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MY LAST WORD ON THE LOST WORLD



Sabrina S. Cox wrote:

> Here's something I learned in high school: WILLING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

Finally!

My beef with JURASSIC PARK (and I'm certain with the forthcoming THE LOST
WORLD as well) is *not* that it's full of misinformation about dinosaurs
(even though it *is*), but with the fact that it's A GODAWFUL PIECE OF CRAP
AS A FILM! "Willing suspension of disbelief" is what it's all about! In
order for willing suspension of disbelief to work, a story has to have a
logical structure; the minute logic goes out the window, the willing
suspension of disbelief goes with it. For all the scientific gobbledy-gook
about dino DNA from insects in amber, I could BUY that premise. Sure, we're
gonna recreate dinos from blood found in Mesozoic insects. Fine, I'm with
you. Then we're gonna build a theme park on an island in the Pacific, and
invite hordes of paying tourists to see them. Okay, that makes sense. And
the enclosures we're gonna build for the dinosaurs are gonna be electric
fences that go down whenever we have a power failure... (SOUND OF SMASHING
GLASS AS LOGIC GOES OUT WINDOW, SCREAMING ALL THE WAY TO THE GROUND...) The
minute, THE MINUTE, something this contrived gets into the story, it's a
sure sign that the film is not being honest, that situations are being
deliberately manipulated to achieve a desired end (and JURASSIC PARK was
chock-full of such situations). Sorry, but this is NOT good storytelling.
ANY TIME this happens, in ANY medium -- film or book -- it's a CHEAT. If
the audience is willing to continue plopping down their hard-earned money
for this kind of nonsense, that's fine, it's certainly their prerogative
and it is not my intent to impugn anyone's taste. One man's trash is
another man's treasure, as the saying goes. But I feel sorry for them,
though, because they're being ripped off and they don't even know it. The
new Hollywood mentality of film as a rollercoaster ride -- that special
effects are more important than plot and characterization -- scares me, to
be quite honest. And it's sad, too, because we're *all* being ripped off by
being deprived of good, honest films. Does anyone out there really believe
that 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY could be made today? Call me snotty, but I
demand more for my money.

And a brief word about films attracting children to science... I think the
cart is being put before the horse here, kids. I've been interested in
natural history since I was four or five years old; when I was five, I told
my mom that I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up. I got the word
OUT OF A BOOK! When I finally saw KING KONG when I was older, or any of Ray
Harryhausen's films, they didn't *spark* my interest in dinosaurs, I was
taken by those films because I was *already* interested in dinosaurs. Do
you really believe that JURASSIC PARK did the billion dollars in box office
it did from people who weren't already interested in the subject? People
went to see it -- repeatedly -- because they wanted to *see* dinosaurs, a
subject they already cared something about; the film only offered the
chance for dino-fans to look at a "living" representation of something that
they could only find in static illustrations in books. In the last decade,
nearly *fifty* books about dinosaurs have been published, ADULT books, some
of them technical in nature; well over *one hundred* children's books have
been published. Did JURASSIC PARK have anything to do with this? I don't
think so; dinosaurs are just a popular subject, ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. In other
words, IMHO, the *interest* in the subject creates the market (for books
*or* movies), not the other way around.

End of rant. Thank you for your time.

Brian (franczak@ntplx.net)