Prehistoric Stereotypes: How "Jurassic World" Ruined "Jurassic Park"'s Legacy of Creative Female Characters

Spolier GIF Alert for “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World”.

Let’s get one thing straight: I love dinosaurs, always have, always will. Ah heck, if you check my kindergarten scrapbook (yes I still have it), you’d see a report on why the T-Rex from “Jurassic Park” is my "unconventional hero” (Look at that GIF below people, not all heroes wear capes).

Or how about next to my kindergarten yearbook picture: while everyone else’s favorite movie listed “The Little Mermaid” or “Beauty and the Beast”, mine was “Jurassic Park”. 

“Jurassic Park” was always a classic at my house. Whenever there were storms and we lost power, my dad would connect a TV to our car and we’d pop in a VCR (talk about prehistoric, amiright?) of “Jurassic Park” and I’d be set. I loved everything: the raptors, the T-Rex, Jeff Goldblum’s sass and especially, Dr. Ellie Sattler.

She was one of those smart, confident, headstrong female characters that come along and you just go, “I don’t care what her job even is, I just want to be her”. She was pretty and didn't need makeup where she was going (Spolier alert: she went to Dinosaur Island). She took no gruff from anyone and didn’t let her male colleagues ever put her ideas or confidence down.

And most importantly to me, she was just so likable. You could be smart and likable in film, how awesome is that? Her and the beautiful female T-Rex were two of my female film heroes for a solid few years.   

So, as I’m sure you now understand, I got very excited when Universal Studios announced they were making “Jurassic World”. Everything about it pumped me up: original T-Rex, Chris Pratt, Raptor Squad. I was ready. Then flash forward to opening night, I was leaving the theater with my brothers at 1 a.m., and I turn to them and said, “I wish the T-Rex ate Bryce Dallas Howard”.  

This 2015 movie ruined everything that its predecessor did for female characters. Let’s look at Claire, the crisp, professional killer of joy. 

Now I’m not mad they made her run in heels, I questioned how she wasn’t dead yet, but the heels were not my biggest gruff. No, what ruined Claire was that she was the heartless killjoy. She came off unlikable, rather than the powerful bitch they were probably aiming for. Her story was also predictable: her apathy towards the dinosaurs was finally cured after she got up close and personal with them, like I didn’t predict that scene three seconds into Claire’s first appearance on screen. 

Everything Dr. Sattler did or said developed her character and the story. Everything Claire did was either annoying or just related to Chris Pratt’s character. 

And don’t get me started on the romantic relationship part. Yes, I very much understand and agree: yes to everything Chris Pratt. But the key role the relationship played in the plot was unsettling. Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler’s relationship? Hell yes. They were in some kind of romantic relationship, but that didn’t matter because they were on an island of dinosaurs.  

Were these perfect movies? No. Were these two perfect female characters? No. Sorry ladies, but we all can't be as perfect as Madame T-Rex. To conclude my rantings and ramblings, both movies got one very important thing right, “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. Dinosaurs eat man, woman inherits the earth.” 

Always, forever, and five minutes from now, 

Emily