Back in the mid- to late 1970s, through the medium of fanzines and conventions, I got to know a couple of DWF (Decadent Winnipeg Fandom) fans—expatriates from Manitoba—who lived in Edmonton, Alberta. One of them, Randy Reichardt (Figure 2), was a helluva guitarist who became a very close friend and was one of the reasons I moved to Canada. In fact, he served as my best man and a witness when I married the Beautiful and Talented Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, but that’s a tale for another time.
Randy and I—even before I moved to Alberta—and John T. Gordy (T*A*M*), along with our sometime musical collaborator, Spider Robinson, did Beatles singalongs—sometimes for hours at a time! But when not doing Beatles tunes, Randy sometimes threw in odd bits of music here and there. One such song that he used to sing (on request) was “Sassafrass Jones,” which was a post-apocalyptic song about a pair of no-goods and the cyborg or robot who pursued them through the ruins of what once was the U.S.A. “Sassafrass Jones, he liked to chew bones… Barnaby Street, he ate human meat that he killed himself.” Maybe he told me who wrote it or where he heard it, but it didn’t stick in my memory, though the song did.
But somewhere between 1978 and 2010 or so, Randy forgot the words and the tune, so when I requested he play it, he demurred. However, by that time I had found out (thanks to Fred A. Levy Haskell) who wrote it (see Figure 1), and it was by a fan whose name I knew—Reed Waller. Somewhere in the next few years Reed and I became connected through Facebook, and I began bugging him about the song. He said (in 2014) that he was on the verge of putting CDs and lyric sheets on eBay. I waited… and waited. Finally, here in 2018, I’m pleased to announce that you can hear this fine tune on Reed’s own website (I don’t have permission to link directly to it, but if you go to the link above you can do some searching and find it yourself). Reed told me that he wrote the song—there’s a link between the song and one of my recent columns—after seeing A Boy and His Dog for the first time. He also said that he was able to perform the song for Harlan Ellison at a convention; he was very proud of that.
Please note: Omaha the Cat Dancer is an adult-oriented website; it involves anthropomorphic animals, sometimes doing very adult things. Conduct yourselves accordingly, please. If you’re at all interested in “furries,” anthropomorphism in animals, and/or erotica involving all the above, there’s a very good little video in which Reed tells you all about it and how it grew. Again, adult-oriented, so if you’re under 18, use common sense.
On Monday, August 6 (which was a Provincial holiday in Canada), it was too hot to do anything meaningful, so on a whim I grabbed my wife and said, “Let’s go see Jurassic World II—we have about 20 minutes to get there!” (It was 15 minutes to 12; the theatre we were going to is about 25 minutes away, given ideal traffic conditions, and the show was to start at 12:05.)
What the heck, eh? I put on a shirt and socks (I’ve been going without both unless I had to go out of the house for close to two weeks now), and Lynne ran off to do whatever women do to get ready; we were out of the house within… oh, ten minutes or so. We knew we were going to miss the previews, the ads, and the little phone games—and maybe a couple of minutes of the movie. Traffic was ideal; we got parking practically in front of the doors, and the ticket seller said we’d missed at most two minutes of the film!
We ran in—grabbing our 3D glasses on the way—and found seats in the middle of our favourite row (the theatre was only about a quarter full). I told my wife I’d run out at the first dull moment and grab drinks and popcorn—and to use the washroom.
Guess what? I didn’t leave my seat for the duration of the film; Lynne had a bottle of water in her bag; I had my cup of coffee and, when those ran out, I had my mints in my pocket. There weren’t any dull moments! The movie kept our interest for the entire two hours plus! (I realized after the first few minutes that I’d grabbed a child-size pair of lenses, but the movie was enthralling and I soon forgot about it.)
Forget the picture in Figure 5; that scene does not appear (as far as I remember) in the movie. I just thought it was a fun scene. So if you haven’t seen this, you probably want to a) find out whether I liked it; and b) what this movie’s all about.
First things first: what it’s all about. If you’ve seen the trailers, you already know the story; what you won’t know are the little details. Short version: if you’ve seen the first three JP movies and the first JW movie, you’ve already seen most of what’s in this movie. Except for the volcano going off, it’s pretty much a rehash of the first four movies. Which is not a bad thing, really. As I said earlier, we were glued to our seats throughout the whole film!
Dropping back a bit, you may recall that after JPIII, and the rampage of the reallybigosaurus (Spinosaurus), the dinos were moved from their original “Jurassic Park” on Isla Sorna (“Island of Sarcasm”), to another of the five “Islands of Death,” Isla Nublar (“Cloud Island”). These islands are located very near Costa Rica (about 1400 miles from Los Angeles); first John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), then InGen, bought them from the Costa Rican government. It was on Isla Nublar, then, that the first Jurassic World was created, again by InGen. Although Hammond had never actually gotten Jurassic Park open, Jurassic World was successfully opened and operated for about ten years.
InGen, under the direction—after Hammond’s death—of Simon Masrani, continued messing around with dinosaur DNA (if you will recall, all the dinosaurs were cloned from prehistoric DNA recovered from bloodsucking insects caught in amber; gaps in the DNA were filled in with frog DNA), even after the Isla Sorna debacles. They created a new and bigger-than-ever gigantosaurus called Indominus Rex. As you will also recall, all these debacles—dinos breaking loose, killing people, etc., etc., were foreshadowed by Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who warned both Hammond and InGen that dinos were wild by nature and could not be controlled. (Malcolm made a little sense in the previous movies, though by this one he’d gone right round the bend, in my opinion.) InGen’s DNA wizard was Henry Wu (B.D. Wong), supreme egotist.
The person nominally in charge of Jurassic World’s attractions was Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard); after the Indominus Rex escaped and a bunch of people were killed, Jurassic World was also closed, and InGen was sued for hundreds of millions of dollars. The dinosaurs were left to themselves on Isla Nublar from 2014 on; Claire went on to head the Dinosaur Protection Group. John Hammond’s former partner, Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell)’s protégé, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), took over InGen and Henry Wu.
As the movie begins, a crisis is brewing: the island’s central volcano is about to erupt, and the dinosaurs could go extinct again. A special Senate committee is holding hearings to see if the U.S. should intervene. Ian Malcolm is testifying that nature is simply correcting Hammond’s mistake in cloning the dinosaurs. He had originally said that the dinosaurs’ extinction was nature’s way of saying their time was over; he’s now claiming that nature should be allowed to correct its course (of course, if he’d wanted to be consistent, he should have let his daughter die in JPII, if you ask me). And in my opinion, he’s full of dinosaur dung. Nature has no intentions, if you leave God out of it (“God doesn’t factor into this equation, Senator,” Malcolm says during the hearing). He’s saying that Nature aimed a giant meteor at Earth to end the dinos’ reign? Bushwa. Nature does nothing intentionally; you can’t anthropomorphize it, I think.
When people like Malcolm talk about Man despoiling the ecosystem, they’re being intentionally foolish. Man is as much a part of the ecosystem as the ants or termites building giant hills, or the beavers building dams. But I digress.
Congress decides to do nothing; Claire receives an offer from Lockwood (via Mills) of sanctuary for the dinos where they will be allowed to live out their lives in peace; but to do that they need the trackers that were implanted in each dinosaur, especially the velociraptor Blue, that was raised by Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). The trackers will enable them to capture the smaller dinosaurs that are faster-moving than the big herbivores.
Claire’s handprint is needed on Isla Nublar to activate the trackers, and Owen is needed to bring Blue in. At Lockwood’s palatial mansion, Claire meets Lockwood, Mills, and Lockwood’s granddaughter, Maisie (Isabella Sermon). She agrees to recruit Owen and go to Isla Nublar.
On the island, they meet the facilitator (“Great White Hunter,” Owen calls him), Wheatley (Ted Levine), and head off in search of Blue who, Wheatley says, is crucial to the whole operation.
It is during the operation to capture Blue that things start going off the rails; and here I must cease telling you the whole plot. Rest assured, you will recognize almost every scene in this movie from seeing the previous four… but I think it won’t make any difference to your enjoyment!
Okay, there are plot holes in this (in all the JP and JW movies) big enough to drive a T. Rex through; while I recognize this, these holes and goofs didn’t make much of a difference. Both Lynne and I had a great time—as I said before, the two hours went by almost before we knew it!
My considered verdict—which, by the way, must be echoed by the movie-going community, as this is the third JP/JW movie to earn over 1.2 billion dollars so far—is that this film gets a solid four flibbets: ¤¤¤¤!
By the way, a third JW film is, of this writing, being planned for 2021… and there are plenty of ways to continue this; besides what’s shown in the film, how likely is it that all the dinos were captured on Isla Sorna? Or all killed on Isla Nublar? Not bloody likely, says I.
Have anything to say, bouquets or brickbats? You can comment here, or on Facebook (I link to this page in several Facebook groups). Your comments are welcome! (And you don’t have to agree with me to comment, either.) My opinion is, as always, my own, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Amazing Stories or its owner, editor, publisher or other columnists—or even my wife’s sometimes! See you next week!