Some time ago, there was talk of resurrecting dead celebrities through image manipulation so that audiences could enjoy watching stars of the past play roles in contemporary movies. If any movie has needed such computer magic, it is “Jurassic World,” which begins as the kind of picture a teenage girl wouldn’t mind taking her baby brother to see. The problems begin when the two boys whose Aunt Claire, a busy executive at a live dinosaur park, invites them to visit her at the park and, upon their arrival, palms them off on underling Karen. As played by Judy Greer, Karen is little more than a stooge, filling in for the errant Aunt until the dino danger escalates to the stage in which only a blood relative can protect the children. Now imagine that instead of Karen, we had Mike, played by a computer-generated resurrection of Elvis Presley, taking care of the children. First off, we would get some songs that I’m sure big sister would enjoy, and the two boys would have a role model to emulate instead of a refugee from too many television serials to follow around. More importantly, Elvis could use his charm to soften up Aunt Clara, making her a more appealing character, which would lessen the boredom factor of the movie’s second half, which has nothing to offer except rampaging dinosaurs.
Still, we have the problem of finding a director who could pull it off . By the time Norman Taurog directed Elvis in “It Happened at the World’s Fair, he had been directing for 43 years, and, after having made over 80 short films in during the silent era, won an Oscar for his direction of “Skippy” and a nomination for “Boy’s Town.” He directed over 60 sound features, including six of the best Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis vehicles, three Elvis pictures, and was one of five directors employed on “The Wizard of Oz.” When we look at the career of “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow, we see that he made one short, one documentary, one television movie, and a feature film that flopped. Not too impressive, is it? Yet this novice was entrusted with a $150 million picture. Maybe it just goes to show that directors are no longer essential players in the manufacturing of blockbuster motion pictures. “Jurassic World” doesn’t need musical numbers, Elvis Presley, or a competent director to make a profit on its in investment. And Trevorrow will probably go on to direct the next Star Wars picture, and fans of that series will complain that it sucks, but only after seeing it several times.
Long ago, it was predicted that people would stop going to the movies if going to the movies ceased being an enjoyable pursuit. But it has proven impossible for the world to break its movie-going habit. Even now, when watching a big summer blockbuster like “Jurassic World” is about as enjoyable as going ten rounds with the Klitschko brothers, the world stands in line to sit on its ass and get clobbered by dull, repetitive stupidity that is in drastic need of the leavening that could be supplied by the resurrection of Saint Elvis.