Friday, June 12, 2015

The Unexpected in "Jurassic World"

I saw the movie Jurassic World today, and was struck by how they handle they audience's expectations of characters. In particular, where romance and gender are concerned, and how they either play up what the audience will like or throw something at us that we don't expect.

*a few spoilers*

First of all, a certain redhead weird woman wears high heels all through the movie. As I recall, the actress said that she had to learn to run in high heels. This is something that I personally think is nuts when I look at a woman doing this, but it works for the character, so I can hardly criticize. And since I decided very quickly that the character was a tad bit crazy, it worked for me. Heck, the male lead even pointed out that her shoes were ridiculous, so it's not even like everyone was pretending that she made good fashion choices.

And, just like the female lead was as feminine as possible, even to the point of running hither and yon in heels, the leading man was very rugged and masculine.

So the two leads are very feminine and masculine, as we might expect in a movie. But from there, we have a few unexpected things.

One thing sure to grab anyone's attention are a pair of employees in the park, a man and a woman. Nothing is said to indicate romance, but it's easy to assume romantic interest given that that's what we think of when we see two people of different genders set side by side in movies. Eventually it comes to the evacuation where the woman asks the man if he's leaving with her, and he bravely responds that someone has to stay behind. Then, as we might expect, he steps forward for his mandatory farewell kiss. Because that's just what happens, the brave man gets his kiss from the beautiful woman. But that's where things change from what we anticipate, as she awkwardly explains that she already has a boyfriend, and never mentioned him since she doesn't discuss her personal life at work. They hug as friends, and part ways.

Giant neon text may as well have been placed on the screen, "Things don't always have to be about romance, you know."

Even the two lead characters aren't dating at the end of the movie. Sure, there's some sexual tension that goes back to a failed date they mention, and he kisses her when she saves his life. But at the end, even though they agree to stick together for survival, they are clearly not (yet?) a couple, even though they have new respect for each other.

Jurassic World is an odd mix of giving the audience what is expected with very feminine and masculine leads, while also doing the unexpected where romance is concerned. And I like it.

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