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Jurassic World, the next entry in the Jurassic Park film series, is coming out in a little over a week. As the first Jurassic Park movie since 2001, it's been a major source of excitement among fans of the series. Based on that, along with the amount of hype it's been getting, it's likely to be one of this summer's major blockbusters.

On the other hand, among people who are interested in dinosaurs as science and not just entertainment, the reaction has been much more critical. This is mostly because the movie's dinosaurs still look about the same as they did in the original film in 1993. A lot of new data about dinosaurs has been collected over the past 22 years, and Jurassic World incorporates almost none of it. Thomas Holtz gave this summary: "The original movies brought the dinosaur research of the 1980s to 1990s viewers, and the latest one seems to bring the dinosaur research of the 1980s to the 2010s viewers."

Apart from fans of the series, there is one other group of people who seems especially pleased with this outcome, and that group is creationists. In this article, Answers in Genesis has commented that the movie made the right choice not putting feathers on any of its dinosaurs. They've previously released this DVD making the same point. Now that Jurassic World is about to come out, and the lack of feathers on any of its dinosaurs has been officially confirmed, AiG seems especially satisfied that no matter what evolutionary science has to say about how dinosaurs looked, ultimately it can't impact their largest and most popular depictions in our culture.

Unlike creationists who are praising the movie, the movie's director Colin Trevorrow is under no illusions that Jurassic World's dinosaurs are accurate, as he's stated here. This is why instead of jumping on the bandwagon to complain about his ignorance, I'd like to instead examine why he knowingly made his movie's dinosaurs look different from they probably looked in real life, and what that means for depictions of dinosaurs in movies of the future.

In the early 20th century, there were a few major movies where dinosaurs played a central role, the most famous being Gertie the Dinosaur (1914), The Lost World (1925), and King Kong (1933). Dinosaur movies continued to be made from the 1940s up to the 1980s, but by the middle of the 20th century attitudes about them had begun to change. Movies like The Valley of Gwangi (1969) sometimes acquired a cult following, but at this point dinosaurs were no longer considered blockbuster material. They were the stuff of monster movies with relatively small budgets, with their special effects done using animatronics or stop-motion, which never looked completely real no matter how skilled the animators were.

Set against this pattern, it was no easy task for the original Jurassic Park to make audiences take it seriously as a blockbuster. There was only one way to do it, and that was by demonstrating to audiences in as many ways as possible that this movie was unlike any other dinosaur movie of the past fifty years. This effort shows in the movie's special effects, which were far more realistic than those in any dinosaur movie released up to that point, and it also shows in the movie's science. The clearest way for Spielberg to show audiences that this was a new kind of dinosaur movie was by making it the first movie to incorporate the ideas of the Dinosaur Renaissance, showing dinosaurs as active, warm-blooded animals that did not drag their tails.

The situation now is a very different one. There is no need to prove to audiences that dinosaurs are blockbuster material, because the first three Jurassic Park films already proved that in the 1990s and early 2000s. The amount of time it's been since Jurassic Park III is just long enough for the new film to profit from nostalgia, and Jurassic World's most important ambition is to appeal to people who saw the first three films as kids. In pursuit of that goal, making the dinosaurs look significantly different from how they did in the earlier films would be a risky move. And Colin Trevorrow is not interested in taking any risks with this movie--he's interested in replicating the earlier films as closely as possible, including how the dinosaurs look.

This is why complaints about the film's accuracy never had any real chance of changing Trevorrow's mind. Even if he had desired to make an up-to-date dinosaur film, I'm skeptical as to whether Universal Studios would have allowed it. Every company's main responsibility is to their stockholders, and stockholders always would rather see their money go towards a safe investment than towards a risky one. As long as copying the original Jurassic Park is the safest investment for major studios making dinosaur movies, that's what we'll continue to see.

Is there any chance for accurate dinosaur-themed blockbusters in the future? I think there is, but the first movie studio we see them from won't be one like Universal. Although major studios usually stick with whatever is financially the safest bet, there is a small class of directors and studios who occasionally try something a little more unorthodox. Think of Brad Bird and Pixar, who took a chance making a PG-rated movie (The Incredibles) despite the success of all Pixar's earlier films that had been rated G. Or think of Henry Selick and Laika, who took a huge number or risks with the stop-motion feature Coraline, which went on to be a critical and commercial success. Perhaps one day, an up-and-coming filmmaker will decide to take a similar risk with their depiction of dinosaurs. And if the movie becomes as successful as The Incredibles and Coraline have been, it may shape movie depictions of dinosaurs from that point forwards.

For now, we have Pixar's upcoming movie The Good Dinosaur to pin our hopes on. Based on what it's possible to see in the trailer, I'm not all that optimistic about the accuracy of its portrayal. But with Pixar, you can never know for sure.
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:iconthatdinosaurguy:
ThatDinosaurGuy Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015
Its never a good sign when creationist praise your movie for scientific accuracy.
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:iconthecraftysnail:
TheCraftySnail Featured By Owner Edited Jun 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I had a big long comment here, but then I saw that everyone else was basically saying the same, so all I'm gonna say is, I'm going to watch the film and enjoy it, because it's a movie. Not fact. 


Also, creationists are strange people. If humans ever come across aliens, they'll be the first people to shout "Burn the Daemons!"
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:icongodofwarlover:
godofwarlover Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015
I finally saw the film and there is now an explanation for why the raptors have no feathers in it
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:iconraptorarts:
RaptorArts Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ya but i really wish realism and accuracy would have been a part of it. 
As for the Pixar film "The Good Dinosaur," it seems that they will have humans in the movie to which creationists with drool over and shove down everyone's throats that man lived alongside dinosaurs which is something atheists like myself get irritated at because its pure stupidity. I really wish stupid people would just disappear. Darwin isn't working fast enough on the human primates unfortunately.
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:icondarksaxebleu:
DarkSaxeBleu Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
*
Love both Crichton books, can't help but wonder what his response would be like ... Here's mine, far-fetched as it may be.

:giggle: ... It's not at all about dions - it's about The Hybrid = financial ''Asset'' ~ or, in mirror universe - about financial asset period:

movie bits suggest corporatism, which is ---> creating a sensation --> grabbing the Capital --> causing casualties ~ which, in turn,

is the movie-sensation --> which will, no doubt, grab loads of real-life Capital for a bunch of hard-working corporate managers and other folks ;) who have created --> this easy-peasey cash-cow ''hybrid'' of a movie. Full circle in reverse! 

It's fairly cleverly made. But in this movie the real casualties are, it would seem, the dinosaurs and the inaccuracies regarding (factors of fantasy and fiction). So, flock on, folks! This is a *controlled Chaos* :lol: and the Hybrid will eat well at 11th hour! ;P Basically, just enjoy the spectacle, have fun :) and grab some recent textbooks p0pc0rn about dinosaurs - and, for instance,
go and see the documentary Little whale - free avatar. BLACK FISH www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OEjYq…   or some such ... Let movies inspire debates!
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:iconxtorchwoodx:
xTorchwoodx Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
To be perfectly honest, we have to remember that these aren't actually dinosaurs. They are theme park monsters made for Hollywood. The fact is that the raptors are meant to be one of the most terrifying aspects of the movie and, even now, watching those movies as an adult, I can still feel my heart racing as the characters try to escape or hide (especially the game of cat and mouse in the kitchen!). To replace the raptors with small, feathery dinosaurs would completely take that feeling away. 

In the end, the JP dinosaurs are Hollywood movie monsters. Even in the movie universe, they aren't 100% real, accurate dinosaurs. I vaguely remember something being said in a trailer or promotional video that the JW scientists either have or are very close to recreating a dinosaur from 100% dino DNA but, again, who's to say that that world is SUPPOSED to be the same as this one? Perhaps in that imaginary universe, Velociraptor really was large and featherless. 

I wouldn't count on The Good Dinosaur being terribly accurate. I mean, I can't remember the last time anyone said sauropods could run and jump like a dog. But hey, they could throw some accurate stuff in there.
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:iconsounder1995:
Sounder1995 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have some cautiously optimistic expectations regarding "The Good Dinosaur." @ 0:52, note that the front-most pterosaur is a Nyctosaurus. Given how relatively obscure this animal is, I think this shows the folks behind this film @ least did minimal research before making this film. Meanwhile, unless Julius Csotonyi's animals on the Jurassic World park website are present in the film, Jurassic World only features three new "real" extinct "animals": Apatosaurus, Mosasaurus, & Dimorphodon. @ 0:53 & 0:55, note that the T. rex actually have anatomically accurate hands!
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:iconkaptain-kefiah:
Kaptain-Kefiah Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Dunno if he even has a voice in this issue, more probably Universal is too afraid to lose even a few cents on their cash cow.
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:icongodofwarlover:
godofwarlover Featured By Owner Edited Jun 4, 2015
And also about The Good Dinosaur film, It's going to be an alternate history film with the K-T Event not happening and humans evolving anyway. And somehow I think Ken Ham is going to be happy about the Dinosaur/Human co-existence in that film but saying that it would take place around 2750 B.C. and that Noah was building the Ark at the time
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:iconorange-eyed-serpent:
orange-eyed-serpent Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
That's a very good explanation: he definitely wanted to be "safe" and not take any risks with this film. But other fans were speculating that he didn't want to destroy the previous film's "canon" of scaled raptors and other inaccuracies by making them feathered. If I remember right, in the novel John Hammond created the dinosaurs not to be realistic but to fit the public's expectation of what they looked like. And most people, ignorant of the bird- dinosaur connection, would indeed think that all dinosaurs were scaled. There's also the frog DNA filling the gaps explanation from the first movie, which he may have wanted to continue.

Buuuut. I have a really big problem with the fact that Lego's Jurassic World website has stated that at least one of the four raptors has been given avian DNA, and still doesn't have a single feather at all. That's just outrageous to me. The other two have lizard DNA, which can explain why they're still scaled, and I don't remember about the fourth one. But if Trevorrow wanted to stick with his own explanation, then at least the one with avian DNA (I think it was Echo, but not sure) should have at least been feathered, even if it wasn't fully. The fact that one has avian DNA and still not a single quill or feather is a little outrageous to me. =/

Alternatively, if they wanted to bring feathered dinosaurs into future movies (which they absolutely should), they should simply state that they've perfected the cloning process and have gotten new samples...
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:iconvalforwing:
Valforwing Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015
i figured they turned the feather genome off to make it easier to care for the dinos (at least when it comes to parasites)
Reply
:iconamazonianfisherman:
AmazonianFisherman Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
In the films they try to reach the old public and start to pick up the new generation with new dinos in games. In Jurassic World: The Game and Jurassic Park Builder we have this species which were discovered after the lauch of last Jurassic Park movie. See the species, below:
Ostafrikasaurus, Titanoboa, Alanqa, Kelenken, Nasutoceratops, Livyathan, Kaprosuchus, Bonitasaura and Rajasaurus.
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:icongodofwarlover:
godofwarlover Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015
Should we riot then cause of Ken Ham? And also I think they are going to get an explanation on why the dinosaurs don't have feathers on them in the new film
Reply
:iconnuevolucion:
Nuevolucion Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015
The last dinosaur movie was a childish film named Walking with dinosaurs 3D ( aka "The land before time X Walking with Dinosaurs).
Reply
:icontraheripteryx:
Traheripteryx Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
At least Pixar got the continents during the Cretaceous pretty right. And that's something, where even most documentaries fail! (Especially astrophysics documentaries)
As a fan of the JP trilogy, I was extremely disappointed, that they didn't go with accurate dinosaurs. And some animals, like the Stegosaurus and Pteranodon are even less accurate, than in the previous films!

Something, that would really amaze me, would be, if Marvel Studios would feature the Savage Land in a Devil Dinosaur film in phase 4 of the MCU with speculative dinosaurs, that are at least as accurate and plausible as in the last Transformers movie with quills and feathers everywhere and hopefully no pronated hands on bipeds.
Reply
:iconthearchosaurqueen:
TheArchosaurQueen Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's a cool idea.
Reply
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