Of all the paths writer-director Colin Trevorrow might have taken after “Safety Not Guaranteed,” his daring time-travel romance that collected critical raves at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, there was little to indicate he’d thrash his way through the jungles of "Jurassic Park IV." It’s hard to think of a franchise more doomed to extinction than a high concept dinosaur movie. Heck, even toddlers turn their noses up at T-Rex, who, let's face it, suffers from a case of major overexposure.
We’ve reached a moment in pop culture where franchises that had lost traction with audiences are now being retrofitted and refurbished by daring young auteurs in the hopes of creating a shiny new hot rod out of a rust bucket. Perhaps taking a page out of the “Pimp My Ride” playbook, Hollywood first reached into the vault and assigned J. J. Abrams to reinvent “Star Wars,” for a whole generation of underage fanboys and girls primed to have their minds blown by George Lucas’ Joseph Campbell-inspired hero’s journey tricked out with bleeding-edge VFX.
Of course, this is all great news for those among us with a thing for factory-farmed franchises. As we saw with Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot, it’s often possible for the knock-off to improve upon the original, using the tools available to today’s filmmakers. But we’d strongly argue that “Jurassic Park,” in particular, has run its course. It’s hard to imagine how building a bigger, better digital dinosaur stampede will fill moviegoers with slack-jawed wonder. But with Trevorrow, who began his career working in special effects, acting as our guide, perhaps there’s a chance he’ll venture into some unexpected terrain.
Either way, this trend of rebooting blockbuster series seems bound to produce mutant strains of derivative cinema. If you were the sequel police, which serial spectacles would you toss into movie jail?