A Dig into Kayla’s Bisexuality in Jurassic World: Dominion
Recently my girlfriend convinced me to watch the feature film Tornado (1996). My nod was a nice show of tenacity (his) or love (mine). Throughout our relationship, I refused to see the feature film Tornado because of my intense fear of extreme weather conditions but especially tornadoes. Anyway, I should probably write a separate post entirely about Helen Hunt being so hot in Tornado that she made me briefly (briefly) get over my fear of the worst thing about heaven, but now is not the time. It’s time to discuss Jurassic World: Dominion, the movie we watched as a sort of swap. I’m afraid of tornadoes and my girlfriend is afraid of dinosaurs. I maintain that my fear is all the greater since it is about something that could reasonably happen to us, but for the moment I will maintain the idea put forward by the jurassic world universe: that dinosaurs can actually happen to us.
We sat on the sofa with our take-out Thai and selected the extended version of Jurassic World: Dominion offered exclusively on Peacock, because apparently I like pain. A long version of a movie that is already longer than two hours should be expressly forbidden by, I don’t know, GOD???? At its extended length, Jurassic World: Dominion arrives at two hours and forty minutes or ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY MINUTES. It’s just too many minutes.
The first thing you need to know about Jurassic World: Dominion it’s not a very good movie. Yes, Laura Dern is there, and sometimes all I need as a barometer to know if a movie is worth watching is the simple fact that Laura Dern is there. Got your old school jurassic park characters and your new characters. Everyone works together to save the dinosaurs or kill the dinosaurs – it depends on the day. But let’s not get bogged down in plot details, because this movie is a snoozefest. A hundred and sixty minutes that would perhaps be better devoted to a very long siesta.
The second thing you need to know about Jurassic World: Dominion is that it features a bisexual pilot played by DeWanda Wise. Her name is Kayla Watts, and if I had known there was a weird character named Kayla in this movie, I would have walked my self-obsessed ass straight to the theater rather than waiting for its digital release. The fact is that I should have known this detail due to the fact that we have included it in a roundup of links right here on this website where I work. But no, I entered jurassic world with very little knowledge even of the previous movies (I had only seen them on my girlfriend’s screen on planes – I also think this further proves my point that her fear of dinosaurs isn’t as greater than my fear of tornadoes if able to cope said fear on a BOX SEALED IN THE SKY but I digress) not to mention one of its new characters, Kayla Watts. Now, when Kayla first appears in the movie, did I immediately think: oh she’s weird. Absolutely. But mostly because Wise has played queer characters throughout his career (the She must have it series and A good person).
For a moment, there’s nothing concrete but the undeniable BQE (Big Queer Energy) emanating from Kayla. Then there’s a moment that’s, I guess, meant to be a little wink wink wink to the strangeness of the character. After Chris Pr*tt’s Owen Grady expressed his affection for Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing, Kayla replied, “I get it. I also like redheads.
Now it’s absolutely is the kind of subtext that pings for queer viewers. I picked up what she put down. But I like redheads too like a “coming out” line plays it incredibly safe, and after so many years of yearning for queer representation in the blockbuster movies that I grew up loving, I’ve really reached a point now where this genre small wink wink nods just getting tired. I know some queer viewers are pushing for characters that aren’t defined by their strangeness, and I understand that. But I also think that if a character’s homosexuality can be easily excised entirely from a narrative without it really changing anything about them, then that’s not a real, meaningful portrayal. Every time I hear about homosexuality being “cut” from a movie, it makes me think that that homosexuality wasn’t taking up enough space in the first place.
BUT THAT’S JUST ME!!!!!!!
None of my criticisms of this character and her love of redheads (relatable; I had pictures of Marcia Cross on my wall as a teenager) have anything to do with Wise, who spoke out about Kayla’s bisexuality for press in a way that Is engage in meaningful conversations about homosexuality. A lot of what she says isn’t exactly backed up by the text, but as an actor she doesn’t really have control. Here’s what she told comicbook.com:
“It’s important, and it’s also important to me that we continue to expand the conversation beyond just looking for the kiss,” Wise explained. “If you’re a fag, you’re a fag…I said what I said. All the time. You don’t turn it off. It doesn’t matter if your partner is in the cockpit with you. It’s just a statement of being. She added, “So that was one of the things just in her DNA, in her dino DNA, making sure she’s who she is. Kayla is bi, and it’s just that it’s like that.
Yes! I agree! Queerness has no on/off switch, and it’s not just about kissing. But…I like redheads too…is also just a hollow representation, the kind that many straight viewers would miss. Redheads can indeed be of any gender in case you didn’t know.
Again, I’m not trying to fight Wise here. She is finally right. (She’s also the main reason to watch the film — although DEAR GOD DON’T WATCH THE EXTENDED VERSION.) The film, however, doesn’t contain the kind of nuanced depiction of homosexuality that she talks about. When it comes to big action blockbusters, there’s still just so many homophobia in Hollywood. I get what Wise means by saying it doesn’t have to be a kiss, but there are a lot of straight kisses in this movie! It’s not like it’s a movie without fucking! And in addition to the red line, we also get some very implicit story between Kayla and a woman named Denise and seeing Kayla talking to a redhead at the end of the movie with their faces very close to each other. That’s all!
Whether Jurassic World: Dominion was always going to leave kayla’s bisexuality to a single line, well i have a few suggested alternatives they could have gone with that i think are better and more relevant than I like redheads too:
- “Dinosaurs? Rather Binosaurs!
- “I’m not a pilot……….I’m a bi-lot.” (ok, I’ll stop with that)
- “My whole closet is just Dickies and Carhartts.”
- “Dr. Ellie Sattler meant a lot to me when I was growing up.
- “I also like redheads, like for example Marcia Cross whose pictures I had on my walls when I was a teenager.”
- “This velociraptor reminds me of my ex-girlfriend.”
- “I have to land this plane so I can go home and watch A league apart!”
- “I’m bisexual.”
For the record, I almost titled this track Notes From One Queer Kayla to Jurassic World’s Queer Kayla. I will keep this one in my back pocket because if ever Kayla Watts had hers Jurassic trilogy centered on her – WHAT SHE SHOULD. And hopefully it will come with a redhead girlfriend who can go along with it.