the jurassic games

If there’s one movie that can unite movie fans of all ages, it’s Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Here’s the rare blockbuster that has won the hearts of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials alike. We all love it. We all cherish it. We all reference it in day-to-day life as an instantly understood shorthand.

It’s also becoming an increasingly popular movie to rip off and mash up, as the mere existence of The Jurassic Games suggests. Yes, this is a blend of Jurassic Park and The Hunger Games and it is a real movie that people are making and there are stills you can look at and everything.

The first look comes courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, who provide this description of the movie’s plot:

It takes place in the near future, where ten death row convicts must compete in a virtual reality game show called The Jurassic Games. They will battle dinosaurs as well as each other — and if hey die in the game, they also die in real life. It follows Anthony Tucker (Adam Hampton), a man wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife, who will be reunited with his children if he wins. Unfortunately for him, the game’s host adds harder and harder challenges for the contestants — and there can be only one winner.

If you want to get pedantic, that sounds more like The Running Man than The Hunger Games, but “gladiatorial game shows in a dystopian future” is an entire subgenre at this point and they all share at least some crossover. And in any case, the special sauce on top of this set-up is the presence of dinosaurs…none of whom can be found in the images below, mainly because they haven’t been rendered yet.

This Sounds a Little Familiar

The Jurassic Games continues the fine tradition of low-budget filmmakers taking popular movies and gleefully ripping them off. No one has done it better than the Italians, who transformed the Hollywood rip-off into an art form in the ’60s and ’70s. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Starcrash, a jaw-dropping Star Wars riff made by people only vaguely familiar with George Lucas’ movie. It’s one of the great bad movies of all time, a film that feels simultaneously inspired and lazy in every given moment.

At its best, The Jurassic Games could be like Starcrash: a rip-off that succeeds in spite of (and because of) its total shamelessness. At its worst, it could be like the Sharknado series: intentionally bad movies that exist solely so people can mock them. The best bad movies, the ones that are the most fun to mock, are those that were made by filmmakers who didn’t set out to make a disastrous movie. I have a hard time imagining The Jurassic Games being good, but I hope it’s honestly made and not deliberate junk.

Because that’s still possible in this day and age! Let me point you toward The Rezort (currently streaming on Netflix), a horror movie that can best be described as “Jurassic Park with zombies.” Set a few years after a zombie pandemic ravaged the globe, the film takes place in an island theme park where rich tourists can shoot the undead during the day and wine and dine at night. Naturally, things go wrong.

While the movie is clearly trying to capitalize on the love for Jurassic Park and the ongoing zombie craze, it’s never played for comedy or as a deliberate goof. Everyone takes it completely seriously and the results are surprisingly entertaining. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a perfectly entertaining modern B-movie, one whose shamelessness becomes charming instead of annoying.

In other words, there is precedent for a Jurassic Park knock-off that mashes the premise with another popular craze not being totally terrible. The ball’s in your court, The Jurassic Games. Don’t let my faith in you burn me.

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