The release of Jurassic World not only welcomes a new chapter to the Jurassic Park franchise but it also introduces a new director to the public. Colin Trevorrow is a relatively new director who’s only made shorts and documentaries before, until 2012 when he made his first feature Safety Not Guaranteed. This is the film that got him the Jurassic World gig but is it any good, should you hit play? Very simply, hell freaking yeah.
Safety Not Guaranteed is an offbeat comedy about a magazine writer, Jeff (Jake Johnson) and his two interns, Darius (Audrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni) who travel to a seaside town near Seattle to investigate a newspaper ad that reads “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” But when the team reach the town and meet the guy who posted it, Kenneth (Mark Duplass), you begin to realise everything is not what it seems.
As well as the time travel storyline, Safety Not Guaranteed has a secondary storyline going through the film. Early on it’s revealed that Jeff is actually going back to the town to track down a long-lost love interest Liz (Jenica Bergere) that lives there. At first you wonder what does this storyline have to do with the main storyline, but this is where the brilliant writing locks into place. One of the big underlining messages of the film is this idea of connections and how important they are. The four characters in the film don’t connect well with anyone, Jeff is locked in by his own ego, Darius is emotionally disconnected from anyone and everyone, Arnau is socially awkward to the point where he can’t really function properly around normal people and Kenneth can’t connect with anyone because everyone believes he’s insane. Darius and Kenneth are able to connect through each other as they both begin to open up more and feel more comfortable around each other. Jeff believes he’s found the right person in Liz, but she never sees him more than the egotistical outer shell he has created for himself throughout the years. It allows him to connect more with Arnau and ultimately helps Arnau escape his awkwardness and become more human. Safety Not Guaranteed strangely enough promotes being comfortable with yourself and that being around the right people will allow you to be your complete true self, no matter how weird other people may think you are.
Safety Not Guaranteed is the film that got Colin Trevorrow the job of directing Jurassic World, so how he is as a director? Trevorrow is part of a group of independent directors being given the responsibility of big franchises and Trevorrow is just perfect for that role. Along with writer Derek Connelly and DOP Benjamin Kasulke, Trevorrow created a breath-taking film to watch. The cinematography is beautiful, with lighting being used in a great and ingenious way. The music in the film is the precise partner for the film whether it’s the score; original music made for the film or licensed music including one of my favourite songs, Civilian by Wye Oak. Safety Not Guaranteed is the ideal marriage of sound and picture working in heavenly unison with story and performance.
I would love to talk more about this film and really go in depth about the ending and the meanings of the film but then I would be ruining the experience to someone who hasn’t seen it. It’s an absolutely beautiful film, incredibly smart and funny, great writing, brilliant performances and ultimately makes you feel great at the end. Safety Not Guaranteed is a definite hit play and is an experience every film fan must encounter; you’ll be wishing to travel back in time to experience it for the first time again.