Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jurassic Park 4 - the one that didn't get made

Before we begin, a little back-story to fill you in: In 1993, Jurassic Parkwas unleashed upon an unsuspecting public and it took the world by storm. Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, the film was noteworthy for its Oscar-winning special effects and incredible score by John Williams. It was suspenseful, funny, horrifying, exciting; everything you could ever want from a Hollywood blockbuster. Soon after, a sequel followed, and after that, another one. The third film was panned by critics, but it was still a success at the box office, and that was enough reason for the studio to want to put together a fourth.

Jurassic Park 4 introduces us to ex-Navy Seal Nick Harris, who has been contacted by John Hammond to complete a very important task. Harris must voyage out to Isla Nubar to retrieve the shaving cream can filled with dino embryos that Dennis Nedry left behind after he was killed on the island. It appears that, while many of the dinosaurs have been wiped out, some have managed to make it to the mainland, and attacks are becoming quite a problem. The United Nations has outlawed the mining of amber, so Hammond is left with only one solution: use the embryos inside the can of shaving cream to create younger, sterile female predators to take on the remaining species on the island. The problem is, though, that the UN has also outlawed the creation of any new dinosaurs, and a corporation called Grendel International now has full ownership of the island and has equipped it with a security force. So Harris is going to have to be extra careful in finding this can.

When Harris reaches Isla Nubar, he has no problem finding Nedry’s bony remains. Soon, Harris is able to find the target Barbasol can in no time. Activating a homing device he left on the beach, he quickly begins to make his way back, when he hears a rustling behind him, and soon realizes he’s surrounded by camouflaged security rangers. He quietly drops his weapons as they command, but before anyone can think, a colony of excavaraptors attack. Amidst the barrage of the rangers’ gunfire, Harris manages to escape, a raptor hot on his trail. When he finally manages to hide behind an abandoned Jeep, a group of compsognathus strike, and he quickly runs for a nearby building, accidentally leaving his gun behind. Inside the building, which turns out to be an old staff bunker, Harris finds a map which has a layout of all the staff quarters on the island, and it looks like the control center isn’t too far from the beach. With a raptor hot on his trail, Harris begins his journey through the underground utility tunnels. After a brief run in with some dilophosaurs, and the ever-persistent raptor, Harris finally makes it to the beach where a pilot has been waiting for him. Harris begins swimming out into the ocean, where the raptor doesn’t dare venture, but when a kronosaurus catches the lifeline from the plane and destroys it, killing the pilot, Harris is now trapped in the ocean. Luckily, at that moment, a helicopter arrives and Harris grabs hold of its rescue ladder, saving him just in the nick of time. Too bad the helicopter belongs to the Grendel Corporation.

Fortunately, Harris manages to grab the Barbasol can and jump out of the helicopter, landing in the ocean and swimming toward a nearby beach where a Capt. Overton is waiting for him. Pursued by Grendel’s thugs, Harris manages to hide the Barbasol can in the ancient Coca-Cola cooler of a nearby cafe, which he’ll come back to later. Harris finds a hotel he thinks it’ll be safe to stay at, but of course it isn’t. Grendel Corp.’s men have tracked him down once again and bring him to Sweden, where Harris is met by Adrien Joyce, a criminal Harris managed to get kicked out of Honduras for selling weaponry who now works for Grendel. Joyce wants the Barbasol can, offering to match Hammond’s offer, but Harris won’t budge. Instead, Joyce explains he would like Harris’ help with Grendel’s newest project. Grendel has secretly been breeding dinosaurs and splicing their DNA with other species as well as domestic dogs and humans to make them obedient to commands. With proper training, Grendel plans to use these genetically-engineered dinos to act as soldiers—SWAT teams, riot control, that sort of thing—and Harris is the perfect man for the job. Why do they need these genetically-enhanced dino-hybrids? To save Isabel Chartiers—daughter of Bertrand Chartiers, chairman of the Duhamel Group—who is being held for ransom by a group call the North African Liberation Front. Using humans to save her would take far too long; these dinos, with their natural predatory instincts, will find the culprits in no time. Harris gives in and agrees to train the dino-soldiers, who are marvelously fast learners.

When Harris and the dino-soldiers find the kidnappers’ hideout, the dinos go to work tearing the kidnappers to shreds. Not a single one is left alive. And, thankfully, they are able to rescue little Isabel. Job well done. But Grendel’s work is not over. This is just the beginning. They have other missions in mind, and they want Harris on board for good. Their next mission: take down Pepe Aguilar, a drug lord who is holding a number of innocent people prisoner, including the President’s niece. For this mission, they’ll need more than just the genetically-altered raptors. They’re employing the spitters too. Their training goes smoothly at first, until one of the raptors goes a bit berserk and kills a Grendel mercenary. Finally, the beast calms down, but no one is quite sure what went wrong. Later that night, Harris strikes up a deal with Baron von Drax, head of Grendel. He’ll tell von Drax where he hid the embryos as long as they let Maya—a female scientist of theirs who Harris has started to develop feelings for—off the island, free from Grendel. Von Drax agrees, and when Harris breaks the news to her, she is shocked. Realizing there’s not much she can do, she reveals a damning bit of information: It was Grendel Corp. who kidnapped Isabel Chartier in the first place. Harris is horrified, but no matter, because this plot point is never brought up again. And it isn’t long before Grendel send some men out to retrieve the Barbasol can that Harris hid in that Coke cooler. But the DNA inside is not at all what von Drax has been waiting for. They found a decoy. The can was filled with the genes of toads.

Everyone feels good when the mission to take down Pepe Aguilar is a success; everyone but the dinosaurs. It seems that the raptors have become too sentient. They quickly destroy the cameras mounted to their bodies and smash the control-implants placed in their ears. This is their rebellion. The raptors strike on the convoy, with intent to kill. And they do. Carnage ensues as the raptors get their revenge on the humans who held them captive for so long. It isn’t long before the dinos target Harris and Maya, but to these two, they make an exception. It’s almost as if the dinos understand that they were the good guys the whole time, and they leave them alone, disappearing into the jungle, free at last. But what of the real Barbasol can? Well, maybe I missed it somewhere, but that actually managed to get to John Hammond at some point. The end. Really. The end.

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