Jurassic World

Jurassic-World-The-GameJurassic Park was the biggest box office hit of the summer before it even came out. The anticipation and excitement over this film was almost unprecedented, and with good reason. Everyone loves the original Jurassic Park films. How can you not? There’s dinosaurs, pretty music, and Jeff Goldblum. The original Jurassic Park movie is a classic, and right now Hollywood is into rebooting 1970’s classics. Star Wars is the obvious example, plus the rumors over another Indiana Jones film.

But of course, creating a new part of an established cinema legacy comes with a lot of pressure. Everyone loves the original Jurassic Park movie(s), so they are expecting a spectacular film. Something reminiscent enough of the original franchise to evoke nostalgia, but something creative enough to feel like something new. I believe the box office numbers will support the thesis that Jurassic World achieved both of these things.
Chris Pratt as Owen

Chris Pratt as Owen

I’m not going to lie; I teared up a little the first time Jurassic World played John’s Williams beautiful theme. That, more than anything else for me, brought forth a strong feeling of nostalgia for the original movie. But Jurassic World also included some comedic references to the original film (one of the tech guys is wearing a classic Jurassic Park shirt and gets grief about it from Bryce Dallas Howard), as well as an actual visit to a ruined part of the original park. These scenes tied the new movie to the old, but they didn’t dwell on the past. Rather, they honored it as they moved forward.

After three Jurassic Park movies, the real challenge for the creators of Jurassic World was to find a new twist to the old story–park full of dinosaurs, dinosaurs get loose and eat people. We’d already had the bad boy T-rex, the menacing raptors. So Jurassic World went for something totally new: a brand new dinosaur. It was staged perfectly. The park needed something new to keep people’s interest, and so did the movie, so a new hybrid dinosaur is born. It’s intelligent, big, and very carnivorous. Audiences had a new ‘king’ dinosaur to hate/fear/wonder at with the Indominus Rex.
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire with Chris Pratt

Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire with Chris Pratt

But the people behind Jurassic Park didn’t just stop at something as basic as creating a new dinosaur. They also evolved the old ones, particularly the raptors. Anyone whose seen any of the old Jurassic Park movies knows that the dinosaur you really have to fear is not the T-rex, but the raptor. But in Jurassic World, raptors have formed a tenuous relationship with their trainer (Chris Pratt). Now, some of the dinosaurs are the good guys.

The actors are great. There are the required children–every Jurassic Park movie has to have kids. The kids are a little cliche with their parents going through a divorce, but almost getting eaten by dinosaurs brings them together. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt are the stars. Howard is the no-nonsense manager of Jurassic World, efficient if a little cold at times. Chris Pratt is the raptor trainer, for lack of a better title. As the kids attest, he is awesome. And he and Howard have great chemistry.
Nothing brings brothers together like trying to avoid getting eaten.

Nothing brings brothers together like trying to avoid getting eaten.

The supporting actors are also great. The owner of the park, played by Irrfan Khan, reminds the characters and audience why Jurassic Park/World is so special. He keeps the big picture in mind. There are also a couple of tech/operations characters that keep things fun and engaging.

I don’t think anyone will be disappointed by Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs are amazing, the characters are a great. It is a great homage to the original films while making the franchise fresh and relevant again. I loved it. All my friends who have seen it loved it. It is definitely the must-see film of the summer.
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The Heroine Part 5: The Masculinized Heroine

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Kenneth Brannagh’s film adaptation.

As I discussed in previous posts, the medieval heroine struggles to take control of her own story. One reaction to this struggle was for a heroine to use her sexuality to take an active role in the plot. Now I turn my attention to the other reaction—the masculinized heroine, a female character who makes herself more masculine in order to become the protagonist of the story. To analyze this type of heroine, we turn to one of my favorite Shakespeare plays—As You Like It. I chose to analyze this play because one of the heroines, Rosalind, literally disguises herself as a man in order to directly participate in the action of the story. I also chose this play because the other heroine, Celia, is an interesting comparison to Rosalind.

Let’s set the stage. Rosalind and Celia are cousins, and Rosalind’s father is a duke. Celia’s father usurps Rosalind’s father and Rosalind is exiled. Celia decides to go with her out into the wilderness. Celia decides to disguise herself as a shepherdess and Rosalind decides to disguise herself as a man. This becomes a perfect way to analyze the benefits and costs of a heroine rejecting or maintaining a feminine identity, as Rosalind reveals what happens when a heroine rejects her femininity and Celia reveals what happens when a heroine retains it.

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Rosalind disguised as a man.

The masculinized heroine gains independence by rejecting her feminine nature. While she is disguised as a man, Rosalind shows bravery in leading Celia out into the wilderness, and she participates directly in the action of the story, challenging her love interest Orlando, acting as a judge in settling a dispute between lovers, and interacting with the other male characters in the play. Celia, on the other hand, as a woman, does not perpetuate the story like Rosalind. The masculinized female character can drive the plot of her story.

Also like the sexualized heroine, however, the masculinized heroine loses the essential qualities of a heroine that are rooted in her feminine identity. Throughout the play, Rosalind fails to demonstrate any notable compassion, individual attention, or maternal affection towards anyone. Celia, on the other hand, who maintains her feminine identity, does demonstrate these qualities. Celia is the more loving character. This is clear when Celia’s father banishes Rosalind and Celia decides to go with Rosalind into exile because of her deep love for her cousin:

Herein, I see, thou lov’st me not with the full weight

That I love thee; if my uncle, thy banished father, had

Banished thy uncle, the duke my father, so thou hadst

Been still with me, I could have taught my love to take

Thy father for mine; so wouldst thou, if the truth of thy

Love to me were so righteously tempered as mine is to

Thee.

Here, Celia is saying that if their roles were reversed, Celia would learn to love Rosalind’s father as her own, but Rosalind refuses to learn to love Celia’s father. Celia sees this as proof that she loves Rosalind more than Rosalind loves her. Celia says this outright:

Rosalind lacks then the love

Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one.

Celia not only demonstrates deeper love than Rosalind, but almost more faithfulness:

And do not seek to take your change upon you,

To bear your griefs yourself and leave me out:

For, by this heaven, now at our sorrows pale,

Say what thou canst, I’ll go along with thee.

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Romola Garai (left) as Celia and Bryce Howard (right) as Rosalind.

Both Rosalind and Celia are very interesting and engaging characters. In a sense, combined they make the perfect heroine—Rosalind brings her assertive character and Celia brings her feminine nature. However, they are two separate people. Rosalind succeeds in driving the plot of the story but fails to demonstrate compassion and love. Celia does demonstrate compassion and love, but she fails to perpetuate the story as Rosalind does. In the end, they both fail as heroines.

So what does a true heroine look like? I think she’s something special. She doesn’t need to make herself more masculine because then she becomes a hero rather than a heroine. A heroine has something to offer that a hero doesn’t, and that is why she is unique and necessary. So far, we’ve looked at heroines that have all been written by men, and maybe that’s why none of them have succeeded in representing a true heroine. Next, we’ll take a look at Jane Eyre, a heroine written by a woman, and a heroine who maintains her feminine nature while perpetuating the action of her own story.

For more on the heroine:

Part 1: An Introduction

Part 2: The Helper

Part 3: The Damsel in Distress

Part 4: The Sexualized Heroine

Part 6: Poor, Obscure, Plain, and Little

Part 7: Why It Matters