Look, it really depends on what you mean by “doomed”. It’s true, after all, what lan Malcolm said: We haven’t got the power to destroy the planet – or to save it. In the planetary sense everything’s fine. Man is just the briefest blip on the geologic timescale, just a pack of fleas the earth will wipe out with a twitch. Earth will remain so long after we are gone that the mind is incapable of grasping such immensity. However, if you define “doomed” as the inevitable extinction of most major species on earth, well, that’s different. Earth may not be doomed but every beautiful, complex, unique form of life upon it is, and isn’t that what we’re really talking about? No one’s worried that we’re going to annihilate single-celled organisms – just, you know, the millions of other precious lifeforms that can’t survive a nuclear holocaust. We are the product of billions of years of evolution, yet in a few thousand we will have managed to ruin everything. So are we doomed? Are we witness to life’s final death throes? I guess it just comes down to semantics. If we are gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us, he said. But it certainly won’t ever be the same, either.
Jurassic Park/World, the Cinematic Franchise We Need (But Not the One We Deserve)
A couple days ago I watched the most recently released trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and it sparked an interesting thought process. I have linked the trailer at the bottom of this post for those who are interested, but I can sum up the plot pretty easily – it’s basically Jurassic Park: The Lost World all over again, but with some fancier dinosaurs. The movie will start with a visit to the island (just like in Lost World), where the dinosaurs need to be removed before am imminent volcanic eruption (or for a zoo in Lost World). Once transferred to the mainland, one or more dangerous dinosaurs will escape (just like in Lost World) and our heroic hetero couple will have to save the day (just like, you guessed it, in Lost World!).
At first I rolled my eyes at this unnecessary rehashing of a previous plot line. If the events in San Diego happened only years before the building of Jurassic World, shouldn’t we as a species have learned a lesson regarding carnivorous dinosaurs in population centers? Wouldn’t we at least put extreme cautions in place, or even new state or federal regulations governing the transfer and containment of extinct creatures? It just isn’t possible for the exact same scenario to play out only a few years later, not when such a scenario was covered worldwide and many of those involved are still alive. Even considering the volcanic threat and therefore the need to save as many of the dinosaurs as possible, I can’t imagine any nation would essentially say, “Yeah, go ahead and bring those things back here, they only destroyed two different parks and escaped their containment in San Diego and killed like forty people, what’s the worst that could happen?” It doesn’t make sense at all.
…except that it does. As I pondered the new Jurassic World era, wondering if the third movie would also be a rehash of Jurassic Park 3, I realized I was missing the point. What if instead of recycling old plot lines out of laziness, the creators of Jurassic World were making a very pointed statement? What if Jurassic World is an allegory for the ways humanity continues to repeat past mistakes without learning from them, even when the consequences are a disastrous loss of human life? Viewed through this lens, the repetition of the movie plots teaches us a valuable, albeit grim, lesson – a portion of humanity will always choose personal power over the safety and prosperity of others, and this greed will inevitably lead society down a dark, deadly path. Considering we’re on the cusp of a third world war, this theory actually makes a lot of sense. Jurassic Park/World is fiction, of course, but I can see it playing out in reality exactly how it does in the franchise. People with too much money attempt something dangerous in the hopes of making even more money; innocent people die as a result; a few years later a new group of people with too much money attempt the same thing but with more bells and whistles; more innocent people die; rinse and repeat. It’s been happening more or less since human society came to be, and it sure doesn’t seem like we’re going to do a 180 any time soon.
Maybe I just don’t have any faith in humanity left. Maybe I just can’t admit my favorite franchise is becoming repetitive and unoriginal. Or maybe it’s just comforting to imagine our current reality isn’t the only one where greedy businessmen have doomed us all. Whatever the reason, I’m standing by my thesis – Jurassic World is trying to warn us that if we don’t learn from our past, we’re doomed to repeat it… and repeat it… and repeat it. Are there money-hungry people out there willing to build a zoo full of dinosaurs even though the last two attempts ended in complete disaster? Yup. Because humanity sucks.
…maybe we deserve to get eaten by dinosaurs.