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New Jersey’s Baddest Dinosaur

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Imagine a dinosaur about halfway between a Raptor and a T. rex, combining the nastiest features of both–crushing jaws full of dagger-teeth, with long, curved claws, smaller and more maneuverable than Rex, bigger and stronger than a Raptor.

Hi! Mr. Nature here, introducing Dryptosaurus, New Jersey’s most impressive predatory dinosaur. Its remains were discovered in 1866, in a geologic formation that I used to visit in my own fossil-hunting days. To this day we don’t have anything like a complete skeleton; but we do have enough to indicate a highly dangerous creature probably related to the much more famous Tyrannosaurus rex.

One of the things I loved about the “Jurassic World” movies was the artificially created dinosaur, “Indominus rex.” To me it looked just like a scaled-up Dryptosaurus–and that would be scary!

I like to imagine Dryptosaurus stalking its prey by night under the stars, along the dunes of Long Beach Island. I resist the temptation to volunteer anyone as prey.


Movie Review, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

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We rented Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom this weekend, and it was everything we wanted from it. We weren’t looking for Shakespearean soliloquies.

So what we got were dinosaurs, and plenty of ’em, including some nice ones that haven’t been seen in the earlier Jurassic Park movies: a very nice Carnotaurus, and of course a new genetically-engineered man-made not-natural dinosaur that looks like New Jersey’s own Dryptosaurus. Three cheers! Plus the Mosasaur as big as your average township: surfers beware.

As usual, there are bad guys trying to exploit the dinosaurs, good guys trying to stop them, and the dinosaurs get loose and everything goes all pear-shaped, fanabla… I really don’t want to hit you with any spoilers, so suffice it to say that Fallen Kingdom offers a lot of the original Jurassic Park motifs, plus a couple of brand-new ones, at least one of which is just spectacular and you wonder why no one ever did it before. This is a dinosaur chase scene like none you’ve ever seen. Patty wound up dreaming she was being chased by an alligator, and I got kicked a dozen times before I could wake her up.

There are critics who want to put the whole Jurassic Park franchise out to pasture, they’re tired of these dinosaurs, the story line’s always the same, blah-blah. Bunch of spoil-sports. Sure, there are downright silly moments in any Jurassic Park movie–especially JP No. 2, The Lost World, which boasts a virtual dictionary of silly moments–but we don’t watch these movies in search of whatever it is that some of these critics are searching for. We watch ’em for dinosaurs, we get dinosaurs, the bad guys get what’s coming to them, the story line suggests yet another sequel, and we come away satisfied. What’s not to like?


Movie Review, ‘Jurassic World’

It’s Patty’s birthday this weekend, so we watched Jurassic World, aka Jurassic Park IV.

Okay, all the disastrous mistakes that plagued the original Jurassic Park have been rectified, and the new park is wide-open for business. But a whole new set of disastrous cock-ups is just waiting to erupt.

This is one of those movies that delivers exactly what you want–well, what we wanted, at least. We wanted dinosaurs, and dinosaurs we got: even a giant Mosasaurus which is not, strictly speaking, a dinosaurs, but it’s prehistoric and it eats living things.

We wanted thrills, and we got them. We wanted eye-popping special effects, and we got those. And as an added treat, there were several brief salutes to the original Jurassic Park, including a cameo appearance by Mr. DNA.

Occasionally it seemed the screenwriters were tempted to get sidetracked by penetrating insights into the characters’ personal lives, but drew back from this before any serious harm was done to the movie. I mean, you’re getting chased around by dinosaurs who are trying to eat you alive–who’s got time to worry about relationships?

This film gives us new dinosaurs–the Mosasaur, a really ugly pterodactyl (Dimorphodon), and, to top it all, a “not real” dinosaur that never existed in nature but was cooked up by the lab boys because the park’s investors demanded something bigger, meaner, and scarier than the real dinos. B.D. Wong is back as Henry Wu, the genius who ran John Hammond’s dino factory in Jurassic Park I.  He’s back and he hasn’t learned a thing.

So they come up with this artificial critter they name Indominius–nasty, nasty, nasty! It’s full of genes from all sorts of animals, and on top of that, it’s been raised in isolation which has made it crazy. The thing I loved about Indominius is, it’s basically a giant Dryptosaurus–which was a distant relative of T. rex, about half the size, with long, powerful arms and long, sharp, eagle-like claws: New Jersey’s pride and joy.

Here is the heart of the movie. Here is Unintelligent Design at work. Borrowing from the genuine creation of the sovereign God, blockheads cobble together a new kind of animal. They do this to make money and earn science kudos. They have very little understanding of animals in general and no understanding whatsoever of this particular animal. Their hubris, their ignorance, and their greed all turn around and bite them in the ass.

Just like in the first Jurassic Park.

“Ye shall be as gods” was a snare and a delusion when the Serpent first whispered it to Eve in Eden, and is to this day the Devil’s most irresistible bait.

Aside from my inborn yearning for dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, I love these movies as parables. It’s amazing how little the human race learns from its mistakes.

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither to they understand… For this people’s heart is waxed  gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 13:13, 15)


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