Jurassic Goldblum’s return – clothed or unclothed – bodes well for Fallen Kingdom
It’s sort of surprising how big Jeff Goldblum has become recently. It’s not his popularity that’s surprising – it’s just how long it’s taken to get to this point. A point where GQ magazine proudly shouts “How Jeff Goldblum Became The Coolest Guy In The World” on its cover.
I mean, it’s strange to think that many kids probably just met the man thanks to Thor: Ragnarok, where the actor essentially played the most Jeff Goldblum character to date (albeit a giant holographic version).
But for me – and many of my generation – I met Goldblum on the big screen back in 1993, in a small monster-flick called Jurassic Park. Sure, I’d seen The Fly on VHS, but it wasn’t until bizarre mathematician come-sex symbol Dr Ian Malcolm started rambling on about chaos theory that he truly made an impact.
“Who was this man?” I thought to myself. I became so obsessed as an 11-year-old I went and bought James Gleick’s Chaos, and started to think of myself as some sort of young mathematical prodigy (Spoiler: I wasn’t. I just really, really liked Jurassic Park).
Since then, I’ve sort of mapped Jurassic Park movies by Jeff Goldblum’s presence, or absence. He was obviously a huge part of the first one – both clothed, and unclothed.
He returned in a giant way to The Lost World, the over-blown, madcap sequel that played up the quirk of the character from the very start when he was introduced via a giant, gaping Goldblum yawn:
With no Sam Neill present, it was left to Goldblum and the dinosaurs to do the heavy lifting. And in my opinion, it mostly worked. It was far from perfect, but I liked seeing a T-Rex loose in the city. I liked the idea of big-game hunters in crazy vehicles. And for all its over-the-top bullshit, it had some truly great, horrifying moments: From the opening kid-attack on the beach to those raptors tracking in for the kill in the long grass.
It was the last in the franchise to be based on the original books, too. Jurassic Park and The Lost World both riffed on the books of the late Michael Crichton, the author who defined the techno-thriller genre (and created Westworld, kids!).
Jurassic Park 3 did away with both the books and with Goldblum – instead choosing to bring back Sam Neill. To be honest, with no Goldblum present, I sort of wrote it off. I didn’t even see the thing in a cinema. Instead, I ended up eventually watching a pirated VCD from Taiwan. Neill was great – he always is – and there was some good action in a giant birdcage. But all in all, it sort of felt like this was Jurassic Park saying goodbye. After JP2, it just sort of felt too small.
And it played on that thing everyone is playing on at the moment – bloody nostalgia. It was smart, the new crew finding those old jeeps and night vision goggles from 1993. It gave me goosebumps. It brought me back. It made me smile. I felt like a kid again. Briefly.
But this was a new series; a new thing. It wasn’t Jurassic Park. It was Jurassic World! This was a world in which Chris Pratt saved the day, not Laura Dern or Sam Neill or Jeff Goldblum! This was a movie where velociraptors were no longer unknowable killing machines, but animals to be tamed and weaponized.
To me, the treatment of the raptors in JW reminded me a bit of the direction the xenomorph took in the Alien franchise. In Alien, the xenomorph was a mysterious, perfectly honed death machine. By Alien: Covenant, it was a creature that had been tamed and demystified. I felt the same way about the raptors. “Take me back to the good old days of ripping Muldoon to bits,” I thought to myself.
What I am trying to say is, like many fans, I don’t know where I sit on Jurassic World. Part of me loves it: The scale, the new dinosaurs, the new heroes. Part of me loves that it tugged on my nostalgia-ridden heartstrings, but part of me hates it for that, too. But I also understand that nothing will top my Jurassic World experience back in 1993. I was 11. Now I’m 35. The movies have to change and redefine things. The spell has been broken. They have to try new things.
So thank f*ck that’s solved in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Look, I have no idea how integral Dr Ian Malcolm is going to be in this movie, but he’s in the movie. Maybe he only shot for half a day. But he’s in the movie, and that means I am 110% on board.
I try to avoid trailers, but for JW2 I have gobbled them all up. And you know what? This movie looks utterly batshit insane. If Jurassic World was too much, then this film will probably make our brains explode.
I don’t know what this movie is doing: There’s some comedy where Chris Pratt is pottering about next to a sleeping T-Rex. There’s some kind of horror scene in a kids bedroom where a raptor basically plays Freddy Krueger. And Blue – or Blue’s adopted child or something – has basically been reduced to some kind of sad, abandoned puppy that needs rescuing.
It’s all utterly mad on a scale that I can’t even begin to comprehend – sort of like that Transformers movie with knights in it – and I am totally on board. So are people who’ve seen the film. After some kind of screening in Madrid, people were going ballistic, saying things like “I can say the 10 min standing ovation at the end was beyond well deserved.”
I laughed. I cried. I found myself genuinely scared. All that even though it was in Spanish! In my opinion if that’s not the definition of perfect visual storytelling, I don’t know what is. #FallenKingdom CONGRATS @FilmBayona
— Jack Anthony Ewins (@Jack_Ewins) May 21, 2018
Hours later, after seeing @JurassicWorld #FallenKingdom #ElReinoCaído twice in one day, and still being under embargo even if I don’t write about movies anymore (but I saw it twice in 12 hours, ahem ahem), I can say the 10 min standing ovation at the end was beyond well deserved. pic.twitter.com/FXmVvepOua
— Josep Parera Jorba (@josepopinion) May 22, 2018
But look – the fact is, a movie from a franchise that started way back in 1993 got a 10-minute standing O, and that’s pretty amazing.
Did Jeff Goldblum have anything to do with that? Most definitely. But I get the feeling they’ve thrown everything at the wall with this one – and instead of being a giant mess, maybe they’ve made some kind of modern-day masterpiece. At least I hope that’s the case. For my sake, for Jeff’s sake, for your sake.