3. META JP
In North America, we were already immersed and navigating within Jurassic Park. Of course, Jurassic Park, the film, is only a single interstice within an immersive, navigable environment made up of the various media that Jurassic Park, the concept, is presented in, ranging from wearable shirts and wrappings for burgers at McDonalds to many of the booths at SIGGRAPH, and beyond that to future theme-park rides. Metafictional elements are the audiences' navigation within this environment . . . from product to product, from place to place . . . best emblematized by the film audience's common smile at the only really visible product placement in the entire film: the Jurassic Park memorabilia that can be seen on screen in the Jurassic Park gift shop. Given the fact that the film is part of an immersive environment, this moment is more than an advertisement for itself. It is like the Pirates of the Caribbean (though designed for a more limited and practical effect), a metafiction emblem of navigation, modal change, and potential association used to sell you shirts, or whatever you might want when you decide you want it.
Navigation is an important theme within the film. Richard Attenborough, famous film director in our world, stars as the concept- and money-man behind Jurassic Park, a world within our world where dinosaurs live again. He transports our mam characters to the island in the bellies of helicopters, to see and approve the mystery of his creation. First stop, after a brief witnessing of this creation, is the island's museum movie theater. There everyone is treated to a film within the film, in which Attenborough clones himself to introduce us to the idea of reproduction without sex. Suddenly the movie theater becomes a theme-park ride. Restraining bars come down over the seatbound, a wall opens, and, diorama-style, a living laboratory behind a plate-glass wall begins to scroll past the riders; dinosaur-reproduction workers are visible inside the laboratory. The lawyer character whispers to Richard Attenborough: how marvelous, it's all so realistic . . . are those automatons? Attenborough replies: no, we have no animatronics here. They're real! It is at this moment that the three scientist characters, so taken by this completely immersive environment â€” there is no question of real or unreal for them! â€” decide that they have to navigate. Communally, they force up the restraining bars, and exit the ride, cybernetic sailors on this narrative's oceanic pond!
If you've ever seen Mel Brooks's film Blazing Saddles, you'll remember the famous climatic horse chase, whose climax is a sudden modal change, where the chase crashes through a painted landscape backdrop, and finds itself backstage. With no loss of momentum, the riders continue on to the next set, where they disrupt a Busby Berkeleyâ€”style movie in mid production. That's how I tend to view the scientist's jump off the ride, as well as the famous scene when the autonomous and artificial Tyrannosaurus rex crashes through the Park's unelectric fence at the beginning of the film's recorded disaster.
Of course, by that point in Jurassic Park, the associative process is already in overdrive. For instance, what are the dinosaurs? Before seeing them, most people already know that they are this age's miracle of computer-generated pseudo-autonomous entertainment reality. In the film, we also learn they are earthburied bone that can be made visible aboveground in the middle of the Badlands of South Dakota through the use of shock waves generated by elephant-gun shells, which create echoes that can be written to computer screens as image-processed pictures. They are DNA held invisible within mosquitoes doubly hidden within miraculous transparent amber buried deep in the earth, which yet can be dug up, extracted, and revealed as equivalent to the wall-to-wall scrolling alphabetic texture that covers the cinema screen in the movie within the movie at the Jurassic Park Museum â€” DNA letters actually generated during the dinosaur's fateful afterdeath mating with frogs that can change their own sex. I can't even begin to go into the number of descriptive associations this film can generate. To my mind, it is a great associative narrative ¦ a truly atemporal, or should I say spatialized, film.