Posts Tagged ‘Sarcasm’

Jurassic World is a film that attempts to highlight¬†the dangers of crassly commercialising dinosaurs by… well, crassly commercialising dinosaurs.

The irony of this was apparently lost on the writers.

Look: I get it. You¬†wanted an excuse to make a dinosaur that was bigger than a t-rex, but you couldn’t be bothered looking up giganotosaurus or spinosaurus and anyway, that whole Meddling Mad Science¬†angle is so appealing, why not go there instead? So you wrote an excuse for it into the script about how Kids These Days with their internets and their rap music are just so jaded¬†that only bigger, better, newer dinosaurs can hold their attention, and then you spent the whole film explaining why building bigger, better, newer dinosaurs with Meddling Mad Science is, in fact, a terrible idea. But before all the carnage and death, when you were showing us the excited younger brother dragging his disaffected sibling through the park – and I’m sorry, but even with the 3D glasses on, it¬†still looks like a plastic model in the panning shots – you made the mistake of assuming your actual audience is just as jaded as your fictional one. As such, you¬†didn’t bother with a slow reveal, or a sense of wonder, or any sort of visual tease with the dinosaurs at all, which is more than a little disappointing for those of us who’ve been waiting for this film since 1997 (The Lost World was okay, but¬†Jurassic Park III never happened, shhh). Everything was presented as ordinary, mundane, boring, right up until it all went¬†to shit; and even then, your CGI indominus rex wasn’t a patch on Jurassic Park’s t-rex, not least because you couldn’t be bothered to keep the size and scale of it consistent, so that it gets noticeably bigger or smaller depending on the scene –

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the sexism.

Let’s talk about Karen’s chirpy, passive-aggressive exchanges with her sons and husband. Let’s talk about how, when Zach’s girlfriend asks him¬†to send her photos from his week away so she won’t forget what he looks like, then tells him she loves him, and Zach replies by basically shouting YEAH BYE and noping out to the car, she still stares adoringly after him, as though this is a thing an actual, emotionally invested girlfriend¬†would do. Let’s talk about how Zach then spends the first half of the film staring creepily at every teenage girl¬†he encounters. Let’s talk about Karen’s assumption that of course her single sister is going to want¬†kids – not if she has them, but when – and the way she breaks down in guilt-inducing tears on the phone because Zach is just so mean to his little brother sometimes and why isn’t Claire there to make him play nice?¬† Let’s talk about Claire being criticised in the narrative for being trepidatious around a pair of kids she’s too busy to mind and hasn’t seen in seven years, as though she’s not doing her sister a bigass favour by taking them in the first place. Let’s talk about how Claire is apparently so clueless despite her high-powered job that not only can’t she remember how old her nephews are or how long it’s been since she’s seen them – as though¬†this information never came¬†up when the trip was organised – but when she’s out hunting them down, she unironically¬†asks if Owen can track their scent, as though this is a skill that actual humans possess.

Let’s talk about how, after that one meeting with the executives we never see again, Claire is criticised by literally every man she encounters regardless of age and rank – Larry, her underling; Masrani, her boss; Zach and Gray, her nephews; Owen, her (ugh) love interest; Hoskins, the obligatory InGen douchebag who isn’t eaten by raptors anywhere near soon enough – and how not a single fucking person treats her as competent. Let’s talk about how the narrative never even tries to portray her as good at her job, given the whole ‘let’s send people into the indominus rex paddock before activating¬†the tracking beacon that would’ve told me it was there the whole time’ fiasco that literally causes dozens of deaths and the ruin of the entire theme park. Let’s talk about how, when she finally does do something awesome by rescuing¬†Owen from a pterodactyl, her nephews respond by asking who Owen is and, even though Claire just did something totally badass while Owen lay on the ground, he’s the one they want to stick with for protection. Let’s talk about how, when Claire has the similarly good idea of leading the t-rex out to fight the indominus, she somehow ends up lying behind it on the ground in an actual swimwear model pose, having spent the entire film steadily shedding clothing. Let’s talk about the needlessly protracted, gratuitous death of Zara. Let’s talk about Zach telling Gray not to cry about their parents getting divorced, even though he only found out about it himself that fucking second, because guys aren’t meant to do that, damn it! Let’s talk about how, in accordance with this dictum, the only other people who cry on screen are women.

Let’s talk about what the fuck the scriptwriters were even on¬†when they wrote this mess, sweet¬†Christ on a goddamn bicycle. Because¬†even without all the shit mentioned above – and it is, as Dr Ian Malcolm so famously said, one big pile of shit – the script is more full of dropped threads than an amateur’s sewing basket.

One big pile of shit

The whole thing about Zach and Gray’s parents getting divorced? Never mentioned again. Zach’s girlfriend? Never mentioned again. The reason for Zach’s apparent lack of commitment to said girlfriend? Never even discussed. The opening gambit about Claire not wanting kids, which is – one charitably assumes – meant to evoke the same claim originally made by Dr Alan Grant in Jurassic Park? Irrelevant, given that, unlike Alan, Claire doesn’t then spend the whole film bonding with Zach and Gray; in fact, they barely¬†communicate, and the boys end the film liking Owen more than her. (And don’t even get me started on the very salient contextual difference between one half of a lovingly married couple playfully bringing up the subject of kids with their male spouse, who eventually changes his mind, and a single professional woman being pressured to want children by a sibling who, to make the whole thing even more ironic, is going through a divorce.) The reason for Dr Wu’s apparent defection to InGen? Never explained. Owen’s status as a navy guy who somehow got tapped to work as a fucking dinosaur behaviouralist despite the fact that, as far as the script is concerned, he’s never even worked with animals before? Not explained. The thing where Gray is apparently smart enough to know everything there is to know about the park – and can apparently repair and jumpstart a decades-old Jeep he instantly identifies by make and model, Jesus¬†Christ – but still somehow believes that his brother once killed a ghost to save him? I literally cannot even.

And okay, look. I get that a not inconsiderable portion of the internet has become rather swoony on the subject of Chris Pratt’s Captain Tight Pants transformation, but the scene where he’s introduced fixing a classic motorbike outside his charming¬†bungalow while sipping Coke from a glass fucking bottle¬†like he’s recreating Dylan O’Brien’s Teen Vogue photoshoot, and then proceeds to get all up in Claire’s business by making at least one horrible innuendo, mocking how terrible she was on their date and grinning because she’s a corporate suit who doesn’t understand the animals or like getting her hands dirty, while she stands there in what is effectively a jungle wearing a pristine white business suit? Yes, hello: nineteen eighty-four called, it wants its Romancing the Stone tropes back.

Comparison - jurassic stone

I mean, come ON.

 

Actually, scrap that: Romancing the Stone was a better film than Jurassic World, not least because it had a sense of its own ridiculousness, as well as – case in point – a scary gang boss who loved romance novels. And, you know, actual chemistry between the two lead characters, instead of the cardboard bickering that’s meant to pass for that between Pratt and Howard. Which, in fairness, is less their fault than it is a consequence of¬†the utterly abysmal script, which riffs shamelessly on the original film¬†with zero¬†understanding of what made it work. (Hint: it wasn’t a Jimmy Fallon cameo.)

In Jurassic Park terms, then, here’s how bad the characterisation in Jurassic World is: Claire¬†is a female version of Donald Gennaro, the bloodsucking lawyer famously¬†eaten while taking a shit, who spends the whole film being alternately condescended to and hit on by a hybrid of Dr Ian Malcolm and Robert Muldoon, aka Owen. Their chemistry is dismal, their one kiss is worse, and both of them¬†get less emotional development and catharsis than Blue the velociraptor, who’s probably just grateful – given that her siblings are called Charlie, Delta and Echo – that she wasn’t named Foxtrot.

Cool gyroscopes, though.

I’ve been pretty silent lately on the subject of news and popular culture, not because there’s been a dearth of commentworthy topics, but because I’ve been singletracked by a pesky plot point in Book the Second. With the cancellation of Dance Your Ass Off, however, I can no longer remain silent. The time has come again to get my whinge on.

For those of you who’ve long since burned your TV guides, abandoned the internet and turned your unplugged plasma screens into a lightweight building material (and who are therefore presumably reading this via telepathy, the secret transmitters in your fillings or the subether waveband), Dance Your Ass Off was intended as a reality TV cross-pollination of Dancing With The Stars and The Biggest Loser, viz: fat people dancing competitively in order to lose weight.

Process that for a moment, if you can.

In what should come as a shock to absolutely nobody on the face of the Earth, ever, the show has been cancelled after one episode. However, in what should count as the jusitifcation for the extinction of the human species should a race of eccentric aliens ever point a space-based laser cannon at our fair globe and demand a moral accounting of our foibles, no less than one million Americans still watched the debut episode.

Process that for a moment, if you can.

In¬†today’s news, the executives of Oxygen, the channel on which Dance Your Ass Off aired, explained the modus operandi¬†behind a show which Absolute Power’s Charles Prentiss and Martin McCabe might very well have dreamed up in one of their more cynical moments –¬†which is saying something –¬†thusly: “that dance and diet were two areas of interest for younger viewers, so combining both themes into one show made sense.”

Process that for a moment, if you can.

This is more than stupidity. This is bot logic. The independent popularity of two things in no way suggests that they should be combined, unless your are a crazy person. Just because the human race currently needs oil and water to survive doesn’t mean we should try and blend them into a single super-substance that we both drink and use for fuel. Ice-cream and steak are both pretty good, but would you serve them together? (Note: lovers of chicken fried steak and twinkies¬†aren’t allowed to answer that question.) I mean, seriously. The satire practically writes itself.

Unless,¬†God help us all,¬†you are Oxygen’s senior VP of original programming and development, Amy Introcaso-Davis, who said of the show that “if you have five pounds to lose or 150 pounds to lose, it’s something you think about all day long.”

Message for Oxygen: you’re so concerned with weight loss? Why not trim the Goddam fat from your upper management circles. Make them dance through the boardroom as they leave. Dangle the possibility of rehiring if they can demonstrate that they have had a single original, nonsensical¬†thought since 2000, or at all. Film¬†everything secretly, then air it.

It’s not like you haven’t made worse¬† programming decisions.