Vampires Vs The Bronx stole one of Jurassic World’s funniest moments, but the 2020 horror-comedy couldn’t pull off the gag as well as the 2015 Jurassic Park reboot did. Beginning in 1993 with Stephen Spielberg’s iconic Jurassic Park, the Jurassic Park franchise has since evolved to include two direct sequels, a reboot trilogy, and an animated television spin-off series in the form of Camp Cretaceous.
Since the original movie adapted Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name, the Jurassic Park franchise has endeavored to subvert action-adventure cliches while also offering audiences a thrilling slice of blockbuster fun in the process. Some of these attempts have been met with success, with audiences being shocked by the daringly bleak ending of Camp Cretaceous. However, some trope-subverting twists, like the wild ending of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, have proven to be too much for viewers and reviewers alike.
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Usually, Hollywood blockbusters are accused of lifting effective gags, scenes, or entire set-pieces from smaller, low-budget hits, but the order of this phenomenon was reversed in the case of 2020’s horror-comedy Vampires Vs The Bronx and 2015’s Jurassic World. Jurassic World featured a solid throwaway gag when Jake Johnson’s park worker dramatically accepts a risky mission and attempts to kiss his colleague in triumph, only for her to stop him and say she’s not single or interested. It’s a funny subversion of audience expectations, but one that doesn’t work when repeated at the end of Vampires Vs The Bronx.
The Jurassic World scene is one of the movie’s many attempts to subvert the expectations of audiences. The action-thriller works hard to emerge from the shadow of its predecessor franchise and often succeeds, with other effective surprises including the unexpected re-emergence of the Mosasaurus at the close of Jurassic World’s action. However, a large part of why the moment works so well is that Johnson’s park staffer is not one of the main characters, and nor is Lauren Lapkus’ co-worker, the object of his misguided affections. The surprise comes from viewers expecting a romantic Jurassic World moment. Instead, the audience is reminded that they don’t know these characters and, as such, have no reason to think they should be paired off solely for the sake of a dramatic kiss.
In contrast, in the case of Vampires Vs The Bronx, it is the main character who is rebuffed by his apparent love interest, and the moment falls flat because the audience has spent the movie’s runtime following the pair. It is an effective surprise for a pair of background characters to seemingly enact a hoary old action-movie cliche like a climactic kiss, only for one of them to turn down the other. But the gag doesn’t work when the characters are the protagonist and their (seeming) love interest, much like seeing Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Jurassic World heroes snub each other at the movie’s climax would be an odd note to end the blockbuster on. If anything, the moment serves to remind viewers that Coco Jones’ Rita has not been well-established as a character as, while the large age gap between the characters is intended to justify Rita’s disinterest, instead it begs the question of why the protagonist’s crush is so much older than him and why she is hanging around with him in the first place. Despite smaller movies like Vampires Vs The Bronx often having an easier time subverting viewer’s expectations than big blockbusters like Jurassic World, the inverse turned out to be true in this case.
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- Jurassic World 3 (2022)Release date: Jun 10, 2022
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