When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #32: Jurassic World (Yes, again :-P)

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https://whendinosaursruledthemind.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/introduction-remember-dinosaurs-theyre-different-now/

So yeah, I’m going to talk about Jurassic World.

Again.

Yeah.

Just a heads up, I’ll probably be talking about this movie for a long time into the future, so bear with all the posts. It’s just that there is so much to talk about, and the conversations never seem to end. And these conversations will endure long after the film is released, just like we’re still talking about the original Jurassic Park.

I’ll talk a bit about some of the news and updates, but the focus of this post is to address some of the backlash the dinosaurs in this trailer have been getting in regards to accuracy. Now, since the very point of this blog is to talk about cultural depictions of dinosaurs, you may be wondering why I didn’t really talk about this in my initial review of the trailer. The reason why is because, well, I got what I expected. I didn’t go in expecting accurate as of the 2010’s depictions of dinosaurs, I expected Jurassic Park dinosaurs. But it seems everyone is talking about it, making a big deal of it, and putting forth their two cents on the topic. So I’ll give you my insight on this conversation.

First of all, pretty much everyone is giving their opinion of the decision to not put feathers on the theropods. In the trailer we see  both Gallimimus…

…and Velociraptor.

Now, anyone with a pretty deep interest in dinosaurs knows that these guys should be looking pretty different.

Now, if you’ve read some of my previous posts, you may gather the impression that I’m kind of a Feather Nazi.

So you might be expecting me to be among the group that is boycotting this movie for giving us scaly raptors. But honestly, I’m not.

You know, even though it would be awesome.

I mean, if this was any other film or franchise, I would be very critical. But come on, this is Jurassic Park! Am I nostalgia blind? Probably, and maybe it would have been an interesting change of pace from the other films, but then it just wouldn’t feel like Jurassic Park anymore.

I know, lame excuse.

We need to remember, there has been a lot of scientific progress in the study of dinosaurs since the late 80’s/early 90’s. When Jurassic Park came around, it brought forth ideas in paleontology that where bombshells to the general public. The notion that dinosaurs could be fast, intelligent, warm-blooded creatures that were closer to birds than reptiles was astronomical. People forget that JP took a lot of forward steps when it came to the depictions of dinosaurs in the general public’s eyes, only for it to look like a massive step backward a few years later.

Progress stops for no one.

Now, I can see why people are angry. Jurassic Park is a major franchise, that was actually built on showing people new ideas about dinosaurs. What better way to show the general public what new discoveries have been made since? With scaly dinosaurs continuing to star in our movies, the public will never learn, right?

Darn, I feel really conflicted here.

One one hand, this is kind of a wasted opportunity to show the populace what we think dinosaurs looked like now.

On the other hand; this is entertainment, not a documentary, and the Jurassic Park look has become iconic in its own right. Not to mention the need to retain continuity.

OK, I think this could be a good compromise. I know it’s doubtful they will do this, but it would be awesome if they do. What if the film addresses the dinosaurs are inaccurate? What if Jurassic World is creating dinosaurs that look like what the public expects, and not actual dinosaurs. What if the park in-universe actually get’s flack from paleontologists for giving us genetic abominations instead of actual creatures? Remember what Alan Grant said in Jurassic Park 3? These aren’t actual dinosaurs, these are genetically engineered theme park monsters, nothing more, nothing less. If this problem is actually addressed in the film, I’ll be so happy. But it probably won’t.

As you can see, I’m feeling really conflicted. My dinosaur enthusiast and movie buff selves are duking it out right now. But you know what got me more upset than the raptors? For some reason, the other dinosaurs.

We only get glimpses of the other dinosaurs, but we get to see enough. one of the big dinosaurs we get is Apatosaurus.

I’ve certainly seen worse. At least it isn’t a super chunky Brontosaurus type sauropod, and the skull is actually correct!

I’m not going to lie, when I heard ‘Apatosaurus’ was going to be in this film, this was what i expected.

However, one thing I am really sad they didn’t include were the dorsal spines that Apatosaurus is known to have.

However, many scientists have argued that the iguana like spines on many reconstructions might not be accurate, with instead the dinosaurs having a heighten spinal ridge with a series of bumps and scutes. Even so, I see no evidence of anything like that on this sauropod.

Smooth backed apatosaurs got me madder than naked coelurosaurs. What has the world come to?!

The neck is also a bit too thin, and the feet could use a bit of work as well. Still, not the worst Apatosaurus I’ve seen.

And certainly not what I feared.

The biggest surprise in the trailer is the giant Mosasaurus, which is a very interesting depiction to say the least.

As awesome as that image is, there is a lot wrong with it. For one, the mosasaur is much bigger than any known member of this family, being closer to the larger (and debunked) size estimates of Liopleurodon.

This is a size comparison of the largest known mosasaur. It’s still pretty freaking big, but not big enough to swallow a 15 foot long Great White Shark in one bite! Perhaps InGen cloned a larger species that is as of yet unknown to science, or they just made it larger to be more impressive.

Another interesting thing is that the mosasaur has dorsal spines.

If you look along it’s back, you can see a row of iguana like ridges. Although this feature is a staple of classic paleo-art, it has since been debunked by science, and it makes this mosasaur look very Knightian or Burian.

And I don’t want to put the film down too much, but I’m pretty sure this mosasaur won’t sport a fish-like tail fluke that has been recently discovered on the creature.

I will give the film some credit, however. The mosasaur actually has a second row of teeth on its palate, which at first I thought was added by the film makers, but is actually a feature of mosasaurs. Wow, this movie taught me something new!

Sadly, it doesn’t have a forked tongue. In reality, scientists aren’t sure if mosasaurs had forked tongues, but only hypothesize that it does since it’s related to modern monitor lizards. Still, you think the film makers would have went for ‘rule of cool’ and give it a forked Komodo Dragon-like tongue.

Weirdly, the one thing that seems to put everyone on edge is not the featherless dinosaurs or super-sized mosasaur, but the insects in the amber.

This image is putting a lot of people on edge because it doesn’t depict a blood sucking mosquito in amber, but instead a harmless crane fly. Now, crane flies pose no threat to people, but they do kind of look like giant mosquitoes. I’ve had to at several times assure friends and family that crane flies are harmless. Still, because of it’s menacing look, and the fact that it is much larger then a real mosquito, it shows up on film much better.

Wait a minute, was the mosquito in the first movie a crane fly also?

No, I’m pretty sure that’s a mosquito. OK, I see why people are mad.

But really, I guess it could just be a super-sized Mesozoic blood sucking insect that just happens to look like a crane fly. That being said, scientists have discovered much more interesting blood sucking insects from the Mesozoic.

Fleas that were over an inch long and insects with claws especially adapted for clinging onto dinosaur feathers. Much more interesting than mosquitoes.

OK, enough of the criticisms. Let’s go into some Jurassic World news.

Remember that count down clock on the Masrani viral marketing internet page that everyone thought was a countdown to the trailer premiere? And remember how excited/confused we were when the trailer premiered two days early from the countdown’s end? What was it counting down to then? Well, it turns out it was counting down to the greatest viral marketing site ever created: The Jurassic World official website.

http://www.jurassicworld.com/

I’ve never seen a website so comprehensive. Just like the Masrani site functioned like an actual business site, JurassicWorld.com functions like a site to an actual theme park.

 There are too many features to mention, but I’ll list some of the best bits. We get a park map that details several of the attractions, some facts on the science and founding of Jurassic World (with a page dedicated to John Hammond himself), a key that shows the park’s capacity, the weather on the island, waiting times for attractions, times when ferries and the monorail departs and arrive, dinosaur facts, safety regulations, and much more! We even get some extra footage and images from the sets, giving us a better look at what the park is like. We see businesses and restaurants (including a Ben and Jerry’s), a gift shop (which gives us a sneak peek of some of the actual merchandise this movie will sell, including resurrecting some canceled figures from a couple of years back) and a whole lot more. I don’t want to spoil everything, because I prefer you go to their website yourself and see what it has to offer. There is much more that it will have, but a lot of features are locked, which will unlock as time passes on.

One of my favorite features of the site is the dinosaur list, which gives us information of every species of dinosaur on the park. The dinosaur list on the site confirms the list we saw on that brochure. It also includes illustrations of the dinosaurs, meaning that even if we don’t see every dinosaur on the list in the film, we will get to see what they look like in universe. As of yet, only three dinosaur profiles are unlocked; the Apatosaurus, the Triceratops, and the Tyrannosaurus. The Apatosaurus image from earlier is the image on the site, so we know what it looks like. Here’s the picture of the Triceratops.

The proportions seem a bit off, but I can chalk that up to the weird angle. For the most part, it looks like the Jurassic Park Triceratops.

We also get a look at the baby Triceratops, which will be a part of a petting zoo exhibit.

AWWW, how adorable.

Finally, we get our first look at the Tyrannosaurus rex, whose depiction raises some interesting questions.

At first glance, it just looks like a pretty average Jurassic Park T. rex, which it is. But look at the scars on its neck. Don’t they look familiar?

Remember that awesome scene in the end of Jurassic Park, when the T. rex fights the raptors? And towards the end of the fight the raptor scratches her in exactly those places?

Could this be the Tyrannosaurus from the original movie?

It certainly looks like the original T. rex, with a similar built and color scheme. It could be just an Easter egg from the artist and not bear anything to the plot, but I’m putting my money on that this is the original Rex from the first movie.

If that’s the case, paint me extremely excited.

I’m really looking forward to this movie, and I hope that it turns out to be good. We haven’t had a good dinosaur movie in a long time. I remember when dinosaurs were a sure-fire way to get people into the seats, but now it seems like the public is loosing interest. That scares me. I want dinosaurs in the spotlight again. I want kids playing raptor and T. rex in the backyard, buying dinosaur figures and testing each other how many scientific names they can remember. I miss that time. We are in a time scientifically were dinosaurs are more interesting than ever, but the public doesn’t seem to notice. So I hope that this movie becomes a hit, and reinvigorate the public interest in dinosaurs once more.

Now, I’ll be continuing to talk about Jurassic World on this blog every time some news drops, so if you’re into that sort of thing, awesome! But if you’re not, oh well. I talk about dinosaurs in popular culture on this blog. How can I not talk about the biggest dinosaur movie in a decade?

Join me next time, as I do something a little bit different. I’ve been watching a lot of Let’s Play’s of hunting/survival games lately, and I’m here to propose an awesome idea for that genre of gaming.

Let’s go on a safari, in Los Angeles, 15,000 years ago.

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