My point in writing this is not to pick sides but to add a little bit more context, reason, and nuance to the general debate.
Before I do this I also think it worth reminding ourselves (political rant warning) there were a lot more interesting and profound things going on in the world this week than the trailer I speak of. At least here in America Ferguson should trump "bunny hands" in terms of relative importance. If you spend a lot of time thinking about, musing upon, blogging about, drawing, and theorizing about dinosaurs and other paleo related stuff just remind yourself that you are in a privileged position. Chances are if you are reading this you are white, male, and come from a relatively stable socio-economic background. You can dedicate a lot of mental energy to this stuff because you are not so preoccupied with getting shot due to the color of your skin or worrying about getting sexually assaulted or street harassed due to your gender. You yourself might be poor, but more on that later...
Point #1 The Jurassic Park franchise was fictional from the start and willfully ignored the best available science from the get go.
I forgot where I read this or who said this (let me know in the comments) but to paraphrase "The first Jurassic Park felt like a love letter to paleontology and this new movie feels like a middle finger". While I will agree that the first Jurassic Park movie allowed the general public to play catch up to a lot of current thought in dinosaur paleontology - intelligent behavior, horizontal posture, advanced metabolic strategy, active lifestyle - it outright ignored some of the others and made plenty of stuff up. For example, the exquisitely preserved fossil Velociraptor, the supposed "cheetah speed" and "primate level intelligence" of raptors, a bipedally rearing Brachiosaurus (not impossible but more likely for diplodocids), the enlarged size of Velociraptor (Utahraptor was not known when the decision was made to blow them up), and cobra spitting Dilophosaurus.
My point is this movie franchise set a precedent from it's inception to utilize some of the current science, ignore other bits, and completely make stuff up as was felt fit. Because it is a movie made to make money. Let us not deify, or glamorize the original movie - it is not without sin in these regards of scientific accuracy.
Point #2 There likely was a push to update the dinosaurs in JP$$$4. But money, and public opinion, and story continuity.
Just because your film has scientific advisors, does not mean that their advice will be listened to. If money is involved and the choice between making more money versus less money involves picking the non-scientific route, the non-scientific route will be chosen. Not because I agree, but because that is how the Hollywood machine works.
Here is how I think it likely went down in the boardroom meetings:
Scientific Advisor/Creative Type People: "We think updating the dinosaurs with feathers and diverse integumentary structures to reflect current knowledge of these animals will create a smart, edgy, new, and scientifically accurate film. We can not only add to the legacy of this franchise in this manner but jump start a new era in the Jurassic Park saga."
$ People: "While the board respects and appreciates your suggestions our in depth customer surveys finds that the general public at large still finds scaly dinosaurs more "scary" and "monstrous" and finds "feathery" dinosaurs more cute and less threatening. So, although we have taken your suggestions into consideration, we will keep the narrative of the first three films intact in terms of how these animals are depicted. As a bit of a compromise, our independent consultants have suggested a type of bio-engineered ubersaur. Fast, quick, smart, insatiable killing appetite. You paleo folks should love it because you love monsters anyways, am I right? Yeah we can sprinkle some dread lock looking stuff on that guy. White people are scared of dread locks too our surveys show."
Scientific Adivisor/Creative Type People: "We challenge this notion that you have to dumb down the franchise in order to appeal to a lowest common denominator. Many of the most iconic and celebrated movies of all time took risks and were intellectually challenging. For instance 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien...
$ People: "Frog DNA."
Scientific Advisor: "We think you are missing a great opportunity. Hear me..."
$ People: "Thank you that is all. Frog DNA."
$ People: "Frog. D. N. A."
Door slams shut.
Point #3 How to Talk to Non-Paleo People About Dinos Without Coming Off Like a Pompous Blowhard
This might be a tough pill for many to swallow but the average person does not care about dinosaurs or paleo related stuff at the level that you do or even at all. And they have a right to not care about 'em. You might feel very passionate about dinosaur socio-ecology or hadrosaur growth rates - but it is not your duty to promulgate this info to everyone in your life. In fact by aggressively espousing your knowledge and/or opinions on said subject matter you might be doing more harm than good to your social life and in fact turning them off to scientifically minded people in general.
Let us imagine a dinosaur buff is lucky enough to be on a date to see the Jurassic Park 4. First of all, if the decision to see JP4 is made by the date or concurrently at this point I would say it is ok to let the date know your background on the subject. But do it softly. Hey, if they are meant to be the one it is ok to let them know what you are passionate about.
Example: "I am actually a bit of a dinosaur fan myself. In fact, my interest in the subject has continued since childhood."
(Somehow or another this post turned into dating advise for paleo-nerds but this could apply to all social interactions.)
If your date says "Me too!!" count yourself lucky and continue forth in a measured pace. If your date does not mirror your interest. Shut up about Dinos (this is crucial).
During the film, and this might be excruciatingly hard to do, do not guffaw, roll your eyes, and make sardonic remarks at every scientific inaccuracy you see. If you are among like-minded friends go right ahead.
And finally after the movie is done do not go into an unsolicited diatribe concerning the plethora of errors you meticulously noted in your head. If your date petitions you for your opinion regarding the film and/or its inaccuracies feel ok to go forward in a measured pace but not overly opinionated. At the first sign of disinterest, glazed over expression, or exasperated stare, and this is important, SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT DINOSAURS!!!
Look, just because your date does not share your passion for dinosaurs (and chances are they will not), does not mean you should lose out on a potential partner.
Point #4 Why You Should Righteously Be Mad At JP$$$4
If you want to really have some fire in your belly, if you want to really speak truth to power, if you really want to punch upwards - this is why you should righteously be mad at JP$$$4: Because the work and efforts of many people in or surrounding the field of paleontology - who did the work for little or no pay - is being appropriated, bastardized, plagiarized, and commodified with little or no recompense to said field by a film and franchise that will likely make (and has made) billions of dollars. Where is the funding that the Jurassic Park franchise could and should be giving back to paleontology and/or biological sciences in general? Just a small slice of the money that this franchise generates could support paleontological digs the world over. For a film franchise that owes so much to paleontological discoveries - whether they used the info correctly or not is not so important - where is the slightest bit of financial recompense to the field that even allows such a franchise to exist at all?
And finally I quote from the first movie Dr. Ian Malcolm:
"You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibilities for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox and now, and now your selling it, you want to sell it. Well -"....
And finally a dreamy shot of Dr. Ian Malcolm and a rigorously rendered Tyrannosaurus rex:
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