Spoiler Warnings are for sissies!
That’s why I’m not going to give you any, even though I’m going to write all about Jurassic World. First, the movie broke both the United States and the global records for opening weekend box office, so there’s a good chance that you’ve already seen it and don’t need no stinkin’ spoilers. Second, everything I’m about to tell you has already appeared in the trailers, which have been appearing before every movie being shown for the past several months. So even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve seen what I’m about to tell you. Third, even if you haven’t seen the trailers, it’s fourth installment in the Jurassic Park series; telling you there’s this amusement park with dinosaurs and some of the dinosaurs break out of their cages and run around eating people isn’t telling you something you don’t already know. That’s pretty much a given in a Jurassic Park movie, because it’s pretty much all the Jurassic Park movies have given.
Twenty years after the events of the first movie, John Hammond’s dream of a dinosaur theme park has been realized. According to Simon Masrani, the current CEO of Jurassic World’s parent corporation InGen, when John Hammond, the original head of InGen and the originator of Jurassic Park, was on his death bed, Hammond made Masrani promise to fulfil the dream of Jurassic Park.
Bunk! The last line of dialog from the original Jurassic Park, after the T-Rex and the raptors chased Hammond’s grandchildren all around Isla Nublar, was John Hammond saying even he no longer endorsed his own park. I doubt he had a change of heart on his death bed.
The movie may want us to believe it was Hammond’s last wish, but I think there was some other reason that Masrani wanted to make his corporation the little InGen that could. Greed. Greed and the fact that Masrani, InGen’s scientists, and Jurassic World’s management were a bunch of jerk asshats. “Hey, let’s recreate the amusement park that failed and almost bankrupted our company once and then failed again when we tried to set it in San Diego and almost bankrupted our company again. I mean, third time’s the charm, right?” Listen up, it’s comedy that works in threes.
Anyway, now appearing on Isla Nublar is the full-blown theme park Jurassic World. (InGen called it Jurassic World, because it decided after what happened on Isla Nublar the first time, calling the place Jurassic Park would be tacky. So InGen did learn something from the first movie, just not the right something.) Jurassic World had been up and running for ten years. Which means attendance was down, because jaded park goers always want some new attraction. Every time Jurassic World introduced a new attraction, attendance spiked. Masrani ordered the genetic engineers of Jurassic World to create a new attraction. Something with a “Wow!” factor. Something bigger, faster, stronger. The Six-Million Dollar Dinosaur.
The geneticists complied and created Indominus rex, a hybrid dinosaur that was part … Well, that would be telling. Exactly what species comprised Indominus is one of the few things the trailers didn’t tell you about Jurassic World and I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I can say – because the pre-movie publicity already said – that Indominus is part T-Rex, part cuttlefish, and part tree frog. Oh, and part hubris. No, make that all hubris. It’s a veritable hubris hybrid.
Indominus is big, strong, fast. And very intelligent. So intelligent that, despite the fact that it would have no way of knowing exactly what technology is or how it works, it devised a plan to escape its compound by using the park’s own technology against it.
Now Indominus was running around loose on Isla Nublar injuring people. The people it didn’t outright kill, that is. And it managed to free a bunch of pterosaurs from their locked aviary. So soon, there was an Idominus running around injuring and killing people and pterosaurs flying around injuring and killing people. (Honest, none of this is spoilers, everything that I’ve described was shown in the movie’s trailers. Hell, you didn’t even have to watch the trailers, they showed the pterosaur attacks in a Dairy Queen ad for its new Jurassic Smash Blizzard . )
But this is where I stop relating the plot. We’ve finally moved into the part of the movie that the trailers didn’t show us beforehand and the part of the column where I start analyzing some law.
There’s a scene in the movie that occurs after “all the dinosaurs are running wild” where Vincent D’Onofrio’s character said to B. D. Wong’s character something like, “By Monday morning this park will be in Chapter 11.” Meaning that the park is going to have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to try to survive all of the lawsuits that will be coming from either all the people who survived the attacks or the families of all the people killed in the attacks.
That’s when I thought to myself – a silly phrase, we’re not comic books, when we think little bumpy balloons containing our thoughts don’t appear above our heads so that other people can read them, so who else could we be thinking to but ourselves – I thought, “More than just the park’s going to be in Chapter 11.”
Jurassic World’s scientists didn’t just build the Indominus on a whim. They built it on a budget. A budget approved because of the specific instructions of InGen’s CEO to make an new attraction that was bigger, stronger, scarier and wowier. In other words, they used InGen’s money to follow the specific orders of InGen’s CEO to build a new dinosaur that proved to be beyond their control. A new dinosaur that was highly dangerous, that escaped, that released other highly dangerous prehistoric creatures, and that caused massive amounts of big-budget, special effect-laden death and destruction.
The lawyers representing the injured parties should sue more than just Jurassic World. They should also sue InGen, which is more than a little bit responsible for Indominus and all the death and destruction she caused either. “More than a little bit” being lawyerly weasel words for “directly.”
In law school we were always taught to sue the deepest pockets. Why? Because when you sue for damages you’re looking for monetary compensation from the people you’re suing. If you’re looking for money, you go after the deepest pockets, because that’s where the most money is. If we use a real-world analogy, who has deeper pockets, Disneyland or the Walt Disney Company? Considering The Walt Disney Company is the world’s second largest broadcasting and cable company after Comcast and owns ABC, ESPN, Marvel Comics, Walt Disney Studios. Disneyland just owns Disneyland, which also happens to be owned by the Walt Disney Company. So, I’m going with the company not the park, itself.
Which means any lawyer worth his assault suits would sue not only Jurassic World but the parent corporation InGen, which funded Jurassic World, funded its research, and ordered the park to create the big bad dinosaur in the first place. Given the evidence the lawyers would have against InGen, the lawyers could be worth less than actual salt and still be good enough to sue the jerk asshats Jurassic assets off.