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This bugged me right the way through Jurassic World.

Before Chris Pratt as Owen the velociraptor trainer is introduced, we're primed to expect a tough, world-class expert on animal psychology with this dialogue (adapted from this transcript):

MASRANI: So the paddock is quite safe, then?

CLAIRE: (nods) We have the best structural engineers in the world.

MASRANI: Yeah, so did Hammond.

Claire doesn't respond

MASRANI: There's an American Navy man here. Part of a research program one of my companies is running. Owen Grady.

CLAIRE: I know who he is.

MASRANI: His animals often try to escape. They're smart. He has to be smarter.

What I couldn't make sense of is - what does being an "American Navy man" have to do with outsmarting animals and training dinosaurs?

In the context of the conversation, making the fact he's a "Navy man" the very first piece of information shared feels like an appeal to authority - an implied "of course you should defer to his superior expertise on dinosaur psychology, he's US Navy".

I don't understand how being a Navy man establishes his credibility as a dinosaur trainer? Why the Navy?

(in contrast, for example, with the original Jurassic Park, where their raptor expert's credibility was established by introducing him as a ranger / game hunter, with many years' experience tracking, monitoring and hunting dangerous wildlife)

What am I missing?


The closest I can find to an answer online is this from the wiki:

During his time in the Navy he trained dolphins (presumably under the United States Navy Marine Mammal Program)

...which, if true, bridges the gap slightly, but I don't remember any mention of anything like this in the film, and the word "dolphin" doesn't appear in the above linked transcript of the first part of the film.

Even if the wiki is accurate here, I don't understand how the viewer is expected to make that link from an exposition / character development point of view. Especially in a world where dinosaurs had been around so long as to be passè - would there not be actual specialists whose whole careers had been focused on training dinosaurs, rather than needing to rely on moonlighting navy people who might be ex-dolphin trainers?

What am I missing?

  • It is very probable that he trained dolphins and/or orcas, and that for some reason any mention of this training was cut from the final film. You'll probably need to hunt down an early draft (or the book, if this is adapted from another Creighton novel) and see if it's mentioned there. Anything short of that isn't going to provide a conclusive answer. – Johnny Bones Oct 12 '15 at 15:25
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    @JohnnyBones "if this is adapted from another Crighton novel" - I'd highly doubt that, though. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 12 '15 at 15:28
  • I doubt that until this movie is released on DVD/BD and we have extras and commentary to watch we can have a definitive answer. You did bring up the United States Navy Marine Mammal Program which is supporting evidence at best that the Navy does train animals. My conjecture is the line about one of Masrani's companies. Many companies work closely with the U.S. military for R&D: think of USAF pilots working with plane makers during development as one example. It is plausible something similar occurred here. – user9311 Oct 12 '15 at 15:36
  • @Snowman of course, there's no evidence that Owen is active military or that in Gen was working with military. That was Vic, the in Gen security chief, which ran the security force like a paramilitary private security organization, ala Blackwater. – cde Oct 12 '15 at 20:09
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It was explained by an interview with Pratt:

We [Pratt and likely Director Colin T.] came together and decided that the backstory is that he’s a guy who probably trained dolphins for the Navy, and he saw what type of treatment those animals received, which is always not great for the animal. We decided that the likelihood is that, in the years that he’s been working for the park, this isn’t his first set of raptors. Raptors didn’t make it through some of the training. These animals died on his watch. They killed each other on his watch.

So it's word-of-god as to the Navy and Dolphins. And Owen has been at it for a long time, so he's the person whose career is the dinosaur training that you speculate about. Aside from most people involved with these passe dinosaurs tend to die (See Park 1, 2, 3, natch), and observation of genetically spliced/unnatural dinosaurs doesn't translate into training skills.

While the general viewing public may not understand the implied reference to the Navy dolphin training, generally speaking, they still have a high regard for military personnel, including Navy. They could have easily inferred Owen to be a Navy Seal, highly trained, disciplined, and skilled. But the main thing is that the line isn't important in giving Owen screen cred. His saving the kid from his raptors was all the audience needed.

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    Also the Navy Dolphin thing is explained outright in the Jurassic World mobile game, apparently. – cde Oct 12 '15 at 19:44

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