Picture

Picture

Because Chris Pratt. On a motorcycle. Flanked by velociraptors.
06/12/2015

PLAYING GOD NEVER GOES WELL

Nostalgia is not a dirty word. And I have to wonder if there are health benefits to feeling like one is eight years old again. So when Jurassic World was due to release, I begged my wife saying, “I just want to see dinosaurs eat some people,” and she consented to go with me even though she’s still never seen the other two sequels (not that it matters). Is Jurassic World over the top? Are there plot holes? Is it predictable? Are there ridiculous dinosaur fights? Yes, yes, yes, and you’d better believe it.

I don’t want to spend too much time on the premise – you should know it by now. Jurassic World, based on John Hammond’s original Jurassic Park idea, has blossomed into a successful attraction with 20,000 plus visitors a day. Greedy profiteers demand a new attraction. The new attraction gets hungry. Chaos ensues. Children run.

I’ll never understand how human beings in these movies are able to outrun animals that are described by the screenplay as much faster than they are (especially in high heels), but suspension-of-disbelief and all that aside, the film is the best sequel in the series and just a whole lot of fun to watch. The unstoppable Chris Pratt leads the cast as Owen, a velociraptor trainer, as the cunning and dangerous Frankensteinian Indomitus Rex runs amok. Dallas Bryce Howard provides the film with its token heroine Claire, an uptight and semi-cold park director. And of course, we can’t have a Jurassic movie without kids in peril, this time being played by Nick Robertson and Ty Simpkins as brothers Zach and Gray, respectively. They are there to visit their estranged Aunt Claire, and of course, things go awry. Of course. The rest of the movie is a lot of screaming, shooting, something about turning dinosaurs into weapons for the military, some pseudo-scientific talk, more screaming accompanied by running, and lots of dinosaurs.

The visual effects are outstanding, per usual, and the talented Michael Giacchino (LostUp) does a good job of filling in John Williams’ shoes as composer for the film, incorporating the famous themes. Director Colin Trevorrow follows the formula without getting bogged down by it, and the screenplay is headed by Rise of the Planet of the Apes duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, giving us characters that we actually care about and/or despise as necessary. The sound design and production design also deserve notice.

The ultimate moral of every Jurassic movie has been the same: “People! Stop playing God!” And, of course, we never learn. Very typical of mankind. Next sequel, please.

And so it is with our own lives. At every corner, every major and minor decision, we seek to play God. We may even fool ourselves by saying, “I prayed about this. This is what God told me to do,” when a lot of the time, it’s really just what we want to do. Playing God never goes well. Granted, people in our lives may not end up eaten and mangled like in JW, but nonetheless, it does not end well usually. In fact, there’s this whole book about people trying to be their own god and then God having to fix the mess they make. It’s called the Bible (you should check it out some time). But just like a plot device for a Jurassic movie, our logic goes right out the window most of the time as we act upon what we think to be true, rather consulting and following the One who is True. We tend to breed monsters in our lives with pet sins, saying “It’s not that big of a deal, I have it contained,” only to have it overrun, consume, and destroy not just ourselves, but those around us.

Satan would prefer we keep playing God. It makes his job so much easier. That’s why Peter urges, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (5:8 NIV)

We’re all guilty of playing God in our lives. And, let’s face it, we don’t have Chris Pratt to come to our rescue on a motorcycle with velociraptors. But we have Jesus – and that’s actually much better.

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