To date, only two particular demographics have unsuccessfully faced death in the Jurassic Park novels and films: adult males and dinosaurs. In both of Michael Crichton’s books, as well as Steven Spielberg’s classic movie and his and Joe Johnston’s lamentable sequels, these two groups often bite the dust — usually via being bitten.
This makes complete sense, given that male characters have generally outnumbered women and children in the books and movies produced thus far. However, Jurassic World isn’t just another example of the “let’s send a small group of people to an isolated island” scenario. It involves a large, fully operational destination where hundreds of workers and thousands of visitors will be when everything falls apart. Or, to quote Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), “You got 20,000 people. You got no more boats. You don’t have enough guns.”So will Jurassic World simply repeat its predecessors, or will it raise the stakes for characters like Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson)? In order for the film’s main premise to work — that “The Park is Open” — at least one woman or child, or both, must die. If the film follows the setup promised by its ginormous marketing campaign, this will happen. Then again, that’s a big “if.”
Let’s Do A Head Count
A re-read of the Jurassic Park and The Lost World novels, a marathon of all three Jurassic Park films, and a skim of the death counts over at the Horror Film Wiki, reveal that Velociraptors lead the pack with a phenomenal tally of 13 kills. Jophrey (the “gatekeeper”), John Arnold and Robert Muldoon in Jurassic Park; eight nameless hunters and Roland Tembo’s right-hand man, Ajay Sidhu, in The Lost World: Jurassic Park; and Udesky in Jurassic Park III.
Meanwhile, the Tyrannosaurus Rex comes in second with 10 kills, although a few of these are weird technical counts. Ol’ Rexy eats Donald Gennaro (the toileted lawyer) and kills two raptors in Jurassic Park; swallows Eddie Carr, Robert Burke, an unfortunate resident of San Diego (a cameo by screenwriter David Koepp), and steps on Carter in Lost World; and chews on some carrion (before getting its neck snapped) in Jurassic Park III. Technically, the captured male in
Technically, the captured male T-Rex in Lost World is responsible for the death of the ship’s crew in the second film, though even as a 12-year-old, I thought that particular premise was bullsh*t. And let’s not forget John Hammond’s nephew, Peter Ludlow, who’s torn apart by the infant Tyrannosaur.
Throw in a few randos with the Dilophosaurus, the compys, and the Spinosaurus, and you’ve got yourself a helluva death toll. One that includes, as it turns out, a lot of adult males and the occasional dinosaur. No dead kids or women on this list, but that’s to be expected.
It’s All A Numbers Game
Remember when I quoted Vincent D’Onofrio’s character Hoskins? That line about “20,000 people” and “no more boats” comes from the film’s second major trailer. Of course I’ve taken it out of context since (a) I pulled it from a trailer, (b) there’s a chance it might not even be in the final cut, and (c) the movie isn’t out yet. But the point still stands — now that the park is open, there will be a lot of people on Isla Nublar when things go wrong.
We’ve already seen a significant amount of death in the countless teasers, trailers, and TV spots, and it’s all been the same — park workers who happen to be adult males. But as the above GIF indicates, visitors of all shapes, sizes and sexes are fair game for the animals — especially the flying Dimorphodons. In fact, if you dig through the final trailer and a few others smaller spots, you can watch the moment when the woman the Dimorphodon picks up is dropped into what looks like the Mosasaurus water paddock. Jaws, anyone?
Why It Matters
What this comes down to is that wonderful(ly ambiguous) critical word, “realism” and not some desire to see children get sacrificed for my amusement. Yes, this is a science fiction film about genetically-engineered dinosaurs that — despite the highly publicized attempts of people in the real world — aren’t currently possible. That being said, it’d be nice if the movie followed its own logic and allowed us a chance to feel as though all characters are really in jeopardy when they are put into dangerous situations, not merely disposable male supporting players and extras.
Or, to paraphrase Drs. Ian Malcolm and Ellie Sattler:
God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates humans. Humans destroy God. Humans create dinosaurs. Dinosaurs eat everyone and everything, indiscriminately, because they’re dinosaurs.