I've never been a huge fan of Nirvana, but there's one thing Kurt Cobain said that I do agree with: "It's better to burn out than fade away". Unfortunately, this is not a mantra that chimes with Hollywood's producers...and maybe Courtney Love wrote it or something, but that's another story for another time.
Anyway, after years of discussions, and 19 years after the much loved original, Jurassic Park 4 is firmly a-go, with another two films planned after that. Thing is, do we really need another Jurassic Park? Is that something people are crying out for?
Steven Spielberg's original movie was the director at his ambitious, epic, blockbusting best, a textbook example of plotting, pacing, rhythm and structure. It had terrific performances, brilliantly believable special effects, genuine tension and a captivating central conceit, which is why it still feels as fresh as ever long after its release, as last year's re-release proved, even allowing for the addition of needless 3D.
Steven Spielberg's original movie was the director at his ambitious, epic, blockbusting best, a textbook example of plotting, pacing, rhythm and structure.
As for The Lost World and the third one, whatever it was called...well, they were ok, financially successful sure, but any Jurassic Park film would get bums on seats - exactly the reason why a new trilogy, or dare I say, franchise, has been commissioned I'm sure.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take the cynical anti-Hollywood for the sake of it stance here, because when they get it right, by hell do they get it right, as Spielberg invariably does or, more recently, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and J.J. Abrams' Super 8. These are films that, whilst firmly being commercial enterprises, are artistic enterprises as well. They're going to make money, bloody loads of it probably, but they're also going to have a life after their opening weekend.
Now though it seems as if the balance is shifting in favour of the commercial side, with that opening weekend in question becoming fetishized by producers desperate to see a quick return on their investment. The fact of the matter is this: with less and less people going to cinemas to watch films, studios can afford to take fewer and fewer gambles, and if there's one thing that can be said about Jurassic Park 4, it's that it's not too big of a gamble...in fact, it's pretty much a sure thing. IN FACT, such was the confidence in the franchise that when a fourth film was mooted in the mid-noughties, the script being thrown around involved T-Rexes with modified forearms and aposable thumbs that had been impregnated with dog DNA to make them loyal, human DNA to make them solve problems, given fucking AK-47s and trained up to fight in some eastern European dinosaur army. Let's take a minute to consider that: dog-human-dinosaur soldiers barreling through a bleak Kosovan winter with guns to fight...I don't know, communists probably.
The fact of the matter is this: with less and less people going to cinemas to watch films, studios can afford to take fewer and fewer gambles
This is not to say that Hollywood won't take a chance on interesting or ambitious projects, as I'm sure fans of Inception are thinking, but the only reason Chris Nolan was afforded such a huge budget to make his passion-project was because he'd just made The Dark Knight, and so was seen as a safe pair of hands. On the flipside, no amount of critical annihilation will keep Michael Bay out of work because his films make money, despite how utterly, unimaginably shite the majority of them are (apart from Bad Boys and Bad Boys 2...you ain't seen Bad Boys 2?!).
So expect to hear more rumblings from Jurassic Park 4 over the next couple of years, but as you patiently await its arrival, spare a thought for the other Hollywood cash-cows that desperate producers are currently readying to milk dry. What to expect from The Shawshank Redemption 2: Back In The Shank? I've heard No Country For Old Men 2 revolves around a holiday to Madeira. However, everyone's keeping very hush-hush about Forrest Gump 2: Whatcha Gon' Do With All That Gump? I've heard it gets a little freaky...
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