dinosaurs from fossilized DNA was

1) possible

2) a really bad idea

Everybody forgot about #2 five minutes after they left the theater and focused on #1, which is right and true and good. Cloning dinosaurs would be awesome if we could ever figure out how to do it.

Jurassic World is, by my best count, the fourth movie in the franchise but it essentially ignores installments 2 and 3 to focus on paying homage to the first movie and (for a regrettably short time) the first point above. As Jurassic World opens, we see John Hammond’s dream fulfilled. Amazed tourists ride aboard monorails, buses, even self-driven hamster balls through herds of herbivores as the enormous beasts serenely glide across verdant plains. Thrilled guests get splashed by an enormous mosasaur in the coolest moving theater anyone’s ever seen (eat your heart out, Carousel of Progress). The little ones even get to take dinosaur “pony” rides.

mosasaur

Combine these amazing attractions with high-tech touch screen storytelling and even a Jimmy Fallon tour guide bit (“spared no expense”) and Jurassic World looks like just about the coolest vacation spot anyone’s ever imagined.

And then, naturally, things go wrong. Blah, blah, dinosaurs eat people, blah, blah, damsel in distress, blah blah, hero must show his manhood. Whatever.

The whole Jurassic Park franchise is such an enigma. Every single movie, even the really awful 2nd and 3rd movies, are dedicated to the idea that when people meddle with nature, bad things happen. And yet no one goes to the movie to see those hubristic humans get their comeuppance. No, we all go to see what wonders Henry Wu and his colleagues can cook up next in that lab of theirs. We want to watch the babies hatch. We want to see the velociraptors hunt pigs (and maybe even bigger prey), we want to see what happens when we blend the size of a t-rex with the brainpower of a cuttlefish. Oops, hope I didn’t give away too much.

On the surface, Jurassic World – like its predecessors – is all about moralistic finger-wagging about the dangers of science gone too far. And yet, underneath, the entire time it’s winking at us knowingly. Nobody ever made a movie about the guy who said, “No, I better not.”

If (when?) Jurassic World opens its doors, I’ll be right there in line with all the other dinosaur freaks out there. You’re too frightened to attend? Good, more hamster ball rides for me.

hamster ball

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