Have you seen Jurassic World? Huh? Have you? Huh, huh? Have you?
You must have seen it because its opening weekend was almost as big as the entire yearly GDP of the noble island nation of Palau. No kidding. Admittedly, only about 21,000 people live in Palau but, hey, you plunked down more cash in three days than those 21,000 produced in a whole year of — *looks up Palau’s chief economic export* — tourism? Huh. Hey, scuba diving and spending your days on beautiful tropical beaches ain’t cheap, right?
Anyhow, expect a bunch of pixels to be dumped on the question of why the heck Jurassic World made so much cash. All things being perfectly equal, it shouldn’t have. The premise of the movie is ridiculous. The dinosaurs, even in the trailers, look like shoddy CGI rush jobs, the 21st Century equivalent of Dinosaurus! (which isn’t the worst movie I’ve seen more than once). This article in Variety pretty much sums up why Jurassic World crushed the box office with its giant dino-feet despite its many problems.
Throw away most of the junk about 3D and release timing. That’s movie industry ego-stroking. Want to know why Jurassic World crushed last weekend and why it’ll own the summer, too? Lean in. I’ll tell you.
Chris Pratt and dino carnage.
That’s it. Chris Pratt is the most charismatic, likable, approachable male movie star working today. And make zero mistakes here, folks, he is a bona fide star. He commands the camera’s attention, even when he’s not trying to. If you put him on screen with someone not on the top of their game and he will outshine them, which is why his “co-stars” in this movie are far less memorable than the cast around him in Guardians of the Galaxy. Zoe Saldana and a well-acted raccoon beat Bryce Dallas Howard and a pack of fakeyraptors because the former brought the acting heat and the latter were just…there.
He’s also an everyman, which means schlubs like me love watching him do his work masterfully. A little voice in back of our heads tell us that if we work hard, we could do really well, too. We don’t get that voice when we watch Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Chris Pratt has been fat and hated it, so he buckled down and got not-fat. Those other guys have seemingly had washboard abs since they were toddlers. Pratt’s fatherhood is front-porch and looks…normal. The other guys either don’t have kids or have them and jet around the world. He’s a goofy, loving husband to a knockout hard-working wife. He’s funny but not polished, smart but not annoying about it. Of course we love the guy. How could we not?
But Chris Pratt alone can not a summer blockbuster supreme make. We need one more ingredient, an ingredient so powerful that it makes nearly ever movie in which is appears instantly-watchable. I speak, of course, of dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs make everything better.
I believe I’ve proven my point. Even badly-done dinosaurs make a movie better*. Even ridiculously-explained super-dinosaurs make a movie better, though they were created by characters who, based on what we know of their enormously-dumb decision making, would probably decapitate themselves with ordinary kitchen silverware five minutes after they rolled out of bed.
Your formula for box-office mega-success is obvious. Chris Pratt + Dinosaurs = GOLD**
This, of course, means someone is frantically writing a sequel to this sequel with Chris Pratt and his Howling Raptormandoes fighting dino-evil from island to island, and perhaps even into the distant past. What? Isla Nublar, Isla Sorna, and the Muertes Archipelago aren’t that far from Easter Island, home to mysterious occurrences and a powerful time-spanning energy vortex into which The Howling Raptormandoes could be pulled. Pratt’s character, Owen, was in the Navy. Special forces, maybe?
The movies practically write themselves!
Which, come to think of it, sounds like an awful lot of fun.
*Imagine, just for a moment, Chris Pratt on the back of a giant googly-eyed lizard, brandishing a club. You have it? Yes? Now know that, at some point, some Hollywood genius will green-light a remake of Caveman starring Chris Pratt and Anna Faris (in the Shelley Long role) and you will only have me to blame.