Okay, I know there's at least a couple of you out there wondering how I felt about this news (no, the poster above is not official. It's fan-made) and I think I've kept quiet about it long enough. In case you haven't heard, Universal Studios announced on January 11th that Jurassic Park 4 was on the way with a release date of June 13, 2014. While many of my fellow JP fan friends immediately became excited with the news, I just shrugged and said, "Whatever." It's not that I wasn't happy for my fellow fans (in fact, I found their excitement quite heartwarming), it's just that the news has come just a few years too late for me and I just don't really care anymore. "How so," you say? I'll elaborate.
#1 - I'm Still Not Convinced It's Actually Happening
Is Twitter a reliable news source? Maybe, maybe not. Every movie news site on the internet seems to think so when it comes to the announcement of JP4 (and a few others), but we've been hearing news of JP4's supposed release since Jurassic Park III's theatrical run in 2001. It was a fun game for the first few years, but after a while, it got tiresome and after the deaths of original author Michael Crichton and animatronic supervisor Stan Winston in 2008, even producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy said maybe they should just leave the series alone. At this point, I had made peace with the fact that JP3 was the last film we'd get and if Jurassic Park ever graced the big screen again, it'd either be a rerelease or a remake. Five years later, sorry, I'm not buying this. After all the "he-said-she-said" running around from various members of cast and crew alumni as well as going through more writers than a television series, I'm not going to be won over by a single post from a social media site that I was never fond of to begin with (not that being posted on any other social media site would've really helped at this point).
Or, as I read it: "WOLF! WOLF! WWOOOLLLLLF!"
#2 - I'm Not Familiar With The Current Writers' Work
Back in June, it was reported that two new writers were confirmed. Husband and wife team Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver were taking over for Mark Protosevich, who had taken over for John Sayles in 2011, who had taken over for William Monahan in 2004 when Monahan's script involved getting out of the jungle. Now, Rick & Amanda are most well-known for the surprisingly successful Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, which I have not seen yet. Supposedly it kicks ass, but I just haven't squeezed it into my schedule yet. It's unclear whether or not they're tweaking Protosevich's script or doing something completely original, but Protosevich (who wrote the script for Thor) had been working with Spielberg closely to ensure that JP4 had a stronger story than JP3. Sayles & Monahan, however, haven't written a script for a film I've seen yet, but that'll change when Monahan's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For comes out this year. I want to be excited about the fact that the writers of a successful franchise reboot are possibly tweaking a story from the guy who wrote a kick ass story for Thor, but a) it's not known if they are actually tweaking it and b) I need to see Rise for myself before I can allow myself to get antsy over this news.
Stop staring, Ceasar! I'll get to you eventually, dammit!
#3 - The Last Movie Was Terrible
I've already expressed my distaste for the third film, so I'll keep this one short. When JP3 was announced on Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight in summer of 2000, I immediately became excited and eagerly anticipated the film's arrival. Back in 2001, my fifteen year old self loved it. However, as I've grown older, my fandom for it has faded completely and I consider it the final nail in Jurassic Park's cinematic coffin, for lack of better term. Can a new film fix it? Maybe, maybe not. The series has yet to put out a film that could out-do its predecessor (in my opinion), so I'm approaching this as a "fool me once, shame on you but fool me twice, shame on me" type scenario. Maybe that's too harsh, but I'd rather not be scorned again.
It's not just the films but the franchise in general that has me stepping back instead of leaping in at the Jan. 11th announcement...
#4 - Recent Expanded Universe Media Has Been Sub-par (At Best)
I'm not going to say that the old JP comics from the 90s were perfect because they weren't, but those came out pre-IDW Publishing. When IDW announced in 2010 that they had acquired the rights to JP, I was like, "Sweet! New JP comics!" Then Redemption came out, and if you've seen my YouTube channel, then you know that Redemption raped my childhood. The next story arc, The Devils In The Desert, was better, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't truly great as a whole. The third story arc, Dangerous Games, was so lame and boring that I didn't even BOTHER to review the entire series. After two issues of the same mediocrity and poor artwork, I gave up on the IDW series and apparently so did they because a new IDW arc hasn't surfaced since Dangerous Games,
JP: Dangerous Games, aka Jurassic Ball Z
Okay, so the comics were a bust. How about video games instead? Sure, the original ones weren't perfect either, but there were still some good ones in there. In June 2010, TellTale Games announced that an episodic game based on JP was in the works, similar to their Back To The Future game. This idea sounded intriguing as the game would put players back on Isla Nublar during the events of the first film and would show what became of the embryos Nedry had attempted to steal. While Jurassic Park: The Game had a really good story, the graphics were fifty-fifty and the gameplay was almost non-existent. The game received mixed reviews but it didn't really wow anyone. I was going to do a video review of the game, but time constraints prevented me from doing so but I did mention in the script that unless something actually worth talking about came along, I was DONE talking about Jurassic Park. Period.
No, I haven't tried the JP Builder game for iOS devices. The only Apple products I own are in my fridge.
#5 - Jurassic Park 4 Could Be The Start Of A New Trilogy
Does JP have enough ammunition in its guns for not just one, but three more films? One I could see, but three? Preposterous. Seriously, how many more ways can you maroon a group of people on an island full of dinosaurs without it getting old? Granted, I had mentioned earlier that William Monahan's draft involved not being in the jungle, but then again, it also involved human/frog/dog/Deinonychus hybrids bred in the Swiss Alps that ended with a blatant setup for JP5. Do keep in mind that co-writer John Sayles also wrote the original Piranha movie, so don't be surprised that it's as daft as it is. This script would completely piss on what made JP what it was worse than the third film did, but while Frank Marshall swears up and down that this plot idea was nothing more than a rumor, it should also be known that as far back as 2009, JP3 director Joe Johnston stated that the story for JP4 would be different than what we'd seen so far and it would mark a new trilogy. So what is it, then? Again, the "he-said-she-said" nonsense I had mentioned earlier. I seriously don't think that the series has enough in it for another three movies, especially if they did decide to go in the bat-shit insane direction pitched in the original script ("Hey, let's make a Jurassic Park movie that doesn't feel like Jurassic Park!"), considering that Jurassic Park was meant to be a one-shot deal. Instead of three new entries distancing the series from the source material even moreso, we need ONE film that would not only utilize all the materials and heart that made the first so great, but would also be a solid conclusion to the series. I've seen the best part of my childhood dissolve into mediocrity (if not downright crap) over the last two decades, so I can comfortably say that JP needs to be put to rest and if this 4th film is actually in the works, then it may actually happen.
A piece of concept art from the insane JP4 script, which Industrial Light & Magic proved (thankfully) that it wasn't their work.
#6 - We Have Very Little To Go On Right Now
Okay, let's give the benefit of the doubt. Let's say JP4 actually is happening...what do we know for certain? Rick & Amanda are writing it, Spielberg will produce but not direct, Joe Johnston's not involved, it's being shot and released in 3D and it's slated for a June 2014 release. That's it. Who'll star? Who'll direct? Are we getting the animatronics back or is it going completely digital? What's the story? Is seventeen months enough time to churn out a big budget creature feature? This is the biggest reason why I'm refraining from getting excited about this movie: there's too many unknowns at this point. All we really have to get excited for is the idea of a new JP film, nothing more, nothing less. As I stated before, if this news of "confirmation" had been released a few years ago, I'd be all over it like white on rice but it didn't. Forgive me, but it's going to take more than a few words on Twitter (Tweet source be damned) for me to believe this is happening, much less get excited for it. Of course, I'm not ignoring the fact that JP4 is slated for release a good seventeen months from now so it's not like Universal would give up any goods this early but the pot does need some sweetening before I get giddy about a new JP film. Show me official concept art, cast and crew announcements, plot details (no saurian/canine crosses, please), things like that, then we'll talk. Until such a day, I don't really care enough about Jurassic Park 4 to say anything much else than, "This is why I don't really care about Jurassic Park 4."
I'm really not trying to rain on anyone's parade with this post, but if any of you care enough to wonder why I've been quiet on the subject...