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So I’ve been re-watching JURASSIC PARK. Enjoyable. But . . .

The movie makes much of how all of its dinosaurs start out female, but at least some of them turn male. The movie implies that turning male is a factor that makes them go on the attack.

Reviving long-dead dragons is so tantalizing that the audience (including me) wants to believe it — but it’s still a fantasy, and making it convincing required a lot of hard work by a lot of gifted filmmakers. In a story that’s already walking the edge of the improbable, adding the bit about females turning male stretches credibility even further.

And it wasn’t necessary.

Well before any dinos turn male, the movie proves that they’re dangerous — most clearly in a scene with the park’s warden, a big-game hunter who explains how smart and vicious the beasts can be. In the minute or two while he’s talking, a dinosaur shreds and devours an entire cow. The dino was apparently female at the time.

Besides, the movie has already supplied a reason for the dinos to go rampaging. Presumably dinos, like other beasts, are mostly or exclusively heterosexual. Pen them up without members of the opposite sex, and some may turn to members of their own gender; but a lot of them will just get sexually frustrated — and very angry. And then they’ll get destructive.

I’ve run into this problem (unnecessary story elements, not sexual frustration, thank you very much) as both an editor and a writing teacher.

Writers sometimes over-complicate their stories. The complications end up slowing a story down with excess exposition, over-fancy plotting, or ideas that distract or confuse the reader (or that simply don’t pay off). When JURASSIC PARK brings in the idea of a female dino populace that can turn male — or, really, an all-female dino populace in the first place — it’s over-complicating.

Maybe the original book had good reasons for this stuff, but I’m just going by what’s in the movie.

The movie throws in so many enjoyable scenes and episodes that while watching it, I’m willing to set aside its storytelling mistake — but it’s still there, and it’s still a mistake.

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