After failing to learn from the moral of the original, the seemingly-extinct Jurassic Park franchise was brought back to life with 2015’s Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and the comedic stylings of Jimmy Fallon for some reason. From the jump, the nostalgia-soaked sequel had a strange tie to a specific prop from the original; Dennis Nedry’s Barbosol can, which famously contained a hidden refrigeration unit perfect for smuggling frozen dinosaur embryos.

While you don’t see a single Barbasol can on screen in Jurassic World, the shaving cream company was a big part of the movie’s marketing campaign, complete with “collector cans” featuring images of dinosaurs – which, come to think of it, really would have really blown Nedry’s cover at customs.

Barbasol’s promotion included a website that teased the possibility that Nedry’s can, dropped in the jungle at the moment of his untimely demise, was a potential treasure to be found, asking “Is it still there, or could the amazing can - and its dinosaur contents - have been taken off Isla Nublar?” The franchise seems to be following this line of thought; most recently, the trailer for the final season of the animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous includes a brief shot of someone stumbling upon the original can.

And the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion is reportedly bringing back the character of Dodgson, the dude who provided Nedry with the Barbasol can in the first place. 

Plus, as we’ve mentioned before, early drafts of the sequel that eventually became Jurassic World focused on a mission to recover the Barbasol can – which makes no goddamn sense. Unless any of these stories involve using Ian Malcolm’s time machine (which is presumably made out of black leather) to travel to the past, that can is as worthless as any other discarded men’s grooming product. Dodgson specifically told Nedry that “there’s enough coolant inside for 36 hours.” So after just a day and a half, those embryos would be as spoiled as a Kardashian.

Arguably, the enduring mythology surrounding the Barbasol may represent a fundamental misreading of the intentions behind the original scene, which ends with the camera lingering on the can as it is engulfed in mud.

While some fans clearly saw this as a “mystery” for future sequels to investigate, arguably, the focus on the can was only meant to underscore that the trouble caused by Nedry, and all the needless deaths, were ultimately in the service of obtaining something that ends up hopelessly lost. It’s an almost boilerplate cinematic “crime doesn’t pay moment.” 

Screenwriter David Koepp confirmed as much, admitting that he understands why “people have interpreted it differently” while also stressing that he always saw it as a “gold dust has blown away in the wind” moment – a reference to the ending of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Even Spielberg’s camera movement is not wholly dissimilar from the last shot of the Humphrey Bogart classic, moving away from the human action to focus on the empty bag that once held a priceless treasure.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Maybe young people would be more inclined to check out films from the golden age of Hollywood if they featured more dinosaur disembowelings.

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Top Image: Universal Pictures

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