Michael Crichton was one hell of an author and he is sorely missed. His combination of science fiction and terror went well beyond the realm of cheap horror. The Andromeda Strain was my first introduction to his genius - the book, not the movie. :| It was scary, but beyond that it was fascinating, absolutely fascinating. To this day Congo lives in my mind as one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. Perhaps that is because I was only 16. But I am much older now and the final scenes of that story still haunt me. And of course we all know his most popular work, Jurassic Park. By then I had started watching movies first, because they never ruin the book. The reverse cannot be said unfortunately. However, I found that both the movie and the book stood on their own merits as great science fiction with enough terror to give Alien a run for its money. However, the movie went more down the terror track than the book did, and because of that it got some things wrong (but then again, so did the book :( .) If you've never read the book you must. It will explain things the movie could never hope to explain, and if you would understand the issues with bringing back to life extinct species, I can think of no more fun way of learning.
That brings me to the latest Michael Crichton legacy: Jurassic World, due to release in the United States on June 11, 2015. Universal Pictures released the second theatrical trailer last week and it's certain true to its Jurassic Park legacy. There are lots and lots of teeth and claws. See for yourself.
There is a new protagonist in town played by Chris Pratt. Hot off Guardians of the Galaxy he should be a strong draw. But I don't actually go to movies because of who is in them. I go because the story interests me or they look just plain fun. I think Jurassic World falls into that second category. I know enough about genetics, dinosaurs and archosaurs to have serious doubts that Universal Pictures will get it right. After all, Jurassic Park the movie didn't and the book had been written first. So I don't actually expect to be bowled over by the scientific correctness of the story.
And as for the idea of an intelligent dinosaur, well, there is this thing called brain-to-body-mass ratio that strongly argues against it. For example, the Blue Whale has the largest brain of any creature on the planet. And though it is a highly intelligent animal (heh, see what I did there? 8-) ,) it is not human intelligent or even chimpanzee intelligent. But there are other factors that come into play. These have led scientists to the concept of the encephalization quotient, or EQ for short, which refines the brain-to-body-mass ratio and accounts for not only species differences, but differences in the nature of the animal type, as well as total possible neuron counts within brain cavity constraints - and other things. Taking these and those other factors into account, it is believed the mean dinosaur EQ falls well below mammals who have a mean of 1.0 (by design.) Mankind sits on top of the mammals with an EQ of 7.4. No dinosaur could ever hope to get close to that score.
Okay, that's clear as mud. Sorry. The tl;dr is this. Just because a brain is huge does not mean it is inherently more intelligent than a smaller brain. Large bodies require larger brains (more neurons) just to move and regulate them. Their Frankensaurus Rex may be the biggest dinosaur ever, but that size comes with a price. Most of its large brain will be used just to make its body work. Let's stop pretending communication of any sort will ever develop in that jaw, tooth and muscle restricted skull. There just isn't room for foot long teeth and brains in that head.
What I am looking forward to seeing are these ancient animals once again brought to life. I want to see Ankylosaurus swing that tail. I want to see the Mosasaur (Mosasaur!) eat all the things. I want to see Deinonychus packs (don't get me started on why those ARE NOT Velociraptors! >:( That was the worst mistake Michael Crichton ever made...) hunt all the things. Yes, it will be inaccurate. Yes, it will be gory. Yes, it will be trope. But it will be DINOSAURS (and archosaurs!) and it will be glorious. That is enough for me.