Cindy - Column for 7/20

Jurassic Park IV

The following is a tentative script for Jurassic Park IV, coming to theaters 45 seconds after Jurassic Park III goes to video, or late August of 2001:

Our story begins as a crazy billionaire decides he'd like to have the first high school classroom in Space. So that they can observe the wonders of Earth's past firsthand, this satellite classroom is in permanent geosynchronous orbit with none other than El Islo De Dinosauro Diablo -- or "Jurassic Park Island Mark D".

The class is made up of ten kids: a sneering rebel, a jock, a geek, a prom queen, an artistic social outcast, and five totally nondescript others, dressed in identical "Space School" gym outfits and marinated overnight in beef broth.

Among the three teachers present on this experiment are a beloved old history teacher in a white suit, a renowned paleontologist (played by Sam Neil), and a sullen, malevolent math teacher with shifty eyes who repeatedly mentions that he should be better paid for his genius.

The class gazes in awe as their space shuttle crosses over El Islo Diablo, as they watch giant herds of mommy Brontosauruses escort even larger herds of baby Brontosauruses across grand expanses of carefully mowed lawn. Between their legs run little Stegosauruses, on their way to go swimming in a crystal blue lake, where dozens of 60 foot Plesiosaurs are launching themselves out of the water for the sheer pleasure of splashing back down.

Just then, the shuttle begins to shake violently, as if being struck from multiple sides at once. The shuttle is being pummeled by angry, violent, flying Velociraptors who have evolved so much since the last film that they now have laser-beam eyes and photon flippers. Naturally, the paleontologist was prepared for this eventuality, only something is wrong with the shuttle's hydraulic intake exhaust displacement valve! It appears to be missing its octagonal thrust compensation chip, and the shuttle spins wildly out of control. They plummet three miles straight down, and the kids and their teachers are able to jump free only seconds before the force of the impact liquefies the shuttle and all its radio equipment. Everyone involved is scratched and dirty, but not in need of any serious medical attention such as a trip to the chiropractor.

At this point the film begins to explore its deeper messages, like how the prom queen and the rebel will explore their obvious mutual attraction in spite of cruel social expectations and a charging Triceratops. The horrible mauling of two of their classmates will be forgotten mere seconds later, as the rebel's feigned bravado is dispelled while the flirty prom queen jams open an Allosaur's jaws with a human femur. "That was some move back there!" he'll say. "Oh, just something I picked up in Cheerleader camp." quips back the young lovely.

Meanwhile, the quarterback will be moaning about how his parents just don't understand him and he feels so much pressure to be the best, all the time, and how he really wishes he could just break his leg so that no one would expect anything of him anymore, and the geek tells him he felt the same way when he over-prepared for his SAT's an only scored in the high 1400's. Then, of course, they are assaulted from above by Pterodactyls, who make off with the remaining three extras.

The more well-known actors sigh in relief, since this means they're pretty much safe from dying until the last few minutes of the movie. Sure, there will be a lot of running around and screaming, but the real carnage is over for a while. The pointy-faced math teacher, though, doesn't look so sure, as he pats a suspiciously octagonal bulge in his coat pocket.

At this point, the director just gets lazy, and begins alternating between stolen footage of Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer and a dump truck unloading a half ton of live kittens into a crocodile pit.

Having found shelter inside a perfectly safe Brontosaurus stampede (they're herbivores you see, and would never hurt a living creature), our heroes regroup to figure out a plan for escape. The Velociraptors are busy debating amongst themselves about the nature of existence and whether a flat tax with a high enough standard deduction is really the regressive tax policy knee-jerk leftists make it out to be. Then Sam Neil has an idea.

"What killed off the dinosaurs eight billion years ago?" he'll ask. "A comet! Yes, a comet!" But how could they get a comet to come to earth? They don't NEED to! There's the space school up in orbit! By introducing DNA gathered from Halley's comet into the Space School's control system using a computer virus, the Space Station could be transformed into a comet, and would plunge through the atmosphere and kill all the dinosaurs.

"But we'd need the octagonal thrust compensation chip from the shuttle to do that!" cries the geek. The math teacher shifts his eyes suspiciously. Only they don't have much time, because while the warring camps of Velociraptor idealogues each have first-strike nuclear capability, they haven't developed the wisdom not to use it. While being blackmailed with expulsion, the social misfit spies the octagonal chip in her math teacher's jacket. She won't hide Stegosaur DNA in her lipstick case so it can be sold to the Chinese military! She'll expose him for the fraud he is!

One gauntlet of angry 30 foot reptiles and a decapitated math teacher later, and down comes the comet! It plunges into the center of the island, and our heroes frantically run ahead of the resulting fireball, diving into the surf to safety. The children are safe, evil is punished, and the Velociraptors have escaped on a colony ship bound for Alpha Centauri, where they plan to establish an egalitarian society of thinkers and artists.

Now that all the evil and boring people are dead, and all the good cute people are alive and in love, and we've learned more about dinosaurs than ever seemed possible without a single real negative consequence, there is but one moral to be learned from all this: It's Wrong To Play God.