Nostalgia is one of the best and worst parts of discussing movies. On the one hand, fuck yeah, I love looking back at something like The Lost World: Jurassic Park and remembering how awesome the velociraptors in the long grass are. On the other hand, I won’t lie and pretend it’s actually a good movie (in fact, it’s arguably Spielberg’s worst). And yet the Jurassic Park franchise is why I love movies, and The Lost World is a big reason for that enthusiasm for cinema. I still believe Jurassic World is good, solid, monster-movie fun, regardless of the fact that it is not the best picture of the year, and sure as shit not even close to being the best of the summer movie season. Though many have pointed out the massive Box Office intake that came out of left field, it turns out people really love dinosaurs, and more than anything else, people love Jurassic Park. And I mean love it. Harking back to the original idea espoused by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) in the first film of the fictive park being a functioning tourist attraction is a brilliant marketing strategy, plain and simple, an idea come to fruition in the script for Jurassic World after two decades of dinosaur disasters and patient billionaires throwing copious hundred dollar bills at franchise’s titular project and central narrative conceit. The park is finally open in Jurassic World, a film that’s like Jaws 3-D, but good (if only we had actually got to watch more dinosaurs let loose in the park itself).
More importantly, however, Jurassic World made bank at the box office, begging the question as to whether or not nostalgia can continue to supplement the franchise as it moves toward future installments. While such a case is unlikely, the filmmakers involved with the series will need to come up with new stories to tell in this dinosaur world, and I for one don’t know where they’d go from here, and part of me doesn’t believe the filmmakers do either. Four movies in and they’ve all taken place on an island filled with dinosaurs. I was personally hoping for a Rise of the Planet of the Apes type ending, with dinosaurs beginning to spread out into other parts of the world, forcing the human population to cope with prehistoric creatures adapting to modern environments across the globe, that film’s sequel examining the impact such an event would have on earth’s existing ecosystems. That being said, distributor Universal Pictures will probably just go for more nostalgic based marketing, which will ultimately prove seriously harmful to our shared, mainstream moviegoing experiences. While Jurassic World should inspire studios to do more monster movies, it’ll probably just inspire them to look at older properties that were once popular and repackage them in order to remind people of something they once obsessed over, and might become enamored with again purely for the sake of the property’s subjective historicity. Case in point, for some reason we’re even talking about a potential Space Jam 2 starring Lebron James (which is ridiculous; obviously you go for Kobe Bryant, so he can have a comeback in the movie in case real life doesn’t work out too well for him). Space Jam is partially amazing for being a gaping hole in studio logic as an, “I can’t believe we ever made that,” kind of experience. It’s not an endeavor worth making a sequel to, though I will give the movie credit for having Bill Murray cameo for no apparent reason whatsoever, and God forbid you talk about not liking this movie or not wanting to watch it again.
But do you know what the worst part about nostalgia is? The intangibility of criticism that can be aimed towards it. Whether it’s referring to the effect an old movie makes you feel, or dismissively stating that an old movie should never be criticized, people don’t want to hear you badmouth what some consider a classic (or anything released even five minutes ago, if we’re being completely honest). This is where the beauty of film discussion comes from, but there needs to be a better means for understanding disagreements before arguing and blood-boiling attacks. Differing opinions mixed with strong reactions don’t always need to lead to people not wanting to talk to each other afterward. You’re not in high school (unless you are, in which case, don’t be immature). Basically, if someone mentions a movie you hate as the last movie they watched with their grandma before she died, don’t crap all over them. Let them talk about their connection to it. When the time is right, you can go ahead and say why you didn’t care for it (after all, maybe the last movie your friend watched with their dying grandma really was a piece of literal garbage). And It’s not all downhill. Sometimes there’s a 50/50 split between the garbage and revisited properties. I’ve yet to watch Terminator Genisys, but the general consensus points to it being bottom-of-the-barrel cinematic fare (sorry, Sean Fallon). It’s my understanding that Genisys probably won’t even break $100 million at the domestic Box Office, pointing to the fact that the truly bad movies have lost, and always will. While I wrote a little piece about the good movies weathering storms of badness, and I do stand by it, just remember that the night is always darkest just before the dawn, but please, let’s stop living in this fantasy where nostalgia debunks all forms of logic and discussion.
Featured Images: Universal Pictures/Warner Bros.