Don’t tell the FBI, but I have a pirated tape of Jurassic Park.
I must be six or seven years old and I put this grainy-looking, low-voice video on every day before school without fail. I could recite every line in a movie (at least the ones I could understand), and I would laugh at the electrified fence in a storm when I saw a man standing in front of a movie theater projector just before the iconic T-Rex that was shot down. He never knew what he was missing.
I love Jurassic Park. I have all the toys (I also have a rubber-skinned T-Rex figure), I have pajamas (I also have an old JP T-shirt), I have video games (I’m playing the Aftermath matchmaking game on Oculus Quest this week) . I still love Jurassic Park.
And, I’ve been waiting for lightning to strike twice. But after a series of increasingly bad sequels, on the cusp of Jurassic World: Domination, the sixth and (presumably) last entry into the series, I realized I was looking in the wrong place.
With Apple’s new TV show Prehistoric Planet, I think life may finally find a way to fill the dinosaur-shaped hole in my TV soul.
entertainment to evolve
The sins of the ‘Jurassic Park’ sequel are plentiful—maybe not as serious as those of other blockbuster franchises like Star Wars (opens in new tab) Or the Terminator movies.
But after Steven Spielberg’s first foray into ancient natural history, it was an example of diminishing returns not only for Spielberg, but for the directors who followed him: Joe Johnston, Colin Trevorrow and JA Bayona.
It’s as if they couldn’t follow the philosophy laid out in the original movie. Jeff “Ian Malcolm” Goldblum’s oft-quoted line may be aimed at the sequel makers themselves: “Your scientists are so focused on whether they can do it, they don’t stop to think Should it be done?”
Jurassic Park promotes respect in the presence of the natural world and balances the awe and dignity of these temporal behemoths with the fear their ferocity (and human intervention) may inspire, while ironically the sequel abuses them as The thrill of a theme park.
Chaos Jurassic Park: The Lost World morphed into a lowest-common-denominator monster movie with its San Diego T-Rex rampage ending. ‘Jurassic World’ literally introduces a Frankenstein mash-up dinosaur — as if the real deal wasn’t compelling enough. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom redefines the film as a straight-forward horror movie — fun in concept but tedious in execution (as brilliantly analyzed in this article) film academy rejected pieces), seeing the majesty and enormity of the creatures contained within the formulaic framework.
It’s an unpopular opinion, but my favorite in the sequel is Jurassic Park III. It made many of the same mistakes listed above, but did so almost unabashedly, as if it admitted that the original couldn’t be surpassed, and, really, all audience members are dinosaurs here now – it squeezed in as much as possible Dinosaurs ran as far as possible, back to back, panting for 92 minutes.
It’s a thrill that isn’t didactic, and it at least conveys the thrill well — the “birdcage” scene is the best action in the series.
I can’t pretend I don’t like these movies and then – put a dinosaur on the screen and my heart is still shaking. But whatever magical combination of elements made the original Jurassic Park so compelling is barely there in any of the sequels.
Yet the prehistoric planet is as close to those incredible early memories of Jurassic Park as it was years ago.
life found a way
Prehistoric Planet, a joint production of the BBC and Apple’s fast-growing Apple TV Plus streaming service, has significant and production advantages.
Combining cutting-edge CGI work with real-world location shooting and adhering to an up-to-date understanding of prehistoric life, it’s a true visual feast.
Premiering on Apple platforms this week, with new episodes premiering every day, Prehistoric Planet opens with an almost unfair advantage: it features the expertise of David Attenborough, whose voice is like the personification of knowledge of natural history .
Attenborough, while best known for his on-location shoots with real-life animals, has dabbled in CGI-driven documentaries over the past decade, which has allowed him to present natural history as what we call “dramatic facts.”
You can’t send a camera crew through time to capture footage of dinosaurs, but if you Can, Attenborough’s work will be the exact way you want to see it presented. It’s a fitting coincidence that he happens to be the brother of the late actor Richard Attenborough, the actor who brought Jurassic Park founder John Hammond to life .
Each episode of the prehistoric planet will showcase different patterns of creatures, habitats and behaviors from tens of millions of years ago, with the first episode focusing on coastal scenarios and the parenting skills of these ancient giants.
These are presented in such vivid detail that it’s often easy to forget you’re watching a computer-animated creature, not a reanimated swarm of reptiles. The BBC’s Natural History Unit is working with Jon Favreau (Director of Iron Man and creator of Disney Plus hit The Mandalorian) and VFX house MPC (Working with Favreau to bring Savannah animals to life in “live-action” Lion King remake) .
The results are stunning – from the tiny muscle twitches of a full-scale T. rex, to the water rips of various mosasaurs, to the menacing glare of a roaming dragon fish, the presence of these digitally rendered creatures is fully realized.
But perhaps what’s most telling about prehistoric planets is the sheer wonder of these once-dominant creatures. With no franchise and plots determined only by the way science believes these reptiles once behaved, the prehistoric planet has once again captured the amazing, almost unbelievable way these multi-ton creatures once walked on the same planet as us fact.
Jurassic Park: Reign, the upcoming Jurassic Park sequel, aims to capture the same emotions, but with a story aimed at giving dinosaurs a rampage in the modern world. Even as a longtime apologist for the franchise, I feel like it totally overestimates the audience’s interest in the narrative arc of a single Raptor and its relationship with star Chris Pratt, which has seen this new trilogy basically It comes down to Lassie and Dinosaurs – “a man and his raptors”.
By humanizing its ever most terrifying on-screen presence with Raptor Blue, Jurassic World and its sequels have lost their awe for these exciting creatures.
But by eliminating interfering humans, the need for the hot explosives in the trailer, by supporting the effort with a trusted natural historian and providing it with quality production value, the prehistoric planet has once again inspired my potential paleontology scientist. For Jurassic World: Domination, it now has Rex-sized boots to fill.