At some point it was decided that going to a movie was a bad idea for a date (especially a first date). With sites like HowAboutWe.com putting an emphasis on being creative with your dates, the simple “dinner and a movie” date seems a bit old fashioned.
But it doesn’t have to be.
And if you’re going to enjoy a movie as part of your date, then Jurassic World is a pretty good choice… if you do it right.
First of all, what makes a date interesting? There has to be an opportunity to get to know each other, as in have a conversation, and some sort of activity that allows you to not be left with awkward silences. For example, one of my favorite go to date activities is a painting class.
You know, one of those BYOB classes where you’re drinking and painting, and you have to take breaks every now and again to let the paint dry, which gives you an opportunity to refill your drink, grab a bite to eat, and, most importantly, talk with the person (or people) that you’ve brought with you.
And then, just before you get too weirded out by a lull in the conversation that ends in you staring at each other wondering what to say next, it’s back to painting.
That’s the kind of thing you want from a date: a lack of awkward stare-at-each-other time. In that regards, a movie is perfect! You don’t have to look at each other at all!
But other than judging each other based on what little reaction you can see from your date partner in the dim light of a movie theater, there’s no real opportunity to get to know each other. There’s no talking, no sharing of anecdotes that allows you to really get to know your partner.
I think this is because we traditionally do dinner first, and then the movie.
This happens for a couple of reasons, I think. One of which is that it’s awkward to sit next to someone you’re interested in, yet know nothing about. Having dinner first let’s you go through the pleasantries of getting to know each other a little first. But, there’s so much awkwardness getting to know each other in an environment where if things go bad or you are nervous and can’t think of what to say, you’re just stuck.
Another reason we do dinner first, even though it’s obviously a bad idea, might just be that movie food is outrageously expensive! There’s an expectation of some sort that the date should last a while, and so food will eventually become a necessity. So you’re stuck again! You’ve already paid up to $20 a piece for a ticket, and now you have dish out an extra $20 or $30 for popcorn and drinks or candy?
Not only is movie food expensive, but it’s impractical. Even if you do one of those places where dinner is part of the experience, like an Alamo Drafthouse or Studio Movie Grill, you still are eating in the dark, and run the risk of dripping stuff on you without being aware of it.
And if you’ve spent all that money on food, you should probably eat it… and then there’s no room for dinner, right?
Now, imagine if we did it the other way around. Imagine if we did the movie first and then did dinner or drinks afterwards so you could discuss the movie. Now you’ve got plenty to talk about that doesn’t require you to get into too much personal information.
Bonus, if you are automatically turned off by the other person, you can easily get out of the after movie discussion.
It works, it really does. My first pre-date with the Artist was a movie, a free one at that. We went to the Jung center in Houston and watched a psychological movie. The included lecture afterward was a little agonizing, but we snuck out because he invited me out for drinks. We were able to have a really interesting discussion about the movie and as we discussed our different opinions, we were able to disperse little tidbits of information about ourselves and what we liked and disliked.
You know, those basic first date questions.
I do remember fondly the way he asked me if I’d be amenable to dating him, and then he said that great line that suggested I was worth the effort: “I’m not going to lie; I was going to try to sleep with you tonight, but now I’m not. You’re someone I can talk to, so I want to do this right and be a gentleman.”
Sometimes it’s good to remember the good parts…
But what does any of this have to do with Jurassic World?
It happens to be a movie that lends itself well to the after movie discussion. I saw it with my mother and brother, so not in a date scenario, but my mother and I talked about it all the way home.
And not just about the dinosaurs, though those were cool. Very cool.
And not just because of Chris Pratt. Although he was sexy. Super Sexy. Amazingly sexy!
What we talked about on our ride home was the multitude of morality lessons peppered throughout the film. This movie has tons of messages that weave together to actually teach us a little something.
For an action packed monster flick, it’s neat to have it be a morality tale as well.
Warning! If you read past this point, there may very well be Spoilers!
The first Jurassic Park movie, and basically all the subsequent movies, have of course spun the basic “Don’t play God” message. If memory serves, in the first one, Jeff Goldblum’s character says that line outright.
This one has more than that. It really plays up the anti-consumerism, anti-corporate, anti-military thing.
We take 2 kids, whose parents are probably, most definitely going to get a divorce, send them to an island full of dinosaurs, where their Aunt Claire is supposed to watch them while their parents complete the divorce process. The kids don’t know that, and it’s not 1000% obvious until one of the kids mentions that he knows the parents are getting a divorce. Not sure if it actually happens.
Aunt Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is the all business, super corporate, nothing matters but the bottom line kind of lady, with an amazing set of heels (this is important because she wears them and runs in them throughout the entire movie). At the start of the film, she’s working on getting endorsements for a new attraction of a newly created dinosaur. Of course, the dinosaur inevitably gets loose, and the kids, who are of course lost in the park, have to be rescued by Claire and her potential love interest who is her complete opposite: one Owen Grady, ex military, pro animal rights, raptor trainer, played by Chris Pratt.
To complicate things, the newly created dinosaur is of course a secret military project bought and paid for by InGen, the evil corporation that was behind the theft and hacking that caused the tragedy in the first film (if memory serves). The same InGen people are trying to determine if the raptors can be trained and made loyal so that they can be bred for war.
Yeah, they want to weaponize Velociraptors. I can’t even imagine how much drugs one would have to do to decide that was in any way a good idea, but for the purposes of the movie, I buy it. I believe that some idiot didn’t learn the lesson from the first three movies, the lesson that nature has a way and you can’t tame animals that were once the rulers of this planet (in a manner of speaking… or literally if you’re a Doctor Who fan).
My mother said it in a really interesting way: She asked why would anyone purposely create something that would be higher on the food chain than humans? Right now, we’re the top, mostly only because of our technology, but dinosaurs would definitely become higher on the food chain if we created a bunch of carnivorous creatures so very much bigger than us.
Similar to the original, the guy who owns the island is an optimist. He asks Claire early on if the guests and animals were happy. She tells him you can’t judge that, and he says of course you can by looking at them.
He also says (warning, bad paraphrase) that being in control is an illusion. That’s a pretty big example of foreshadowing. Doubly so because, while he owns the place, similar to Hammond in the original, the corporations have taken over control. It’s become about how to make money, instead of what he originally wanted.
In the first one, there was already gene splicing going on. Remember? That’s how the dinosaurs changed gender to start breeding, because they spliced frog DNA into the dinosaur DNA. In this one, they mention that again, but then they also create a new dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, sponsored by Verizon… consumerism at it’s finest.
The name itself should have been a warning: take the root dominus, which is similar to dominate, plus the prefix in-, meaning not, you’ve got a word that means can’t be dominated. (The Jurassic World site calls him the “Untamable King.”) But it’s not a warning. To make matters, worse, the people running the park don’t know what all has been spliced into the damned thing, which makes for some interesting reveals as all of it’s gene-spliced traits make themselves known while they hunt for it.
I won’t spoil those for you because some of them are pretty damned cool! In a creepy, killer dino kind of way.
So, evil corporation? Check. Ridiculous idea to weaponize something that should NEVER be weaponized? Check. Playing God by gene splicing thing? Super check.
And all of those things lead to fascinating conversation!
Plus it appeals to both masculine and feminine sensibilities. For the adrenaline junkies, there’s plenty of action. For the romantic at heart, there’s a nice love story. There’s family issues, and relationship building (between people and animals, not just between people), loyalty versus betrayal… Plenty of intellectual fodder that could spiral off into a more personal conversation.
And the scary parts make for a good excuse to cuddle.
I would recommend this movie to anyone for any purpose, but I would also like to really suggest that you use this movie, or another movie like this, as a date night film.
Meet briefly before hand and share a drink and a snack to get the pleasantries out of the way. Watch the movie, and make some mental notes of your favorite bits (for me, Claire’s ability to run in those shoes is a pretty big plus… it gives me a reason to buy some more heels!) so you can talk about them later. Then go out for drinks or dinner and talk about what you saw.
You’ll get a good idea of what kind of person your date is based on what they liked, or what little details they noticed, or what message they gleaned from the movie. Worst case scenario, you get to see an awesome movie, and then run away. Best case scenario, you come off looking pretty cool.
*Topmost picture is fan art by one Manuel Unda.