‘Jurassic Park 4’ sets a 2014 release date but still has no director

It has always been the goal of Universal and Amblin’ to continue making “Jurassic Park” movies, and part of me wishes they would have greenlit the insane version that John Sayles and William Monahan wrote a few years back about a commando team of genetically-modified dinosaur/human hybrid creatures who were sent in to destroy South American drug cartels.

Alas, we have lost our opportunity to witness that particular strain of madness, and instead, there’s another version that they’ve been developing, with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver scripting it.  That’s one of those totally logical moves considering “Rise Of The Planet of The Apes” managed to salvage a property that Fox had been frustrated by for decades.

Universal seems confident that the latest draft of the script cracked whatever problems they’ve been having, because they just set a release date for the film of June 13, 2014.

Yeah, you read that right.  People are worried about whether or not “Star Wars” has enough time between now and the 2015 release date to get it right, and that seems like a tight turnaround for a big event film, especially one that will as micro-scrutinized as a new “Star Wars” film.  “Jurassic Park” is making the jump to 3D with this new chapter, and that sounds like a major technical challenge.  They’ve got to make the dinosaurs feel as fresh and amazing as they seemed to audiences in 1993, and that’s not going to be easy.  It’s not just a button you push at ILM.  It’s going to really test a filmmaker, and according to today’s reports, they don’t have a filmmaker onboard already.

That would make me very nervous if I were the one greenlighting the film.  I’m guessing Universal has a pretty firm schedule in place if they’re already putting the movie on the calendar, and certainly visual FX can be done on a much tighter timetable than used to be true.  But even if they hire a director next week, he’s going to have to hit the ground running.

Even considering the visceral impact the first one had on a generation of film viewers, I don’t think there’s been a great “Jurassic Park” movie yet.  I think they all have some fun stuff in them, but they’re fairly disposable on a script level.  This is one of those franchises where anything is possible on a narrative level, and that is encouraging.  It means that Silver and Jaffa weren’t tied too closely to events that took place in the first three movies, and they can pretty much go anywhere in terms of story.  I hope they’ve come up with something very special, something that takes the potential that is inherent to “dinosaurs in the modern world” and spins it in some new and exciting way.

And the best part?  We don’t have to wait long to find out.