The highest-grossing film of 2015 – the third highest-grossing film of all time – is available on 3-D, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD. I think I must’ve been the last person alive to see it [okay, slight hyperbole] but the truth is that this is simple math in several scenarios. Let’s examine a few.
First, there’s the headliners: Steven Spielberg plus Frank Marshall plus Chris Pratt equals …. billions. Helming the ship are hand-picked leaders who have been here and done this before. And they put the camera front and center on stellar artificially created, life-like looking dinosaurs, and Chris Pratt.
Fresh off of his universe-dominating turn as Star-Lord, Pratt could’ve (and still might) make a run at one of those untouchable franchises, Spielberg’s Indiana Jones series. Starring as Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady, Pratt gets to be witty, compassionate, buff, and courageous, all while hauling around on a Harley. Starring opposite him is the ‘straight man’ Bryce Dallas Howard as park operations manager Claire Dearling, who allows complete chaos to occur in a not-so-controlled adventure park with flesh-eating dinosaurs, while her nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) tremble in the background.
Second, there’s the plot. While Grady and Dearling (Dearling!) are trying to stop the bleeding and Vincent D’Onofrio’s security operator is D’Onofrioing, there are these two photogenic kids who get treated like chew toys. [Seriously, anyone who has seen the earlier films knows that the scene in the cafeteria is still sleep-defying, right?] Children in danger is a surefire way to ratchet up the tremors, the thrills, and the investment. It’s what makes Prisoners so horrifying and The Sandlot or The Goonies so powerful. Our childhoods matter, our children matter.
Third, there’s the sheer weight of what Grady et al. are up against. They have no business messing with the Indominus. All you have to see is some action from the trailer, and you know that humanity is child’s play compared to this thing. It’s like Predator or Alien, only bigger. It’s a reminder that nature is not to be controlled, that we aren’t in control, that the creative process was designed by God… and when we play with it, we mess things up.
This is the ‘awesomeness’ of science fiction. Whether it’s uncontrolled cloning or random new technology that we don’t quite understand, there’s danger in what we don’t understand. But we’re heady, knowledgable, cocky – the human race that is – and we think if we can dream it, we should do it. Daedalus, be damned.
Fourth, … yeah, we’re back to Pratt. As Grady, he’s brave, selfless, cool, and protective. He’s smarter than your average dinosaur and more collaborative than any of the previous ‘stars’ of the Jurassic Park films. He’s darned near perfect, who we’d hope to be in that situation. He’s everyman but the better man. Is he Christlike? I don’t know but he’s the one we want to emulate, replicate, duplicate.
It’s fair to say that the producers put the film on Pratt – with some dino help. But the special features of the Blu-ray combo pack put it all on him as well. The deleted scenes and other ‘normal’ special features pale in comparison to the ‘all-access pass’ that Pratt gives us in his tour of the Innovation Center. Sure, there’s still plenty of stuff to learn about the dinosaurs – aren’t they always cool? – but Pratt is front and center, as he should be.
Guardians of the Galaxy might’ve put him on the map in an ensemble cast, but Jurassic World proves he’s currently in a universe few have explored.