Friday, 14 December 2018

Have the dinosaurs jumped the shark?

HAVE you ever seen the scene in Happy Days where the Fonz is waterskiing?

HAVE you ever seen the scene in Happy Days where the Fonz is waterskiing?

Naturally, he is wearing his trademark black leather jacket, but that is not what the scene is remembered for.

Rather, it is a killer shark — confined in some kind of watery enclosure — that Henry Winkler’s character is required to jump over.

As you’d expect, he does so with panache. But the episode has since become legendary — most notably for spawning the dread phrase “jumping the shark”.

This purports to pinpoint the precise moment at which any previously cherished pop-cultural entity embarks on a fatal slide in both quality and public esteem.

Why do I raise this point in connection with the highly regarded Jurassic Park film series, you may ask.

For two reasons. Firstly, one of the trailers for Jurassic World features a creature, supposedly a mosasaurus, that leaps from the water to grab its lunch — the temptingly dangling corpse of a great white shark. Geddit?

The film also stars one Bryce Dallas Howard — the daughter of Ron Howard, who famously played Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. (It was of course Richie who piloted the speedboat towing the Fonz, fact fans.)

Jurassic World follows in the heavily indented footsteps of Jurassic Park (1993), The Lost World (1997), and Jurassic Park III (2001). Many would suggest that the series jumped the shark quite some time ago, but the nation’s five-year-olds — an important moviegoing constituency, along with their parents and older siblings — would doubtless disagree.

So here we are. Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond.

After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, a new hybrid dinosaur is created to reignite visitors’ interest. Needless to say, this backfires horribly.

It falls to Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the trainer of a group of velociraptors, to attempt to ride to the rescue.

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