Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
Flickering Myth’s own James Garcia posted an article on the upcoming Jurassic World toys:
“Jurassic World LEGO sets will hit store shelves next year, as part of Universal’s merchandising plan for the film. Some images of the the new dinosaurs included in those sets have leaked, and they include the all-white D-Rex, a Tyrannasaurs Rex, and a few velociraptors.”
Read the full article here
This morning saw the first images relating to the dinosaurs to feature in Jurassic World, the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series. Unfortunately, it was the LEGO toys coinciding with the release. All we can use to imagine what our new favourite dinosaur film will include are chunky, colourful creatures with big circles attached to their heads (and, in a few instances, small fart-bubbles indicating their gases smell like little brown teddies). A white D-Eex? Bright orange and green raptors? A dinky little compy? So many pictures and so little information – but we shall inevitably jump to conclusions as to how this frames our hopes for the upcoming reboot of the franchise.
The endless reporting and coverage of upcoming films does spoil a little expectation in this modern era. but there is no point in bemoaning the relentless onslaught of coverage for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the three-century plan for the Marvel Universe (“In 2356, we will be releasing Iron-Man 72 Part II, featuring a digitised Robert Downey Jr!”). This is adored by the fans and, in many instances; those who don’t want to know stay well clear. But the toy-as-news stories really seem to take the plastic biscuit. But I don’t blame the sites – if a picture of the actual dinosaurs arrived sooner, the toys would be irrelevant. But now, they are crucial to our assumptions about a film over six months away.
I remember the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide toys that revealed some of the action set-pieces early. I observed the Transformers: Age of Extinction dinosaurs that revealed the look of the mechanical dino-bots before any footage was released. Surely fans of the series, by seeing these articles, see how merchandise-obsessed the blockbusters are. Furthermore, countless films that put merchandise before plot, always spell something bad. Placing the Transformers series to one side (you are literally watching the toys fighting on screen), let us not forget the surfing-Batman of Batman and Robin or the baby-dinos of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. These were integrated stories, sequences and characters that are purely on screen for extra boxes on the shelves of Toys’r’us.
I could shout and rant about a D-Rex and the ridiculous “bigger and better than a T-Rex” theme that ignores how audiences like the T-Rex, and don’t want anything “more advanced” or “genetically-modified”, but I won’t. Instead, I will simply sharpen my focus on the issue at hand: Jurassic World may be merely an extended, roughly 2-hour advertisement for dinosaur toys. As John Lewis spends £7m on an advert about a fluffy penguin, Universal is spending £150m on an advert for plastic apparatus that will only clog up livings rooms next Christmas. That alone, makes me cry for the child inside me who liked playing with Jurassic Park toys. Not just because the toys were cool, but because the story I saw in the cinema in 1993, was even cooler. And playing with toys only reminded me how cool it was. Let us hope that Colin Treverrow hasn’t been too obsessed with the toys when directing the summer blockbuster for 2015.
Simon Columb (Follow him on Twitter @screeninsight)