release the hounds and the tendersaurus rex

raptorcycle

***SPOILERS FOR JURASSIC WORLD***

Let’s just get it out of the way right now: fuck yeah.

Okay. We are no longer six-year-olds and no, it won’t match the magic of seeing believable dinosaurs on the big screen for the first time. We know this. Or we should. And that is completely okay. Because this movie is fun.

I love how memeable it made itself. Maybe I should resent that. Maybe I should go off on some cantankerous rant about how people are trying to commodify everything I hold dear, blah blah blah. But that argument makes no sense because nobody made the first movie to make us future millennials feel good. Or to give us memories. They did it to make money, same as this one. The same as when our classic JP shirt-wearing programmer pines for “that legit park,” with “real” dinosaurs, not these genetically engineered monsters, and our heroine snaps back, “we’ve been doing genetic engineering this whole time!” They’ve been trying to make blockbusters this whole time. Begrudging someone trying to further commodify a previous success seems nuts to me. At least if the movie doesn’t suck. And this one doesn’t.

But anyway, holy crap raptors!

I wonder if originally they talked about Pratt’s character Owen having been on a K-9 unit during his military career? They didn’t mention it but maybe they had intended to–before they were informed they’d be shipping adverts for the movie Max with the theatrical release. Probably that wouldn’t have been the best juxtaposition ever. But it doesn’t really matter if he was gone into with such detail or not, because boy and his dogs. I mean, raptors. I hated raptors in the first movie(s). They scared the shit out of me. I received a toy raptor who roared when you moved its leg back; I kept it in a bag inside a box inside another box at the farthest, darkest corner of my closet at night, convinced that if it broke free it would attack me in my sleep. I had always, at midnight showings of the first movie, found endearing how we adopt the T-Rex as our champion, and I would never have thought it would happen with raptors. But oh man, as soon as we saw him soothing them in their faceguards–which incidentally reminded me with a miserable stab of this picture so much–

beagles

–I dreaded a Where The Red Fern Grows scene. (Feeding this was a confusion over the dogs’ names in that story: I was sure one was called Blue, and was distraught for her in advance. The dogs’ actual names are Old Dan and Little Ann.) I did not, however, anticipate the return of the T-Rex. Or–not until the trail of dead brontosauruses, anyway–that we would be brought to turn our hearts against the genetically-blended dinosaur, whose introduction seemed at first calculated to stir us to pity. I would be an easy target–between my one dog, poorly socialized before we adopted him, and my other dog, whose care includes years of behaviorists and rehabilitation attempts, all this talk of the Indominus Rex being psychotic and confused definitely raised my pity hackles. But then–in a move I kind of wonder if those with redder political stripes than I will start ranting about, “liberal dinosaur bias” or something–as soon as you hear “she’s killing for sport,” all bets for pity are off. Sadistic little shit, stop killing all the other dinosaurs! You’re not even hungry!

I had more fear, at the end, that Owen would have to kill one of his raptors than that any humans would die. I was all don’tbreakhisheartdon’tbreakhisheartdon’tbreakhisheart. And thank you, T-Rex, to the rescue! The incidental guardian not just of mankind but of our tender feelings. All hail Tendersaurus Rex, King of the Dinosaurs! When I, the last person in the audience to realize what was happening, finally saw you emerge from Paddock 9, it was the best damn part of the whole movie. “FUCK YEAH THE T-REX IS HERE. SHE’S GONNA FIX THINGS PEOPLE.” And she did. Because T-Rex.

(PS: I’d forgotten the heels controversy, and I rolled my eyes at her heels right up until Owen asks her to take them off. At which point I was all, “oh no you don’t, my mother learned to run full-tilt in heels working in a hospital, and you don’t get to wave your hand and decide accoutrements coded feminine by society are de facto inferior for dinosaur stalking, goddammit. So I am not on board the ridiculous heels train. You keep rocking those stilettos, honey.)

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