Sunday, April 08, 2007

Feminism and Dinosaurs

I have this thing about the movie Jurassic Park. I absolutely adore it. I got hooked on dinosaurs when I was a wee, little thing. Well, young and short, anyway. I've never been wee or little. Despite the movie's scientific inaccuracies or improbabilities it is one of the double handful of movies I have seen repeatedly in the theater (Aladdin [3 times], JP [6 times], all four HPs [too many to count between them]).

I just noticed something today while watching it for what must be the thousandth time (JP marathon - Wahoo!). When Hammond picks up the phone in the bunker, he automatically assumes it's Grant on the other end. Now I thought Grant was lost in the park with the kids and Ellie and Muldoon were resetting the controls. At no time in the action does it show Ellie letting Hammond know that Muldoon is dead and she met up with Grant and the kids. Now, after her verbal bitch-slap of Hammond and his "sexism in survival situations", you would assume he'd just think it was Ellie, right?

Am I just over-analyzing this? Probably. I blame my friends Sinspired and Morchades, of course. I've been reading their journals way too often if my brain is starting to process throwaway lines with a feminist slant.

Although, if you really think about it, the whole movie is a feminist heaven. Except for the dinos in the wild, which they didn't use, all of them are female. That includes the T-rex that chomps Gennaro's ass and the velociraptors that ambush Muldoon (who really should have known better since he called them a pride to begin with and knows pack-hunting behavior!). Also, the girls really get to do a lot of the heroic stuff. Ellie foils the velociraptor chasing her in the control shed - sorta. She gets to do all sorts of action-hero stuff, while giving Hammond something to think about in regards to sexism. She gets to be the wise elder of the piece with her conversation with Hammond when Grant and the kids are still missing.

Lexie, in the book, was a bratty little sister who played with a baseball and annoyed her older brother, contributing absolutely nothing. Tim in the book was the older brother who was the dinosaur expert and the computer whiz. Thankfully, in the movie they split Tim's role - or I would have suggested offering Lexie up as an offering to the velociraptors' gods. Lexie was the computer nerd/hacker who managed to get the systems rebooted while the adults were fending off one of the velociraptors. Except for her girly-ickishness regarding the brachiosaur sneezing and the T-rex trying to eat her (like we'd all react well to that), she managed to come out as a smart character who could save the day.

Most of the guys actually got the short end of the stick. Hammond got killed in the book, but just ended up as a sort of broken, old man in the movie. He had some clever lines and funny moments, but he came off as the overzealous, unthinking person who gets what he deserves. Gennaro gets chomped on by the T-rex, which he has coming to him for running out on the kids. Muldoon, well, see the parentheses above about the velociraptor. *fumes* Nedry gets eaten by dilophosaurs after betraying Hammond and setting everything into motion. John Arnold's family might be able to bury his arm someday, even though he never really did anything in the movie to deserve his fate. Malcom gets injured, has some really funny lines, leads the t-rex away from the kids and leads Ellie to the right place, but his defining contribution is his character's moralistic viewpoint. Wu and Harding get away, which I like, especially since I have a soft spot in my heart for B.D. Wong.

Grant and Tim come off the best of all of the guys. Grant, of course, saves the kids (with Malcom's assistance) and gets them home. He softens up towards children and gets to be all kick-ass with the shotgun. He notes the fact that the dinos are breeding (which never comes up again, damnit!) and gets to do the whole looking at the future and the past in the last shots of the movie. Little kids can be so annoying in movies. Tim comes off well. They gave his character the dinosaur smarts, which he uses to identify the "meatasauruses" from the "veggiesauruses" for his sister, getting them out of trouble. He gets to be the annoying little brother a few times, but is also the one who first realizes the danger of the T-rex. He even gets the best stunt.

Ah, well. A little semi-feminist snippet from someone who is now going back to enjoy the second JP movie and all the clever quips that are to come. Cheers.

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