I’m the biggest Jurassic Park fan, like, ever. Evidence:
- I snuck a copy of the novel into my 8th grade science textbook so I could read it in class, a full year before the film came out. My teacher, who normally didn’t like me much, allowed it because it was scientific.
- My first marching band parade song was the Jurassic Park theme.
- The Jurassic Park soundtrack was the 2nd CD I ever purchased, and one of the few I still own.
- I liked The Lost World. I even liked Jurassic Park 3.
- My wife and I went to the 20th Anniversary showing of Jurassic Park in 3D for date night. Also: I have a very understanding wife.
That being said, I have severe misgivings about Jurassic World. Well, one severe misgiving.
Chris Pratt, the sensible dino-training guy, is explaining to Bryce Dallas Howard, the stand in for the questionable capitalist ethics of John Hammond in the first film (she’s even dressed in all white), why he respects the dinosaurs and she doesn’t, even though she’s come to him for help consulting on a new project.
Pratt makes a couple of jokes clearly written for him: that kind of aww shucks humor that made his turns in Parks and Rec and Guardians of the Galaxy such fun.
But there’s a decidedly darker undertone here, and I wonder if the largely male writing staff even noticed (there’s only one female writer credited to the script- Amanda Silver). Pratt’s character, rather than entering a professional debate with Howard’s character, consistently returns to the subjects of dating and sex. It’s a subtle but powerful exertion of male privilege and power over a woman in a professional environment, and it made me extremely uncomfortable the first time I saw it.
The scene in the recent trailer, where Pratt’s character makes a sex joke to Howard’s, certainly didn’t help to diminish that fear.
I used to like and respect Michael Crichton until I realized that, while the world changed around him, he did not. He was an ardent denier of climate change, and in one particularly foul episode before he passed away, cast a journalist critical of his writing as a pedophile in one of his books.
As much as I love Jurassic Park, I had hoped that the portrayal of workplace gender dynamics in Jurassic World might be more firmly rooted in the mid-2010s rather than the late 80s, early 90s in which the novel was originally written. I know Pratt’s character is the hero. I want to root for him, not root for him in spite of him being a sexist asshole.
I certainly hope I’m wrong and these are isolated incidents they happened to cherry-pick for the trailer, and that the film’s privilege is more advanced than its initially portrayed to be.
I suspect, however, I’m going to be disappointed. I hate being right all the time.