Originally, I was planning to talk about Groo the Wanderer and how awesome he is, but that requires some screenshots to display Sergio Aragonés’ amazing artwork and WordPress doesn’t seem to want to let me add pictures. I was then thinking about summarizing the whole Hugo debacle, but frankly it’s just not worth it. So I’m giving up and talking about ‘Jurassic World’.
I haven’t seen it yet, because as I keep explaining to people, I want the movie to be about Starlord raising a pack of baby velociraptors and then taking them on space adventures, and anything else is bound to be a disappointment to me. But it does strike me based on what I’ve heard that they went down the wrong tack here, and I mean completely. Because as I’m given to understand it, the movie is about a group of people who manage to successfully clone FREAKING DINOSAURS, build functional habitats for them that also accommodate the needs of thousands of tourists, manage the logistics of running a full hotel and zoo for animals whose habits and biology are for the most part a mystery…and they decide that’s boring, so they build a giant murder monster that breaks loose and kills people just like every other iteration of the franchise.
You know what? I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the successful park might have been more interesting than yet another installment of “People Run Away From Dinosaurs: The Movie”. Seriously, is there anyone whose interest wasn’t piqued by the idea of a velociraptor trainer? Is there anyone who didn’t get a thrill out of seeing a water show with a mosasaur? The idea of Jurassic World as a functioning zoo and theme park is a billion times more interesting than the idea of it failing…which is, let’s face it, the same idea we got in the first three movies, that Dinosaurs Are Dangerous and We Shouldn’t Tamper in God…er, Evolution’s Domain and yet another iteration of what Tony Stark beautifully called the “Mustn’t Meddle Medley”.
I say go the opposite direction. Do the successful park story. Do it as a series, because if it’s a successful Jurassic World it functions as its own story generator and there’s no way you can fit every interesting idea in that concept into two hours. You’d probably want to focus primarily on the keepers, who would have both the most amazing job in the world and the most terrifying all at once; they’re inventing a new field of zoology on the fly, learning the behaviors of the animals while trying to keep them healthy and happy in an environment that’s only a bad guess at their native habitat. They’d obviously interact with the veterinarians studying the animals and the scientists who created them, as well as park visitors.
Plots for the show could range from escaped animals (not always the big ones, either) to illnesses going through the populations to keepers finding ways to deal with behavioral problems…and if ‘House’ for dinosaurs doesn’t sound awesome to you, you’re just a very different person from me…to visitors to the park and the problems they cause. I think you could get at least a couple of seasons out of it. Best of all, it would be a series where dinosaurs were treated as animals and not monsters, which would be a nice change.