Here at Front Row Central, one of the things we love to see and promote is any form of “experimental criticism”, people engaging with film and critiquing it using methods and mediums which reach beyond the standard 750-word essays or dudes standing in front of webcams.
That’s why we’re proud to announce our new semi-regular feature Experimental Criticism, where we highlight unique forms of film assessment and reading. (Or attempt to do some ourselves).
Our first featured writer is poet Julia Gaskill, who writes as Geek Girl Grown Up, and tweets under the same name. Julia had some things to say about female representation in the Jurassic Park franchise, so she wrote this poem from the point of view of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), as though she had seen Jurassic World and were talking to Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) about it afterward. And as Julia points out in the first line, she has no interest in talking about the shoes:
an open letter from
Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ellie Sattler to
Jurassic World’s Claire Dearing
You probably think that this is gonna be
about the shoes,
but I am trying to avoid redundancy.
Really, if this letter were any sort of reprimand
it would be about
your choice of profession; reintroducing civilization
to the prehistoric age – a deceiving trick of the light
that couldn’t quite catch me,
but one you built your life around.
I saw firsthand how idealism is faulty
in the form of an old man who wanted
to make wonderment a reality
and how it blew up in his face – as a friend
once said: “Dinosaurs had their chance,” so
the fact that you continued in our absence
says something of the inevitable demise
of a park that should have stayed closed twelve years ago,
but this? This is
not about reprimand… I’m sorry.
I actually wrote to you to apologize
on behalf of the entire planet.
There seems to be a line drawn between
you and I. Another bout of pitting women against one another:
who wore it better, who ran it better, who survived it better.
I am victor in viewers’ eyes, but last I checked
you were still standing at the end of your film.
Maybe they think this because
protagonist boyfriend never defined me; I was
flirted with by chaoticians, dealt sexism from billionaires,
but still remained a storm to be reckoned with, while
a love interest was forced upon you. The stereotypical macho male:
nonconsensual kisses, innuendos laced into dialogue,
a role even Chris Pratt could not make charming,
a better fit for any 80’s action film starring Bruce Willis,
yet audience still expects you to swoon;
audience still laughs when your nephews beg protection from
the man they’ve only just met, even though
you saved their lives literally one minute
before – all for the payoff of another easy joke at the expense of women.
You are demeaned by millions for your
lack of maternal instincts, while simultaneously chastised
for changing your mind on motherhood by film’s end.
People forget that Alan Grant had your same story arc:
the tale of a man coming to terms with want of fatherhood.
The only difference is society praises men for paternal instincts
while claiming maternity a weakness in women – a trope
that somehow has not yet gone extinct.
I existed in 1993, long before this so-called “postfeminism” rise.
I was allowed domination, while they
reign you back, too fearful to allow you an ounce of respect.
It’s as if they perceive women as dinosaurs.
We’ve become too demanding, too hungry
for men to fathom outcome. We rampage wild
and sink our teeth deep into meaty plots, well-rounded writing,
so they threw you in a cage
to remind us of our place; we are a spectacle worth gazing upon but
dangerous when we dare open our mouths.
I was first creation, too much freedom in my stride, so they
modified you, made you shinier, better for men to handle;
they tried to take the monster out of your roar, even
though you were never monster to begin with.
Why must they revive
what is considered archaic; that which had its chance in history?
We’ve clamored to better the world, not tear it apart with extinction,
and yet there is always one claiming, “But the audience wants it that way.”
I once joked about women inheriting the earth.
Who’d have thought that such a statement
would be more science fiction-felt
than the premise of dinosaurs ever coming back.