Jurassic World recently came out to own – it’s fun, a bit silly, and just maybe has a message. And not just this Jurassic movie, but all of them collectively. A rather important message really, albeit hidden under monstrous dinosaurs and running humans and, yes, a healthy dose of ridiculously fantastic deaths. So…what is this message?
That nature is a powerful force that should not be interacted with lightly. Nature should be respected at all times and playing God is not a wise choice, especially if you’ve not considered the repercussions of what you do. Disregarding Mother Nature is dangerous – both for you and those around you – and these films show that in very clear ways…especially concerning two specific facets in dealing with Nature.
Facet #1: Respect Nature’s Creatures
ALL her creatures. From your fellow human to a velociraptor to baby birds hopping about. There are, of course, various levels of disrespect to show from disregard to outright abuse, but any manner of discourtesy seems to result in the same ending. Death; specifically death-by-dinosaur. In every movie there’s at least one guy (it’s generally a man) who makes the mistake of treating a dinosaur poorly. Whether that be through name calling, mocking, or an act of aggression a human inevitably makes the mistake of thinking themselves dominant over animal and then the graver mistake of showing this apparent dominance to a nearby creature.
In the first movie this is computer tech, Dennis Nedry, who – let’s be honest – is kind of a dick in general. He’s loud, rude, obnoxious, and smarmy to pretty much everyone and everything. He’s also self-serving; willing to steal from his employers for a quick buck at a time when they need his skills the most. Clearly this guy was going to die, but his big mistake and ultimate demise doesn’t come until he runs across the poison-spitting, carnivorous, Dilophosaurus. Due to the dinosaur’s initial non-threatening appearance Nedry isn’t just dismissive with it, he’s a bit threatening telling it that he’ll run it down when he returns from selling embryos to the competition. It’s no surprise moments later the Dilophosaurus shows his own true nature by spitting blinding poison at Nedry’s face and (off-camera) eating him alive.
In the second movie it’s a hunter named Dieter Stark. Another guy who’s not exactly good to start given the whole hunter thing. He seals his fate when a curious little Compsognathus (aka “Compy”) comes over to examine him and another and Stark shocks it with a cattle prod. It lets out a pained squeal as it flees and that seems the end of things. Little does Stark realize that the breed is carnivorous and already responsible for a young girl nearly losing her finger in the beginning of the film. Now that he’s set himself up as a threat the Compys band together to take him out the moment the opportunity presents itself, ultimately tearing him apart and eating him alive.
In Jurassic World the fool to disrespect nature is Hoskins, a man more interested in weaponizing Velociraptors (aka Raptors) than seeing them as their own beings. When he gets close to one he treats it as one would a tamed puppy with condescending speech and clicks of his tongue. While not the most abusive in the film series – he gives no indication he has any intention of injuring the animals – he’s still not respectful. He still thinks he’s the dominant being out there, still thinks the dinosaurs as “less than”, and is flagrant about it. So it’s not that shocking, when confronted with a freed Raptor, he gets eaten alive like all the previous fools.
All animals, be them prehistoric or modern, should be treated with respect. They should not be dismissed, abused, or threatened. They may not be able to speak and act as a human being, but that doesn’t make them less-than and it certainly doesn’t mean they won’t fight back and/or protect themselves.
Facet #2: Never Presume Nature Can Be Controlled
It seems at least once in every Jurassic film someone declares “yeah, but we made sure this is under our control” in one way or another. And, every time, they are proven horrifically wrong. Each time nature adjusts, adapts, and evolves around the seeming controls that humans have set into place, which is just what it’s supposed to do. In order to survive all living things work their way around obstacles. …Dr Ian Malcolm in the very first film really did put it best is stating: Life finds a way.
In the initial Jurassic Park Dr Alan Grant and Dr Ellie Sattler both wonder how it is the park intends to prevent unauthorized breeding of the dinosaurs to which geneticist Henry Wu explains that he’s manipulated DNA so that all the dinosaurs are female. Seems a great fix as females can’t breed with one another. The problem is the froggie DNA mixed in to complete the dinosaurs happens to be from an amphibian that can change gender when required. Needless to say nature considers a sex-change is required and breeding in the wild begins (one of the things that leads to the next two sequels).
In the second film a group decides to “collect” the dinosaurs from their island where they’ve been living as the naturally wild creatures they are and try to stick them in a park based in San Diego. For the most part it’s a disaster, of course, but they do manage to nab and sedate a T-Rex. Problem is when it wakes up someone goes to open the cargo hold (presumably in attempt to re-sedate) and the massive carnivore gets completely free. It goes on to terrorize the streets of San Diego until it can be lured back to the hold via its baby – for once the need to preserve life, to carry on the species, working in the humans’ favor.
For the third film the battle to survive is shown when someone makes the mistake of stealing Raptor eggs causing all the Raptors on the island to start chasing after him and a group who crash-landed there. It isn’t until one of the crash-survivors returns the eggs that the humans are in any way safe…a real stroke of luck (and “the leads can’t die” rule) keeps the Raptors from attacking them after they get their babies back.
The latest film has geneticist Wu back creating dinosaurs and this time original species of them. Naturally this is where things go wrong – in efforts to make the perfect scare for the park Wu makes the perfect predator. Indominus-Rex. Especially vicious, especially aggressive, especially intelligent, and something that kills as much for food as for thrills. This time the DNA-mix includes cuttlefish, which leads to the Indominus being able to camouflage itself, Raptor, which leads to the other Raptors turning on the humans, and something else that allows the Indominus to change its internal temperature when desired. Needless to say once things go sideways with this dinosaur all hell breaks loose at Jurassic World.
It’s entirely possible that those who watch the franchise have no interest in thinking about its deeper message…or thinking deeply at all. That’s totally fine. Everyone should be able to enjoy some escapism in the comical deaths-by-dinosaurs for the sake of it, yet those who do find the message and take it to heart may survive a little longer out in nature, even the dinosaur-free kind.