There is only one person who, in the middle of a massive dystopic dinosaur movie, can utter a line like “That’s bananas” with just the right timing and inflection.
For almost three decades, off and on, Jeff Goldblum has played Dr. Ian Malcolm with particular Goldblumian panache. As the stylish chaos theorist of the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films, Goldblum is voice of reason and comedy relief in one, an auger of nature’s unpredictability who can’t help marveling at seeing his theories in action, even if that poses immediate danger to himself.
It’s one of the 69-year-old actor’s best-known characters. Yet in even big movies like Jurassic Park and Independence Day, Goldblum has such a singular manner and much-imitated tempo that he’s never been particularly defined by those roles. It’s more that Goldblum, in putting his own idiosyncratic spin on them, marks the characters, rather than the other way around. Life finds a way in Jurassic Park, and so does Goldblum.
In Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion, which opens in theaters Thursday, Goldblum — along with original cast members Laura Dern and Sam Neill — returns to close out the franchise’s second trilogy of films in a sprawling adventure set in a near future where dinosaurs have spread across the world, as has ecological imbalance and a plague of giant locusts.
For Goldblum, the son of a doctor and host of the Disney+ series The World According to Jeff Goldblum, the subjects and themes of the movie dovetail with some of his own curiosities and interests in how we might, he says, “upgrade our stewardship of the planet.” What does Goldblum, the movies’ resident chaotician, think of our increasingly tumultuous times?
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“I don’t know anything about what I’m talking about. But let’s utter the word ‘entropy’ and ‘systems’ and how things break down,” Goldblum says, speaking from London. “Before the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis, the caterpillar has some convulsions, chaotic convulsions. But it’s not death, necessarily. It’s the onset of transformation.”
Satisfied that he’s perhaps arrived at a kernel of truth, Goldblum concludes, “Hey, what about that?”