Why ‘Jurassic World’ Shouldn’t “Fix” Its Dinosaurs

Jurassic Park first came out in 1993, and there have been a lot of advances in paleontology in the intervening twenty years. Velociraptors are chicken-sized. The triceratops may not be a different species. And needless to say, paleontologists are hoping that Jurassic World will maybe reflect the state of science. But really, it shouldn’t.

Let’s start with the most basic point, which is that Jurassic World is wandering pretty far afield from anything resembling actual science. It’s going to be an absolutely bizarre monster movie, and we can’t wait, but it’s not going to be remotely scientific. It’s going to have a camouflage monster, for God’s sake. And the velociraptors will be the heroes, of sorts. Really we just need to give them missile launchers and it’s straight from every grade-schooler’s imagination.

And it’s not like the first movie was a documentary. The original movie would gleefully fire science out the window if it made for a better story or a striking image. The Dilophosaurus who either ate Nedry or perhaps something else was pretty much a complete scientific crock, for example.

But more to the point, it really misses the spirit of the movies in the first place. What made Jurassic Park such a huge hit wasn’t that it was a scientific movie, but a movie that used science to make the plot seem just credible enough that you feel like it could really happen. There’s a sense of wonder to that, the idea that if you know where to look, there are truly miraculous things hiding right on the edges of the day-to-day.

It’s easy to understand why paleontologists are annoyed; to some degree, this kind of thing makes their jobs a little harder. But really, it’s worth keeping that magic. Besides, we really want to see the camouflage monster!