Apparently, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” missed out on an opportunity to proactively engage in diversifying the gender identities of the cast, shifting the paradigm on what it means to oppose the patriarchy and helping us unpack just how far mainstream cinema can push the envelope on inclusivity.
Here’s Sam Barsanti at the AV Club lamenting a scene that was cut from “Fallen Kingdom” that would have revealed one of the characters, a vet for dinos, was a lesbian:
In an interview with Build (via Mashable), Fallen Kingdom’s Daniella Pineda revealed that an older edit of the film had a scene in which her character revealed that she’s a lesbian with a badass quip. Unfortunately, as is often the case with stuff like this, Pineda says the scene was cut for time.
It’s particularly unfortunate in this case, because it sounds like the scene would’ve been pretty cool. As Pineda explains it, there was a moment where her character, Dr. Zia Rodriguez, was sizing up Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady and highlighting his somewhat generic handsomeness. After objectifying him a bit, she would’ve said something to the effect of, “I don’t date men, but if I did, it would be you. It would gross me out, but I’d do it.”
There’s a lot going on here, first and foremost the idea that this mush-mouthed silliness constitutes a “quip,” let alone a “badass” one. When one thinks “badass quips” in high-concept action movies, the mind drifts to the heyday of Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Passively aggressively mumbling about whom you date is nowhere near the same league as, say, “Stick around!” or “I lied!” or Rowdy Roddy Piper’s disputation on bubblegum.
While the makers of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” thankfully ditched this “laugh” line, the film is otherwise littered with attempts at “wit” that feel like a reaction to criticism of the previous entry in the series. “Jurassic World” was lambasted for, among other things, dressing its high-powered female executive in heels and being too mean in how it killed one of the other female characters. Now, Colin Trevorrow — who directed “Jurassic World,” co-wrote “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and was set to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX” before being sidelined from that gig for making impolitic statements about women in filmmaking and directing the disastrous “The Book of Henry” — seems to have emerged from his struggle session with a new outlook and strategy.
One brief example from “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”: Following a particularly “witty” line from the aforementioned pseudo-lesbian veterinarian, one of the film’s antagonists snidely comments that she is a “nasty woman.” This is, of course, an unsubtle reference to Donald Trump’s description of Hillary Clinton as “such a nasty woman” during one of their 2016 presidential debates. As if we needed the political comparison to understand that the character leveling the insult — who appears to be a military contractor of some sort; who has tranquilized one of our heroes and held a gun to another’s head; who yanks teeth from the mouths of still-living dinosaurs in the hopes of amassing a war trophy of sorts — was a villainous snake.
The purpose of a quip is not to make an esoteric ideological point or prove just how virtuous the filmmakers are. Quips shouldn’t exist to inspire eye-rolling “clapter.” They should, rather, reinforce the absurdity of the film we’re watching — its inherent artificiality. When we watch true masters of the one-liner at work, we subconsciously understand that they are heightening the unreality of the situation unfolding onscreen in front of us. We know, intellectually, that Arnold Schwarzenegger impaling a communist insurgent on a telephone pole is ridiculous; his character saying “stick around” allows us to process the moment emotionally and as fantasy.
But calling to mind “nasty woman” or reminding us of the endless (and incorrect) arguments about Chris Pratt’s blandness in the wake of “Jurassic World” takes us entirely out of that fantasy moment. It rips us from the movie and deposits us back into the world of the real we were trying to escape for two hours. Worse than being unfunny, these “badass quips” destroy our suspension of disbelief and violate the integrity of the film.