Why is every child fascinated by dinosaur toys?



Familiar yet unfamiliar, longing for and fearful of dinosaurs, adults are also addicted.


The release of "Jurassic World 3" once again brought the prehistoric dinosaurs into the spotlight.


The new Jurassic series that is being released has suffered complaints about the rationality of the plot and the logic of the narrative, but for the vast majority of viewers, it may be the most difficult thing for them to accept. Bad or bad, this movie still won nearly 400 million US dollars in the box office of the first weekend in the global film market, and it was even hailed as a "rescue work" in the Chinese film market, which shows that dinosaurs, a huge prehistoric creature, are attractive to global audiences force.


From "Jurassic Park 1" in 1993 to "Jurassic World 1" in 2015, this series of movies about dinosaurs and humans has changed in the past 20 years not only in special effects technology and picture quality, but also in the film's The positioning of the "actors" of dinosaurs has also changed.


In "Jurassic Park", people's vision of "Dinosaur Park" is still in a mode similar to a traditional zoo, where dinosaurs are kept in cages for appreciation. In "Jurassic World", the idea of "Dinosaur Park" has become a model similar to a nature reserve. People lock themselves in facilities such as gyro balls for sightseeing, giving dinosaurs more space to move. "Jurassic World 3" allows dinosaurs to be redistributed on the world, allowing humans to find a way to coexist with dinosaurs.




These changes in the setting of the movie reflect a new understanding of human beings towards dinosaurs and the relationship between man and nature. With the continuous increase of dinosaur-themed works, people's emotions on dinosaurs have become more and more abundant. Ancient dinosaurs are like a group of dedicated actors, playing different roles in different works and accompanying many people growing up. Owning a dinosaur toy may be a common experience in childhood for many people.


Why is the charm of dinosaurs so great, and how did its changeable image develop step by step to today? This starts with the changing images of dinosaurs in literary works.


                                    Evolution History of Dinosaur Images in Literary Works: From Giant Beasts to Cute Beasts


Since dinosaur fossils were unearthed, it has become a prehistoric creature that can be dressed up. Nineteenth-century naturalists made their first fortunes from dinosaurs by imaginatively curating exhibitions. Movies in the 20th century also quickly brought dinosaurs to the screen, satisfying people's curiosity about huge monsters. "The Lost World" written by Conan Doyle in 1912 is a microcosm of the dinosaur craze of that era. This novel has been adapted into film and television dramas many times since then.




The earliest animated works about dinosaurs can be traced back to "Gertie the Dinosaur" in 1914. In this animation, Gertie will cry, stomp her feet with joy, and wag her tail to act coquettishly, which is given a certain character personality. This short film, which uses animated characters for the first time to realize the performance of live actors, has brought great inspiration to the future development of the entire animation industry. In the "Century of Animation·100 Works" published at the Annecy Animation Festival, "Gertie the Dinosaur" ranked number one.



However, it is Disney who really brought the image of dinosaurs, especially the fierce image of Tyrannosaurus rex, into the public memory.


In the "Rite of Spring" section of the 1940 version of "Fantasia", Disney used the entire process of the earth from the germination of life to the extinction of dinosaurs, using visual language to express the conflict, roughness and boldness of the original song. All kinds of dinosaurs lived a quiet and leisurely life, accompanied by fierce and aggressive string music, the Tyrannosaurus rex, which made the herbivorous dinosaurs frightened, appeared, and the plot of its battle against Stegosaurus became the climax of this animation. The plot of the two-legged beast defeating the four-legged beast in the picture implies who is the top of the food chain in a subtle way, and the image of the Tyrannosaurus rex standing on two feet is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people.



However, for those who love dinosaurs, there are actually many mistakes in this animated film. For example, Tyrannosaurus rex has three fingers (according to archaeological findings, Tyrannosaurus rex has only two fingers), it is not in the same era as Stegosaurus and so on. The response of the original Disney painters back then was also simple, that is, they felt that three fingers could make the Tyrannosaurus rex look more powerful. Between authenticity and the needs of artistic creation, Disney gives priority to the latter.


After World War II, Japan quickly took over the baton of the dinosaur craze. In the 1970s, with the increase of archaeological discoveries in Japan, the theme of dinosaurs became popular again. "Dinosaur Express Kesai" (1978), which was introduced to China, is one of the trilogy created by Tsuburaya to catch up with this wave of dinosaur craze (the other two are "Dinosaur Rescue Team" and "Dinosaur War") . It's just

that this special film is only set in the Cretaceous period, and dinosaurs are not the main characters in the story.



This is also the reason why the first theatrical version of Doraemon chose the theme of dinosaurs in 1980. Although the protagonist plesiosaur in the film is not a dinosaur, a large number of plesiosaur fossils were unearthed in Japan at that time, which caused the tide, so the protagonist was set like this.



In the film, the little plesiosaur has emotions similar to human children, and establishes a deep partnership with Nobita. This story transforms dinosaurs from fearsome prehistoric behemoths into empathetic companions. This theatrical animation fully demonstrates Fujiko F. Fujio's powerful screenwriting ability that perfectly combines popular themes with rich imagination, interesting stories, and thought-provoking cores. Dinosaurs are endowed with rich emotions and become human beings. As a partner, countless audiences were moved by the characters' emotions.


In "Transformers", the setting of the robot dinosaurs has gradually evolved from being only beastly and self-aware at the beginning, reflecting the transformation process of the ancient giant beasts from wildness to humanity.



In works such as "Denver: The Last Dinosaur", the protagonist of the dinosaur has completely lost his animal nature and has become a good partner of mankind from the very beginning.




In this kind of "man's best friend" theme, harmless herbivorous dinosaurs are the best candidates for the protagonists, and carnivorous dinosaurs are often the villains or rivals. Including Disney, whether in 2000's "Dinosaur Age" or 2015's "Little Dinosaur Adventure", they chose plant-eating dinosaurs as the protagonists to describe their adventures with their partners.


In "Interstellar Dinosaurs", even though Tyrannosaurus rex eats meat, as the protagonist, he can only condescend to eat cornflakes with a few herbivorous dinosaurs.




In the picture book "You Look Delicious", the story simply begins with the Tyrannosaurus rex almost eating the baby Ankylosaurus in one bite,

telling the story of the interaction between carnivorous dinosaurs and herbivorous dinosaurs.




It is not difficult to see from the changes in the image of dinosaurs that dinosaurs appearing in different literary works play different roles, which is completely different from the dinosaurs in documentaries that sell reality as their selling point. Thanks to the great power and unrestricted imagination of dinosaurs, content creators extracted some of the characteristics of dinosaurs and at the same time endowed them with a few personality elements, so that a large number of works successfully targeted children: in picture books, In animation works, dinosaurs are more like the other side of human beings. Some dinosaurs become good partners to accompany human beings. Some dinosaurs convey the meaning of protecting the environment and loving life to human beings. Love and tenderness.


Dinosaurs are no longer incomprehensible behemoths that lived in the Mesozoic Era, but have become the main body of the creator's work. For this group of creatures that no longer exist, there are many blank spots on their bodies, which are strange and familiar, yearning and frightening, which gives the creators a lot of room for free play, and has contributed to the endless emergence of dinosaur-themed works.


                                    Changes in the film and television image of dinosaurs: Creation and popular science go hand in hand


So far, paleontological scientists can only deduce the true appearance of dinosaur groups through excavated fossils and living conditions. With more and more excavated samples, the deduced research results are also updated, and the appearance and characteristics of dinosaurs have changed slightly. At the same time, in the field of cultural and creative works, with the continuous emergence of dinosaur-themed works, the images of dinosaurs have become more and more varied, and even the same dinosaur will generate many different images. For example, the image of Tyrannosaurus rex has undergone significant changes in the process of film and television.


In 1993, "Jurassic Park" was born. This movie, which combines dinosaur themes with science fiction genre films, examines the possible negative effects of scientific development from a humanistic perspective, thus reflecting the awe of human beings for life. As a movie in the early 1990s, "Jurassic Park" successfully reproduced the magical creature group of dinosaurs with the visual spectacle created by the most advanced special effects technology at that time, and set off a wave of dinosaur renaissance in the world.




Among them, the unearthed fossils are relatively complete, the giant and extremely destructive Tyrannosaurus rex has become the absolute C position of the "Jurassic Park" movie series. In "Jurassic Park", the protagonist group fought fiercely with Tyrannosaurus rex for more than ten minutes on a rainy night, which is the most impressive plot of this movie. This movie also successfully updated the image of the Tyrannosaurus rex in the hearts of the public, changing from the original two-foot dragging to a parallel body posture. The film's transformation of the Tyrannosaurus rex image is not only because of the archaeological evidence, but also because this change makes the Tyrannosaurus rex more flexible and dangerous, and brings greater oppression and impact to the audience. Including the sound of the Tyrannosaurus rex in the film, it is also more impactful by synthesizing multiple sound sources, rather than adopting the opinions of archaeological research.


In the process of content creation, the image of dinosaurs needs to serve the plot, which is more obvious in "Jurassic World" nearly 20 years later. As a restart of the series, the new work needs to "make" more powerful dinosaurs to meet the needs of the audience. However, there were no major archaeological discoveries to support the film at that time, so the film chose to breed "genetically modified" new dinosaurs by combining the DNA of different species. When the new dinosaurs were rampant in the Jurassic theme park, the real Tyrannosaurus rex, who was finally "responsible for danger", appeared, and joined hands with Velociraptor and Mosasaur to kill the artificially modified dinosaur. The subtext conveyed by this episode to fans of the Jurassic series is "tyrannosaurus rex will always be the protagonist of the story", and the deep meaning is that human beings interfere with nature too much, and in the end, it is not as good as nature's survival of the fittest.




Movie viewers are immersed in the sense of oppression and fear brought by dinosaurs in the movie, while dinosaur lovers will pay attention to the distortion of the dinosaur form in the movie. In fact, the dinosaurs in several works of the Jurassic series are all based on archaeology, with appropriate changes to meet the needs of audio-visual performance. At the same time, the film side will restore the new dinosaurs added to the story as much as possible based on the new archaeological results. "Jurassic World 3" not only maintains the image of the dinosaurs that appeared in the previous films, but also gives the newly-appeared Pyroraptor Designing a suit of feathers is a new setting that breaks the traditional perception of "dinosaurs have no hair" from the perspective of archaeology.



The huge difference between the feathered image of Pyroraptor and other hairless dinosaurs in the film may be difficult for some viewers to accept for a while. However, in the three theatrical animations of dinosaur stories spanning 40 years in "Doraemon", the cultural and creative content follows the findings of scientific research and sets the appearance of dinosaurs that keep pace with the times, which is more convincing. .


In the 1980 version of "Nobita's Dinosaur", the plot arranges for everyone to travel back to the North American continent 65 million years ago, in order to make use of archaeological discoveries in North America to make a reasonable appearance of well-known dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex. In the film, Tyrannosaurus rex contributed the most fighting scenes, and its image maintained the early tail mopping the floor and two fingers.




In 2006, "Nobita's Dinosaur" became the first remake of "Doraemon" after changing the cast of voice actors. The new version has updated the images of many dinosaurs. The image of Tyrannosaurus rex has been modified into a parallel body posture, and the teeth are covered with thick lips. In recent years, from a practical point of view, the paleontological academic community has proposed that dinosaurs may have thick lips like monitor lizards. The restoration of the image of Tyrannosaurus rex in this version of the theater obviously supports this new view.




In 2020, "Nobita's New Dinosaur" will be produced again with the theme of dinosaurs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the series. This

time the story is no longer a remake but a new plot, and the stage of the story is also transferred to Asia.


In dinosaur-themed films dominated by Europe and the United States, the appearance rate of Asian dinosaurs is relatively small, so the activeness of Asian dinosaurs has become a major selling point of this film. Note: The statement of Tyrannosaurus rex is only confirmed in the Japanese movie manual, and the Chinese subtitles of the movie still use Tyrannosaurus rex).




Compared with "Jurassic Park", the theatrical version of "Doraemon" maintains the consistent tonality of the work, and there will be no genetic monsters, but the dinosaur that eats "friend chocolate" will still instantly become the protagonist. partner. The lips of Tyrannosaurus rex have become a thin layer. When opening the mouth, it still has the vigor of the overlord at the top of the food chain. When closing the mouth, it can meet the needs of the plot and show its cuteness.



It can be seen that the group of "actors" such as dinosaurs are loved by creators because of their strong plasticity. Even though "Jurassic Park"

made the parallel Tyrannosaurus rex very active, the Tyrannosaurus rex who was reluctant to eat meat in the picture book story can still move many people. We don’t need to require that the images of dinosaurs in literary works must be unified. It is the changeable images of dinosaurs that bring us so many beautiful (scary) memories, attract our attention, and even understand this mysterious group from the perspective of popular science. 


The effective expansion of popular science content in the public domain is closely related to cultural and creative content. The field of archaeology has also responded to the efforts made by literary works in promoting and popularizing dinosaur knowledge. The footprints of a new species of Serbortosaurus discovered in Gulin County, Luzhou, Sichuan in 2021 were named "Nobi" by the archaeological team of China University of Geosciences. Brontosaurus footprint", named after Nobita, obviously made Nobita's dream come true in the 2020 theatrical version of "It would be great if I could name the dinosaur after me".





After more than a century of development, dinosaurs have already become a popular cultural symbol. They are like a group of mysterious residents who once grew up on the earth but suddenly disappeared, leaving behind clues of scales and claws for people to guess. Some people describe them as prehistoric beasts, while others dress them up as cute and cute animals. Different images of dinosaurs are resurrected on different stages.


People's fascination with dinosaurs is not just the worship of giants, but also to express their emotions. Restoring the image of a dinosaur is like playing a jigsaw puzzle. Everyone can spell out their own patterns and attach their own emotions. This kind of plasticity is unmatched by other creatures. Perhaps this is the secret of the enduring prosperity of the cultural symbol of dinosaurs.

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