Friday, July 3, 2015

Jurassic World pt. 2: The Characters

The Fourth of July is tomorrow! Can you believe it? On July 4th, as you probably already know, we spend the day celebrating those brave men and women who fought to defend out rights in this country from those who tried to take them away from us.

As usual, I have decided to post a little tribute to independence Day in the form of actress Cozi Zuehlsdorff singing “Star-Spangled Banner” at a recent baseball game in Florida. Please enjoy!

One word: beautiful! I can't get enough of this girl's singing! Cozi Zuehlsdorff is the bomb!

Days till:
It is: 1 day till Independence Day
It is: 66 days till Labor Day
It is: 145 days till The Good Dinosaur's release

In the Spotlight:
Well, now that Jurassic World has been released and no news to share about The Good Dinosaur...I'm afraid I don't really have anything to put here. :-(

Topic of the Week by Christian Ryan
Besides the dinosaurs, the thing that makes this film great is its characters.
Last week, we explored the basic plot of the newly-released Jurassic World. I also gave a brief summary of some of the key points that help the plot progress later in the movie. Today I will spend going through the many characters that make this movie come alive.

PS. Warning – Spoilers ahead!

Simon Masrani
"The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control." - Simon Masrani
Though not playing as large a role in the film as Claire or Owen, I feel that Masrani is perhaps one of the most important people in this motion picture. Simon Masrani, portrayed by Irrfan Khan, is the CEO of Masrani Global Corporation and the owner of Jurassic World. His company bought out InGen in 1998 (saving InGen from going bankrupt) and decided to rebuild the company to its former status. He succeeded. In 2005, he opened Jurassic World as a fulfillment of John Hammond's dream decades earlier. He was good friends with Hammond and admires him greatly, even repeating his catchphrase, “spared no expense”.

In Jurassic World, Masrani cares very much for public and dinosaur welfare. In fact, he cares more that people are having fun and enjoying the park and that the dinosaurs are enjoying life (though Claire asserts that they don't have a method to measure dinosaur happiness). When we first meet Masrani on-screen, he is two day away from gaining his helicopter piloting license, though he doesn't seem capable of keeping his chopper steady!

In 2012, Masrani sought out head geneticist of InGen, Dr. Henry Wu, when the public interest in the park began to decline, or at best, level. Masrani told Wu that he wanted a new breed of dinosaur to impress the tourists, one that was bigger, scarier and had more teeth than even Tyrannosaurus rex. Wu got to work and by 2015, InGen's first genetically-modified hybrid dinosaur was within a few weeks of being unveiled for the public. This hybrid was called Indominus rex.

Of course, things didn't go as planned and when Indominus rex freed herself from captivity, Masrani took it upon himself to help bring the creature down. He piloted a helicopter with an armed soldiers on board, ready to shoot the creature. But when Indominus crashed into the Jurassic World Aviary, freeing two species of pterosaurs, or flying reptiles – Pteranodons and Dimorphodon to be more specific – Masrani was unable to fly the chopper out of the way in time. Pteranodons attacked the helicopter and brought it down, causing it to fall into the Aviary before bursting into flames.

As Simon Masrani was one of my favorite characters in Jurassic World, I am sad that he died. However, fans of this franchise everywhere shall always remember him for his relaxed and wisdom, even in a desperate situation such as the Isla Nublar Incident of 2015.

Claire Dearing
"We have learned more in the past decade from genetics than a sentry of digging up bones." - Claire Dearing
If Simon Masrani was the head of the project, Claire Dearing, portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard, was the legs, particularly of Jurassic World. As the park operations manager at Jurassic World, it was her job to monitor pretty much everything that went on in the day-to-day life at the park. She tends to be a bit of a workaholic, which didn't allow for many other things to occur in her life. In fact, work kept her so busy she didn't even have time to visit her family much; it had been seven years since she last saw her nephews, Zach and Gray, and even when she did see them, it was when they visited the park and she was still too busy to hang out with them (she doesn't even remember how old they are). Instead, she appointed her personal assistant, Zara Young, to watch them. Despite her busy life, she had a very brief dating relationship with Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady; though she never wanted a second date due to their personality differences.

As Owen points out, Claire seems to view the dinosaurs in the park as nothing more than numbers on a spreadsheet. She even typically refers to these living creatures as “assets”. This all changes when I. rex – one of the “assets” she's monitoring – escapes. When she and Owen go into the park to save her nephews from this dinosaur, they come across a dying Apatosaurus that was fatally wounded by the I. rex. Emotionally bonding with the creature, it appears that she finally begins to change her view on these beautiful living creatures. Over the course of the movie, Claire toughens up a great deal, even to the point of taking down a Dimorphodon that attacks Owen with a gun and going face-to-face-and-flare with a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Owen and Claire rekindle their romantic relationship and they share a kiss. This has been the first on-screen kiss in a Jurassic Park movie, which I was particularly pleased about (I'm a bit of a romance fanatic). Finally! A kiss! Claire was another one of my favorite characters in this film and she successfully (but barely) makes it off Isla Nublar alive with the others, confirming to restart her relationship with Owen, “for survival's sake” and she even reconciles with her nephews and her sister, Karen.

Oddly, during the entire sequence of events Claire wears high-heels, preferring to walk (and run!) in them than go barefoot in the jungle.

Owen Grady

"I was with the Navy, not the Navajo!" - Owen Grady
It's impossible not to like Owen, unless you're Claire Dearing, that is. Owen Grady, played by Chris Pratt, is a bit of a mix between Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ian Malcolm from the first JP trilogy, but given an interesting new twist. Like Ian Malcolm, he's able to see problems with Jurassic World, but like Alan Grant, he still has a fascination for dinosaurs. Once working in the United States Navy, Owen was hired to conduct behavioral research on Jurassic World's pack of Velociraptors that he has raised since birth. He also had an extremely brief relationship with Claire Dearing in the past, but, as mentioned above, the pair split due to convoluted personality differences.

Owen's pack of Velociraptors consists of four females: Echo, Delta, Charlie and Blue, the beta. Owen himself is the pack's alpha. Now the raptors are not at all under Owen's control – they still seem intent on eating his face off and ripping his guts open. However, because Owen has developed a relationship with them based on mutual respect, he is able to study their behavior at relatively close quarters. Owen's tenuous relationships don't only consist of his bond with his “raptor squad”; he also shares a tenuous relationship with Vic Hoskins, head of InGen Security. He is bent on the idea of training the raptors to be used as military weapons, some Owen disagrees with. Later in the film, Owen uses his  raptors to track down the escaped Indominus rex as advised by Hoskins. The plan fails and the raptors turn on him and the others, now claiming the I. rex as their new alpha.

Near the film's climax, Owen reestablishes his bond with Blue, Delta and Echo as the four of them attempt to take down I. rex. He also is able to continue his relationship with Claire and makes it off the island alive.

Zach & Gray Mitchell

"We're safe in here, right?" - Gray Mitchell

Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins portray Claire's nephews 15-year old Zach and 11-year old Gray Mitchell, respectively. Their mother sends them to Jurassic World so they can have an opportunity to spend some much-needed quality time with their aunt Claire, who turns out to be too busy to hang out with them anyway. While Gray is enthusiastic and excited about visiting Jurassic World, Zach could really care less, at least, initially. He does become interested in the park after attending the Mosasaurus Feeding Show. As with all brothers, Gray and Zach's dissimilarities tend to tick each other off – Gray is trying to enjoy the park as much as he can with his brother, while Zach mostly tries to ignore him through much of the movie as best he can.

The two of them are placed in the care of Zara Young, since Claire is unable to be with them. But when Zara takes her eyes off the boys for a moment, they run off to enjoy their park in their own way. They eventually find themselves at the Gyrosphere ride and have a dangerous run-in with Indominus rex. Once narrowly escaping her, they find the old ruins of the original Jurassic Park's Visitor Center and fix up one of the jeeps to drive back to Jurassic World.

By the end of the film, they get reunited with their parents.

Vic Hoskins
"Jurassic World is a global destination and that comes with a certain set of risks." - Vic Hoskins
Reaching his position as head of InGen Security by overseeing the clean-up operation of the Pteranodon that escaped Isla Sorna in Jurassic Park III, Vic Hoskins (portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio) and Owen do not see eye to eye. He wants to use Owen's raptors as weapons, something Owen sees as nonsense because the raptors are by no means “tame”.

When Masrani dies in the helicopter explosion, Hoskins takes charge of the park, bringing in a multitude of soldiers to kill Indominus rex. Having no better ideas, Owen agrees to Hoskins' offer to use the raptors to track down and kill the I. rex, but the plan fails when the I. rex becomes the raptor's new pack alpha, turning the smaller dinosaurs on the humans.

It is later revealed that Indominus rex was Hoskins' first attempt to create not a theme park attraction, but a military weapon! Early on in the I. rex project, Hoskins convinced Henry Wu to create a dinosaur that could be used in the military. As the I. rex turned out to be too large and uncontrollable, he revealed that Plan B was to create smaller versions of the same dinosaur. He was unable to act upon this plan however, because when in Henry's secret lab, he was cornered by the raptor Delta. Hoskins was brutally killed by the aggressive reptile, never to be seen again.

Henry Wu

"Nothing in Jurassic World is natural, we have always filled gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And if the genetic code was pure, many of them would look quite different. But you didn't ask for reality, you asked for more teeth."  --Henry Wu
The only returning human character from the original trilogy in Jurassic World is InGen's chief geneticist, Dr. Henry Wu, played by B. D. Wong. After the Isla Nublar Incident of 1993, Henry Wu was one of the individuals that returned to the park to document the dinosaurs. He was astonished by his discovery that using frog DNA to fill in the gene sequence gaps of the dinosaurs he and his team cloned and was inspired to begin research on cloning hybrid species. He successfully cloned his own hybrid plant called Karacosis wutansis, or the “Wu flower”.

Masrani was attracted to Wu by his flower hybrid and appointed him to create a new species of dinosaur combining the DNA of several extinct species to impress tourists and encourage them to continue showing interest in the park in 2012. Unfortunately, this is where Vic Hoskins got involved – he convinced Wu to create a “prototype” hybrid that could be used as a military weapon: hence Indominus rex. Henry Wu was extremely secretive when it came to the genetic contents of I. rex, as although he revealed the base gene of the creature to be Tyrannosaurus, he refused to give any information regarding what other DNA had been used in its creation. Masrani later reprimands Wu for creating such a monster.

Hoskins has Wu later evacuated off the island with several dinosaur embryos as to ensure the survival of Wu's research.

Lowery Cruthers & Vivian Krill

"Someone has to stay behind." - Lowery Cruthers
Lowery Cruthers (portrayed by Jake Johnson) plays the important role of overseeing Jurassic World's technical operations, similar to Ray Arnold in the original park. Lowery has deep respect for Jurassic Park, even owning one of the park's shirts that he purchased off of eBay. Claire and Lowery loathe each other due to their different opinions regarding the park. She viewed his Jurassic Park shirt as “distasteful” because it is a reminder of the incident of 1993 in the original park. While Claire believes genetically modifying dinosaurs to meet public demand is the proper direction to take, Lowery disagrees, believing the regular dinosaurs, like the ones Jurassic Park had, were the best.

During the Indominus rex escape, Lowery remains in the park's Control Room long into the night, feeling obligated to help improve the situation in any way he can. He later (finally) proves quite useful to Claire when she demands that he free Tyrannosaurus rex from her pen.

Lowery is friends with Vivian Krill (Lauren Lapkus), another Control Room employee. Vivian has respect for Simon Masrani, whom she's saddened by his death. Just before leaving with most of the park's other employees for the mainland, Lowery attempts to kiss her goodbye before she tells him that she already has a boyfriend. So Lowery hugs her instead.

"Uh, I have a boyfriend." - Vivian Krill

Zara Young
"Can't he [Gray] slow down?" - Zara Young
Zara Young (portrayed by Katie McGrath) was Claire's British personal assistant and charged with tending to Claire's nephews, Gray and Zach. While she was preoccupied at the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo however, the boys ran away to explore the park on their own.

Later, she found the boys on Main Street. She was only with them for a short time however, as she was plucked from the street by one of the swarming Pteranodons. The pterosaur accidentally dropped her in the Isla Nublar Lagoon and as she was re-caught by a Pteranodon, a Mosasaurus swum up from the depths and consumed both of them whole.

This makes Zara the first on-screen, canonical, female death in the Jurassic Park movies, and the second in the franchise (the first being Dr. Sorkin's death, also by a mosasaur, in Jurassic Park: The Game).


"Something's wrong, they're communicating." - Barry
Last, but not certainly not least on our list of characters is the ever-faithful Barry, played by Omar Sy. Capable of speaking French, Barry is a close friend of Owen and also a Velociraptor trainer, though he does not appear to have developed the deep relationship Owen has with the pack.

Barry also makes it off Isla Nublar alive.

This wraps up my list of Jurassic World characters. In the final part of my Jurassic World overview, we'll be looking at is undoubtedly the most exciting aspect of the movie: the DINOSAURS!!!

Jurassic World (2015)

Disclaimer: Many (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via my email address.

No comments:

Post a Comment