Can We Buy Chris Pratt as a Serious Dude in 'Jurassic World'?
The first question you’re bound to have upon watching the new trailer for Jurassic World: How the heck are these people making the same mistake again?! Haven’t scientists like Bryce Dallas Howard learned the inevitable dangers in bringing dinosaurs back to life? Aren’t there some kinds of legal barriers prohibiting these experiments following the events of the previous films? And what kind of mother would Judy Greer have to be to send her kids off to a park filled with man-eating monsters? But the biggest question of the lot doesn’t surround Howard, Greer, or even the mysterious absence of Jake Johnson. It surrounds Chris Pratt… and that voice… and that ‘stache… and that painful seriousness he’s got going on.
The original Jurassic Park is a thrill-ride — one of the most fun blockbusters ever to hit cinema. But the Jurassic Park franchise is not Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s not a joke-fest, not a genre pastiche, not the cavalcade of goofiness that is this past summer’s Marvel hit. As such, the franchise’s latest entry Jurassic World won’t call for the same kind of clown that Pratt played therein. And we can see this absence of his usual silliness in the first trailer for the film. A trailer that prompts the question, “Can we buy Chris Pratt as a serious dude?”
Yes, he is wrangling a herd of raptors… so it’s not as though we’re being asked to accept this as Pratt’s English Patient. But from scene one, Pratt is scowling, grumbling, sporting the sort of facial hair that only men who take themselves very seriously would even entertain the thought of growing.
Pratt is angry — he’s on our side when it comes to the age-old debate of Dinosaurs: Should We Have Them Hanging Around? He’s hell bent on keeping these monsters in check, and doesn’t see why lab rats like Howard insist on reanimating the long extinct creatures. Pratt isn’t simply serious, he’s mad. Grumpy. Agitated. Instead of the young Harrison Ford we saw in Guardians, he’s giving us… well, present day Harrison Ford. And it’s a little hard to swallow.
Yes, we saw Pratt tangle with severity in Zero Dark Thirty, but even there (in a much smaller role, it is important to note) he’s a boyish, playful type. The Pratt we know is silly through and through — he’s Peter Quill, or the Lego guy, or the far-more-amicably-mustachioed workplace buddy from Her. Or, of course, Andy Dwyer. And with Andy Dwyer resting so presently upon our every conscious thought, watching Pratt dole out grimaces in the Jurassic World trailer is wont to conjure up connotations of Burt Macklin, FBI.
And if we can’t accept Pratt as a serious fellow, then where will that leave Jurassic World? Will we be relegated to a two-hour wait for the tomfoolery that our brains have been trained to expect from him? Will the thrill and gravity of the wanton dinosaur adventure suffer at the hands of a man we just cannot believe if he isn’t grinning like a candy-addled kid? Will the whole thing end up too ridiculous for our tastes?
Too ridiculous, even, for a franchise that gave us this?
Perish the thought.
Images: Universal Pictures (2); Disney