I called it! I called it! Did I call it or what? It was the meeting between Owen and Claire. I was right, I was right, I was right. That said, here is an approximate representation of my face upon viewing this clip:
Those present upon watching the clip with me can attest to this. Now keep in mind I haven’t seen this too many times, so what you’re getting here is a raw opinion which may be a bit disjointed. And I still haven’t decided how I feel about and and I’ll likely do it over the course of this post. MOVING ON.
In the clip, Claire goes to meet Owen, who works with the raptors– but she still wants to convince him to “work for” her. I assume this means their two divisions don’t overlap much. Because an asset manager would never have anything to do with four incredibly dangerous assets or the man who works with them, no sir. There’s managers of dangerous dinosaurs and trainers of dangerous dinosaurs, and never the two shall meet.
“You just went and made a new dinosaur?” “Yeah, that’s kinda what we do here.” Right out the gate, Claire drops the sass. She’s having none of Pratt’s crap. You go, Claire.
I should point out that Owen’s house is not, in fact, a literal tin can. It is a disgustingly tiny house surrounded by tools, which from a distance might give it the appearance of being a tin can. This journalist would like to redact her mistake.
We also find out that this meeting takes place 3 weeks before the I. rex exhibit opens, and this actually has nothing to do with the boys’ disappearance as we had previously thought. This kinda throws off the timeline that the fandom generally had in mind for the movie up until now. Additionally, Owen is being called in by Masrani himself to inspect the I. rex paddock for its efficiency. And Owen is some kind of structural engineer or something? I guess the line of thinking is that since he spends time with un-escaped raptors, he’s somehow an expert on what dinosaurs can’t claw out of? That’s the nearest I could figure out.
This is what confused me the most– I simultaneously like and despise Owen. This is the first time of two that he’s explicitly sexual to Claire (he also drops a deadpan pickup line– Dr. Malcolm, I see you peeking through there), despite the fact that she’s trying her best to be professional and they are colleagues. That strikes me as really creepy, especially coupled with the fact that he’s really condescending to her as well. On the other hand, he’s got the Chris Pratt boyish charm and seems like a likeable character otherwise, plus he seems to have a really good viewpoint that I’ll get to in a minute. I’m really conflicted here. Is he a good person that just sort of acts creepy in this scene?
And here it comes, folks. The bomb. What made me make that face up there. The line: “That’s why we never had a second date.”
OK. OK. Gimme a second to process this properly. So the two people in this movie that for all intents and purposes will fall in love by the end… have already dated and found that they’re incompatible? I mean, it was only one date, but did they really spend a couple of hours together once and decide that they can’t stand each other? Do their personalities really repel each other that much? I assume that over the course of the movie they’ll have adventures side by side, go through hell together, etc., and I really hope the movie can sell me that they can actually decide to like each other in a non-contrived way. Because what I’m seeing here isn’t Hollywood “oh, I only hate you now because I haven’t realized yet that opposites attract and our rivalry is just a front for what can easily transform into love,” it’s real-life “Seriously, I do not like you, get out of my face”. I mean, it can work if they play it right. This is the first and shortest look we’ve really gotten at who Claire and Owen are as people, and we haven’t seen any of their interactions past this point. But still, if this dynamic keeps going, the movie will have some ‘splainin’ to do before it convinces anyone that there’s any potential for love here at all.
On their date, Claire printed out an itinerary for their night out and was on a diet that didn’t allow for tequila, and Owen was just a ~~free spirit, like chill, dude~~ and showed up in board shorts. That’s actually pretty reasonable. If you’re going hang-gliding, drinking at Jimmy Buffett’s restaurant (which is actually a really depressing activity. Who would do that on a date? Are you preparing yourselves for the miserable emotions that will follow your inevitable divorce?) and who knows what else at a giant theme park, you might need some semblance of a schedule. Wow, I’m sympathizing with Claire here. Am I not supposed to do that?
I’m calling it now, by the way– at the end of the movie, they’ll have lots of fun on their “second date” and Claire will laugh giddily as she does something only slightly spontaneous. Perhaps Owen will make a Pratt face and say, “Well, um, that’s a start.” I’m serious. I will put actual money on this happening.
So they argue on like a couple of lovebirds (best to accept the inevitable and start shipping it now, right?) and then we get to my favorite part about this. I think the little monologue Owen gives here is what makes him likeable and what will give this movie some serious depth. He talks about how his relationship with the raptors is actually a personal relationship, and tells Claire that it’s wrong for her to think the dinosaurs are “just numbers on a spreadsheet” and that she shouldn’t think she can control them because she “grew them in a test tube, but they don’t know that.” Basically, the people in charge think they can control the dinosaurs just because they made them, but they’re still dangerous animals that no one quite knows how to handle. Wait a minute, where have I heard that argument before–
Well, Pratt did say that his character had some Malcolm in him, so there you go. Personally, I love this and what role it’ll ultimately take in the movie. More in the book but still in the movie, Malcolm consistently tried to make the point that the scientists wrongly assumed that since they created the dinosaurs, they could control them, but that kind of thinking was wrong and their hubris would be their downfall. And now we have a character in a similar situation saying a similar thing, but people will actually listen to him. He’ll actually have the power to make a solution that treats the dinosaurs like the wild, unpredictable animals they are, and his clarity in the situation might be what saves the day or even brings the park back to order. Heck, it’s probably what makes him such a good dinosaur trainer in the first place– he respects the animals and knows exactly how low the inherent level of respect they’ll have for him is. He might be skeezy, but Owen is not a dumb man.
Now this is why I think the movie will have a lot of depth: in Malcolm’s story line, the scientists with that mindset were the bad guys. They were portrayed as faceless villains and blamed only as abstract figures. But here, the scientist with that mindset is a human being and a major character. She’s standing in front of us, being a likeable protagonist. She isn’t a monster, she’s a person who goes out to save kids, but she still thinks in a way that has gotten a lot of people killed in the past and that we as an audience know is wrong. That creates a conflict for the movie to handle– the exact type of person who’s been the villain and the scapegoat for everything going wrong throughout the whole trilogy is now a protagonist who we actually like. I don’t know how that conflict will be addressed, worked with or handled, and right now I’m not going to try to guess. But I find the shift that’s gone on here very interesting, and I’m interested to see what the story will do with this. Of course, it might not be referenced at all (especially if the past park and what made it go wrong isn’t) but if it is, even a little, it’ll add some interesting depth to the story, maybe a few moral questions posed to the audience (which we don’t get a lot of in monster movies, and which the first move did exceedingly well) and some development to a character that’s shaping up to be very intriguing indeed.
Claire drops another sass bomb (It’s official, I like her. I don’t care how stuffy she’s supposed to be, Claire’s my girl) and continues to be pretty on a level that should be illegal. I’d like to make another bet: she’ll have the best and most quoted one-liners in the movie.
If you’ll look past Claire’s redheadedness (c’mon, even in-universe we all know that came from a bottle) we have what might be another product placement. Google isn’t giving me anything. Some kind of motorcycle or oil company?
Here’s Chris Pratt making a vaguely sexual and possibly flirtatious gesture. I’m told people on the Internet are fond of that kind of thing.
I would love for this to be a new meme. “Condescending Claire”. I cast it out into the seas of the Internet. Make it happen.
So that’s the end of it. I pretty much like every single thing about this and what it implies– the villain-to-protagonist thing, Claire in general, most of Owen’s personality. This might be character conflict conveniently wedged into one little scene, but it tells us some important things about the movie and its tone. Owen really seems to be on the side of common sense here. He’s smart and actually knows what he’s doing, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he’ll act how we imagine we would react in a Jurassic Park situation– he respects the dinosaurs and is aware of what they actually are, which will make him very easy to get behind. I definitely want to see how a protagonist like that handles the events of this movie– he’ll probably do very well, which was probably self-evident, but he might be smart enough to bring the situation in the park to more than just a resolvable end where as few people as possible die. He might just find a really good solution that works out best for dinosaurs and people. Oh, and he’s not Sternface all the time and the movie has jokes. Always good to be reassured of that.
There are only a couple things I would complain about, namely what may turn out to be forced love chemistry and Owen’s general creepiness (though this may only be a thing that we only see in this scene; I really hope that’s the case). Seriously, he dated the woman and it flopped, and she clearly doesn’t like him now, so why is he still hitting on her? People have said for a while that the initial basis of their relationship will be Owen trying to get Claire to be less uptight, and while that might work in small doses, ultimately it’s pretty cliche and might get annoying. Overall, though, this is not a romance movie and their developing love will most likely be an insignificant subplot compared to the dinosaur conflict anyway.
So I liked it. What do you think? Do you want to see this ship sail? Let your voice be heard in the comments!
Bonus: This is hilarious. “It’s an epidemic. Don’t hug a raptor.” http://www.mtv.com/ontv/movieawards/videos/chris-pratt-enrolls-in-dino-safety-101/1183969/#id=1735070