This week, we'll be re-thinking those plane tickets to...
Place: Isla Nublar, 120 miles off the coast of Costa Rica and home to Jurassic Park.
People/Characters: There's entrepreneur John Hammond, who funded the creation of a theme park where cloned dinosaurs can be observed by tourists from all over the world. There's also paleotologist Alan Grant, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler and mathematician Ian Malcolm, who spend a great deal of time running from these dinosaurs after everything goes predictably and horribly wrong.
What Makes It Unique: Um, dinosaurs? What else do you need? Although Michael Crichton's original novel and the 1993 film are significantly different, they both achieve a similar result: blockbuster entertainment wrapped in nice little sheet of scientific plausibility. Sure, this could be a story about scientists visiting a mysterious island and finding dinosaurs are still alive, but things are actually far more complicated on every level. Man has used his powers to tamper with nature and bring something primal back from the grave. This is not just a typical B-movie "Dinosaurs on an island!" movie. Mankind's curiosity has gone one step too far and the human race must reap what it sows. The scientific dilemmas stuffed between the exciting chases and close calls make Jurassic Park one of the best summer blockbusters ever produced and the novel one of the best beach novels ever written.
Verdict: But there were sequels. One in book form, two in film form. Well, at least they got it right the first time. Let's move on. Nothing to see here. We're abandoning Jurassic Park.
Reason: They've been threatening a Jurassic Park 4 for years now. It always seems to die but it always gets revived, looking a little more rotten and smelling a little worse every time it rears its ugly head. Surely you remember the draft that featured the army training dinosaurs as commandos and sending them on a mission to take down cackling Eurotrash villains?
You see, that's the problem with the film world ultimately being a business. The guys in the suits with the money want to make sure they make more money and making more money means making more movies based on movies that made money. In other words, Jurassic Park is still something of a cash cow for Universal and they're not going to abandon it yet.
But we are, right? And the reasoning is pretty darn simple: there doesn't seem to be any interesting stories left in this world. This well's been tapped, this cow's been milked, this velociraptor has been declawed. Put a fork in it, it's done. Insert another cliche here.
Is it really that simple? The answer is yes. The world doesn't need another Jurassic Park. We could always use another Dinosaurs-Chase-Folks-Through-The-Jungle movie, but why does it need to exist under this banner? That's an immediate limitation. That's playing in someone else's universe, living by their rules. Create something new, damn it!
On a closing note, I once told an "average Joe" co-worker about that abandoned dinosaur soldier concept. He thought it was the best thing ever. Yep, we'll be getting a Jurassic Park 4.