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Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is an undeniable classic. Not only was the film a true phenomenon when it was first released – making nearly a billion dollars worldwide as a critical hit – it has aged marvelously with effects that look as good as ever. The same things, sadly, can’t be said about the franchise as a whole. Both The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Joe Johnston’s Jurassic Park III made money, but only a fraction of what the first one pulled in, and both were put down by critics. So whether or not a fourth Jurassic Park movie is a good idea is one that’s definitely up for great debate.
At this stage in the game very little is known about Jurassic Park IV other than the fact that it’s happening, it will be in 3D and that Steven Spielberg is serving as a producer, but it’s easy to see why some would be skeptical about another trip to the island and why others would be excited. Following the breaking news of the new sequel, which will be in theaters on June 13, 2014, our own Eric Eisenberg and Sean O’Connell had a quick sit down to talk about positive prospects and possible pitfalls of a part four.
Eric: So Sean, 2013 is only 11 days old but already we already have what could be the story of the year: Jurassic Park IV is coming in 2014! And while it definitely catches my interest I'm not quite sure how to feel about it. How does the news strike you?
Sean: It saddens me, Eric. Truthfully, I can think of very few franchises that still have the creative juices flowing by the fourth film. And from what I can remember about the third Jurassic Park movie (which is very little), the recycled bits didn't scream to me that we desperately needed a fourth trip to the deadly island.
Eric: I will admit that even though the third movie only came out 12 years ago I can barely remember anything about it. Not exactly a film that sticks out in memory. But doesn't Spielberg's committed involvement make you at all interested? I know he was an Executive Producer on the last one also, but it's interesting that just a couple days ago he put the brakes on Robopocalypse. He may not be looking to direct it himself, but maybe he's going to really commit himself to the project. And who's going to say no to that?
Sean: Maybe. And that would possibly change my tune. And I'm not vehemently opposed to more Jurassic Park movies. I think they are fun diversions, and an excuse for a filmmaker to benefit from constantly improving effects tools. But -- and here's my biggest issue -- I'd prefer for Universal to blow the dust off of a dormant franchise like Jurassic Park BECAUSE a screenwriter or director had come to them with the absolute best idea for a new story, and not because the studio has a hole to fill on a summer schedule. Maybe that's what happened, and we don't know yet. Maybe the studio's about to tell us that there's a great script -- hell, I'd settle for a winning IDEA -- behind JP4. Because if not, this is backwards thinking, wouldn't you say?
Eric: If they are doing it just for the sake of making another Jurassic Park movie I totally agree - as it stands we don't need another story and that would be the terrible way of looking at the project. But I wonder if maybe Spielberg really is getting excited about a script and told Universal, "I want to do this NOW!" and that's why he stopped Robopocalypse. That said, looking at the 2014 release calendar I don't see any other Universal films, so that is a question mark. I'd say at this stage in the game it would be hard for anybody to say that they're actually "excited" for the movie - but I will say that I'm open to it.
Sean: That opens the door to another question, though, and one I can sink my teeth into: What WOULD get you excited about a new JP? Would it be the addition of the right director? A specific cast member added to the sequel? And what do we want to see the dinos do this time out? We've seen them come to the mainland in The Lost World. Where can they go next that would excite you?
Eric: Part of it is silly: I just really dig dinosaurs. Loved 'em since I was a kid and fascinated by them to this day. And while I can't say exactly what kind of story would pull me in because I have absolutely zero idea what they have planned, can you at least get excited for the technological aspects of it? The first Jurassic Park still looks amazing to this day, but imagine what they can do if they mix that with what we saw in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (another franchise that many didn't the point of resuscitating either). This isn't like Indiana Jones where the hero is gotten old and sad. There are plenty of things that can be done with dinosaurs and I want to see them do them!
Sean: Yeah, I can get worked up for the different types of dinosaurs that maybe haven't been exploited by the series already. The T-Rex was such a huge part of the first two movies, but I'd like to see them introduce different types of dinos that we've yet to see. An aerial-based JP movie, with tons of pterodactyl. Perhaps a water-based JP movie, with amphibias dinosaurs. There's a ton of potential here. Maybe, since we adore post-apocalyptic films now, we fast-forward to a point where the dinos escaped the island and have destroyed major cities, and we meet new characters who are helping humanity fight back. Big cities overrun with MORE dinosaurs. That, I can get excited by. Not a return trip to the island.
Eric: See! Now you're getting it! There's potential here! So have I opened your eyes to the positive prospects of Jurassic Park IV?
Sean: A little. Hiring the right director can help. I'm now cautiously optimistic ... but that glimmer of hope can be flushed down the toilet real fast if we're told Brett Ratner's Jurassic Park is coming to theaters in 2014!
Eric: For you and me both!