Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Last weekend I trudged around London's Natural History Museum looking at all their monster bones. Despite a lack of Tyrannosaurus rex (the King is only completely present as a twitchy robot replica) the exhibit was fun. They had wrought iron replicas commissioned by Princes, remains of all the big hitter herbivores, and even a G1 Grimlock and some Black Zoids tucked away in a glass display case. This last detail felt especially emblematic of a tour rooted explicitly in a late-80s idea of pre-history, something Jurassic World seems to absolutely revel in.
Based on these glimpses, Trevorrow's terrible lizards are boringly classicist. Drab olives and greys for skin, zero spines or feathers, and, because they don't trust the material, a monstrous gene spliced threat inherited from an 'extreme!' 1990s toyline. Jurassic World was an opportunity to throw around some new information and challenge the preconceived ideas people have about dinosaurs. We could have had a dangerous, omnivore Triceratops gobbling up kids or a Tyrannosaur covered in barbed, downy feathers.
That last one could have been especially great. Introduce the Rex as a bashful thing, almost ashamed of what we've found out about it. Then, as soon as the Park falls apart, sell incredibly hard on the idea that this thing is the most terrifying beast on the planet. Every other scene should be Rex triumphing over some puny contender. Instead of replaying Spielberg beats for nostalgia money, the filmmakers should've sat down and gobbled up some monster-as-protagonist fiction. World's Tyrannosaur should be as visually distinctive as Ricardo Delgado's Age of Reptiles, as Machiavellian as Pat Mills and Mike McMahon's Satanus, and as invincible in a straight fight as Shusuke Kaneko's apex heel Godzilla.