Some may still be scratching their heads at JURASSIC WORLD’S monolithic monetary haul from last year. Nostalgia is a pretty big monster, but as INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE proved this year, it is not necessarily the only factor required for a true blue blockbuster. Some may lay the blame on the irresistible charm of Chris Pratt; you want to party with that guy no matter what film he appears in. The four credited screenwriters (Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Connolly) certainly found an appealing marketing image with Pratt and his biker gang of raptors. The key to the film’s success probably can’t be attributed to Bryce Dallas Howard’s high heels. The truth is, all kids (big & little) love dinosaurs. It’s a long gestating adoration buried deep in our genes. We see at T-Rex and we are immediately transported to an alternate Earth where meteors swing left, and Ray Bradbury lived out his days wrangling THE GOOD DINOSAUR instead of dreaming of imaginary BEASTS FROM 20,000 FATHOMS.
As a child, my absolute favorite school trip was the one taken to the Natural History Museum. To stand beneath the massive stride of an unearthed stegosaurus was awe-inspiring. I never felt so small, so insignificant to the billions of years of planetary history. It was a wonder that I would later apply to cinema, through gob smacked entertainments like STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. It’s a wonder we connected to with Michael Crichton’s JURASSIC PARK and to the nth degree with Steven Spielberg’s 1993 adaptation. And yeah, looks like most of us felt it again in 2015, when those JURASSIC beasts were resurrected. Don’t fight it, or mock it.
In November, JURASSIC WORLD: THE EXHIBIT will open in Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. It will be an interactive experience that will feature massive animatronic dinosaurs created by the Creature Technology Company, the Melbourne based studio known for it’s enormous arena shows (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, KING KONG). Visitors will travel to Isla Nublar, the island location where Pratt rode wild, and they’ll splice frog DNA in the museum’s very own “Creature Lab.”
The exhibit was brought to life in collaboration with renowned paleontologist Jack Horner (the real life inspiration for JURASSIC PARK’S Alan Grant), and promises face-to-face encounters with a 24-foot tall Brachiosaurus, a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Velociraptor training paddock, and a dozen more of your favorite behemoths. The museum space itself will be draped in lavish jungle decoration, with visitors having to navigate the tropical forest rather than simply meandering cold, clinical hallways. Tickets will go on sale September 10th, and will run $34.95 for adults, and $29.95 for children.
I will absolutely be making the hike to the city of Brotherly Love, reconnecting to that deeply engrained wonder, and looking out for that kid who’s open to the infinite diversity of science, history, and storytelling.