With an internet full of nitpicking fans, we can poke holes in even the most cherished of movies, and “Jurassic Park” is no exception. But today, 25 years after the original hit theaters, life has finally found a way to defend Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur fantasy.
And it’s all because of this man: the immortal, the brilliant, the shirtless Ian Malcolm, aka Jeff Goldblum.
In an interview with Goldblum before the U.S. release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” he waded through some of the franchise’s most pressing mysteries with me. He already provided fans with a sufficient explanation as to why his shirt is so casually unbuttoned after a life-threatening run-in with a T. rex (it was hot in Costa Rica, OK?), but we managed to hit some high points nonetheless.
“I’m up for anything,” Goldblum told me at the start of our interview. “I’m nothing if not game. That’s the name of my first autobiography. Nothing If Not Game it was called.”
And game he was. In fact, the actor was nothing but serious taking on and defending every single one of my Very Important unanswered questions:
Where did that cliff come from in the T. rex scene?
It doesn’t get much better, cinematic-experience-wise, than the first time you see the Tyrannosaurus rex in 1993’s “Jurassic Park.” The ripple in the cup. The lawyer who’s eaten off right off the toilet. What more can you want?
But a query related to that scene remains: How exactly did Rex push a vehicle over that huge ledge? When we first arrive at the T. rex paddock in Jurassic Park, it seems pretty flat. So where did the sudden and massive drop-off come from, the one that Alan Grant (Sam Neill) had to rappel down to escape?
Though Goldblum said he couldn’t be entirely sure, he gave his best explanation.
“I’m sure Mr. Steven Spielberg, in the geographical telling-establishing of the story, [decided] there’s a surprise,” he said. “If we don’t establish the whole topography at first, it’s to enhance the surprise. Just off that paddock, that T. rex paddock, there was a rather sharp drop. It’s possible we come across those things in real life. I guess that’s what happened on Isla Nublar in that case.” (Yes, that’s the fictional Central American island where “Jurassic Park” takes place. Goldblum knows his stuff.)
Why didn’t anyone eat the Chilean sea bass?
You remember the scene: Right after the raptors impressively demolish a cow, Hammond (Richard Attenborough) and his guests all settle in for lunch and are treated to a beautiful Chilean sea bass prepared by chef Alejandro. But no one eats it. What gives? Something fishy was going on here, and I’m not talking about the bass.
“That’s an excellent question. You’re the only person to have uncovered a mystery, an Easter egg of some kind,” said Goldblum. “I wonder ... Well, our conversation [in the scene] is so compelling, maybe after you see us talk — we jawbone for a little bit — we get to eat that sea bass. But you know, probably for my character, this is no occasion for just casual bourgeois fine dining. I probably have — uh, uh — a morsel in my pocket or two. I keep grazing on something healthy.”
Why was a mathematician invited to a dinosaur island, anyway?
Grant is a paleontologist. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) is a paleobotanist. So why is Malcolm, a mathematician, invited to the park?
“I believe the idea ― if you revisit the Michael Crichton book, which was gorgeous ― the idea in those movies is that John Hammond wanted people to sign off and give their OK on this, including a paleontologist, a botanist ... and I think they wanted me there because [of] chaos theory. I was a chaotician. I specialized in systems theories, I believe, and I was to sort of assess, I think, the safety aspects, all the different iterations of what could happen in a park like this,” he said. “And of course, I came up with some harsh analysis. My chaos theory says that you don’t know. It’s going to be unpredictable, and prepare for the worst, and I was right.”
Crichton’s Jurassic Park does explain the invitation, stating Malcolm was openly hostile toward the project “from the start” and brought on as part of an inspection. (Spoiler alert! It doesn’t go well.)
What happened to Malcolm’s daughter, the raptor-killing gymnast?
This is from “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” but for anyone who forgot, Malcolm has a daughter, unseen in “Fallen Kingdom.” Her name’s Kelly (Vanessa Chester) and she kills a raptor by using a gymnastics move (despite supposedly having been cut from the school team).
With all the dinosaurs running around in “Jurassic World 2,” it seems like a raptor-killing gymnast could come in handy, so what ever happened to her?
“I’ve imagined that the two of us have become even closer, and I supported all her empowerment and freedom and glorious talents,” Goldblum said. “You know, I think she’s done some more physical things with her prodigious gifts and intellectual pursuits too. She can do anything. I don’t know what they’re cooking up for a possible third [“Jurassic World” movie], who’s going to be involved, but if she or I or anyone from the Malcolm family could contribute in any way, we’d be of humble service.”
Where da poop?
The dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” are ginormous the last time I checked, so it’s a simple question: Where’s the poop?
In the first “Jurassic Park,” there’s a scene involving a triceratops’ incredibly large pile of turds. (That’s just one triceratops’, as far as we know.) With all the other dinosaurs present on the island, shouldn’t the turds be stacking up there? Not just hidden conveniently behind some plants or hiding cellphones in “Jurassic Park III”?
“Uh, well, you’re right. I’ll bet logic demands that we proudly could’ve, should’ve, run into more poop. But these movies are not basically scatological. There’s no big theme of scatology. So I think just the one reference [in ‘Jurassic Park’] was probably enough. Poetical license demanded it,” Goldblum said, proving once and for all that Malcolm knows his shit.