I was watching Jurassic World a few days ago with my 11-year-old daughter and found myself unexpectedly and strangely moved.
This has worried me ever since, not least because my daughter has been detailing my tearful state at the end of the movie to everyone she meets.
Why on earth would I find Steven Spielberg’s latest dinosaur blockbuster so affecting?
Today, the reason came to me. I was leafing through Farmers Weekly and its pages of reports about ruinous farmgate prices, and I suddenly realised that Jurassic World is nothing less than a full-blown allegory for the current state of British agriculture.
Mr Spielberg has crafted his latest blockbuster as a trope of our humble industry. What farmer wouldn’t be moved by that?
The ruined “aviary” shown in the film is, of course, his way of portraying the British dairy sector.
Its Eden Project-style structure is the Milk Marketing Board, and the helicopter that crashes through the glass is a representation of a milk price plummeting to 24p/litre (come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the helicopter has “24p” written on its underside – a typically brilliant and subtle touch.)
The predatorial pterodactyls that then fly out of the wrecked structure to wreak havoc far and wide symbolise dairy processors that are now free to pick off individual dairy farmers with unfavourable milk contracts.
The field full of dead and dying diplodocuses is obviously his way of symbolising British sheep and beef farmers suffering terrible farmgate prices.
The four velociraptors that are supposed to be friendly but suddenly turn nasty represent “the big four” supermarkets.
It goes without saying, therefore, that Chris Pratt, who plays the role of the trainer who eventually tames these beasts, must be none other than our very own heroic, charismatic, derring-do supermarket ombudsman Chris(tine) Tacon.
And the moving scene where brave park employees are hunted down by the rogue “Indominus rex”?
It can only be Mr Spielberg’s clever metaphor for UK arable farmers falling victim to a “monstrous” wheat price of £100/t.
But if Jurassic World is symbolic of British agriculture teetering on the edge of financial disaster, what is the director’s meaning (spoiler alert here, dear reader) by casting Tyrannosaurus rex as the saviour that comes to the rescue of the theme park just in the nick of time?
What is Mr Spielberg getting at by letting this nearly forgotten colossus out of its pen to kill off its destructive, unstable, genetically modified rival, Indominus rex?
It took me a while to work this out, but now it seems obvious: Indominus rex represents the EU’s dangerous experiment with free trade.
Out of control, this “monster” has brought ruinous farmgate prices to UK farmers and now needs to be sorted out by T rex, waiting heroically and patiently in its pen.
T rex symbolises intervention buying of grain, coupled headage subsidy payments for beef and sheep, milk quotas, potato quotas and sugar beet quotas.
In the final scene, T rex strides centrescreen and looks out over Jurassic World, much of it reduced to a near ruin.
It then opens its mighty jaws and lets out what sounds at first like an angry roar. But, if you listen carefully, what T rex actually declares is: “Import tariffs and coupled subsidy payments are all necessary instruments of farm policy if UK food production and farm incomes are to be kept stable.”
Is it any wonder that I shed a tear?