Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World—The Park is Open!

Jurassic World opened on Thursday June 11 and the numbers are in.

The tagline for the film is:
“The Park is Open”
And how! According to Forbes, Jurassic World had the largest worldwide opening for a film ever—taking in $524 million over the weekend.

From the article:
It is already the fifth-biggest worldwide grosser of 2015 (it will be third in a matter of days), the third-biggest domestic box office champion of the year, and the 134th-biggest worldwide box office champion ever.

I’m imagining a sign reading “The Park is Open” in giant letters. Underneath is smaller printer reading:
We’ve got it right this time. Really. You can trust us.
And in even smaller print:
Please read all the legalese on the back of your ticket regarding our liability for your safety.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Grantland Article Examines Michael Crichton's Literary History

His Jurassic World: Author Michael Crichton’s Entertainment Odyssey and Lasting Cultural Impact

This article by Michael Weinreb, (in which yours truly is quoted), examines Crichton’s earlier works.

From the article:
My favorite of the John Lange books is Drug of Choice, a trippy little book involving that inexplicable blue urine and models and an illusory island; it ends with a lecture about the power of corporations. “Do you want to live in a certain neighborhood?” a villain named Harvey Blood (seriously) declares. “Do you find certain food tasty? Do you prefer certain climates, clothes, cars, paintings, movies, books, films, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, singers? Don’t you see your preferences are all conditioned? Don’t you see you are manipulated every minute of your life? You’re manipulated by Procter and Gamble, by Ford, by MGM, by Random House, by Brooks, by Bergdorf, by Revlon, by Upjohn—’’

Monday, June 8, 2015

Waiting for Jurassic World

It’s coming in three days. Jurassic World, the fourth installment of the franchise, will hit theaters on Friday June 12, 2015. Follow the countdown on the official website.

Though I, like many people, plan to see it on Thursday June 11. That date marks the 22nd anniversary of the release of the film Jurassic Park on June 11, 1993. And that is apropos because Jurassic World is meant to be a direct sequel of the first film, and will not be referencing The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) or Jurassic Park III (2001).

Spielberg returns as executive director and he created the story along with Mark Protosevich. I won’t expect the film to be better than the original, because I think that would be impossible.

From the description:

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly.
Things backfiring horribly is pretty much business as usual in any Jurassic film. The only character from any of the earlier films to return for Jurassic World is Dr. Wu, played by BD Wong. Dr. Wu is in charge of manipulating the dino DNA.

Quotes from the trailers:

Claire: Corporate felt genetic modification would up the 'wow' factor.
Owen: They're dinosaurs, wow enough.
Claire: Every time we unveiled a new attraction, attendance has spiked.

This does tie in with the Jurassic Park novel, in which Dr. Wu suggested engineering the dinosaurs to be slower, so they would match people’s expectations. John Hammond rejected the idea, saying that people want to see real dinosaurs.

So at what point does a dinosaur park become like an amusement park that adds a new roller coaster every year? Zoos already have the challenge of attracting more visitors while at the same time ensuring the health and safety of the animals.

Here are three stories concerning visitors to zoos whose expectations are not being met:

Story One
Visitor wants zoo personnel to stop the gorillas from fighting because “it’s a bad example for the children.”

Story Two
Visitor complains that the bears are boring and wants the zookeeper to make them do something.

Story Three
A zoo has added a robotic dinosaur exhibit. A father complains that the dinosaurs are fake. The mother says, “You know dear, maybe you should get real dinosaurs. That way, you won’t have problems like this.”

She wants real dinosaurs….be careful what you wish for.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Living in a State of Fear

Before we delve into our exploration and analysis of State of Fear, I want to share one of the highlights of my Michael Crichton collection. I found this T-shirt on eBay and I've never seen another for sale anywhere.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

State of Fear - Ten Years Later

Ten years ago, State of Fear was published. I remember the excitement when a new Michael Crichton book came out. I would clear my calendar because once I started reading a Crichton book I would do nothing else until it was finished.

Crichton’s career can be split into three stages:

1. The Andromeda Strain, which introduced his writing to the world.

2. Jurassic Park, which took Crichton from a genre writer to mainstream fame.

3. State of Fear, Crichton’s most controversial book

In November 2005, I had the rare privilege of participating in a month-long online discussion with Michael Crichton about State of Fear. It was hosted by the Barnes & Noble website. (Unfortunately, the discussion cannot be found online. Fortunately, I downloaded everything Crichton said.)

During the next few months, I’m going to explore State of Fear and the science behind it. I’ll also take a look the current state of climate and of climate science. What has changed in ten years? What hasn't changed? If any readers know of something in particular they would like to discuss, please email me at kahlessa at gmail dot com

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Michael Crichton Speech - “Science Policy in the 21st Century”

On January 28, 2005, Michael Crichton gave a speech titled "Science Policy in the 21st Century" for the American Enterprise Institute. The video lasts an hour and 15 minutes.

The speech covers issues addressed in State of Fear, though much of what Crichton said can be applied to a number of other situations.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spring Cleaning

After five plus years of writing this blog, I’ve decided it’s time to go back through my posts and check for dead links or other problems. If there is anything you notice, please let me know.