Jurassic World Reviews
Despite the philosophical issues teeming in the entire Jurassic concept and broached in the film as if by drive-by, the movie is non-challenging and unintelligent. More than anything, "Jurassic World" is simple fun -- and unlike the titular park, may prove to be a good attempt at resurrecting something thought long extinct.
So what are we up against here then mateys, the first classic movie pitted a small team of people against an island full of dinosaurs that were on the loose!..oh this film is exactly the same? errmm...oh. Well OK its not exactly the same, this time the park is open and fully operational with lots of dino attractions for all ages. The difference being, instead of a T-Rex getting loose and becoming the main antagonist, its a fictional genetically modified dinosaur with extra spikes and teeth that can transform int...oops, getting carried away there. But seriously it is that stupid, they create a dinosaur that has virtually every flippin' assault skill you can think of, the bloody thing can virtually cloak itself, pfft!
Yeah so we follow two sets of people around, firstly the inevitable kiddie characters with curiously retro looking haircuts (well one of them at least). Have you ever noticed these modern movies try to copy the hairdos from similar themed movies of the late 70's and 80's? The other pairing are the two adults consisting of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, let the cliched stereotypical onslaught commence!
Right so lets talk about this park, there are all sorts of dino attractions such as a SeaWorld type show featuring a shit-your-pants sized aquatic killing machine sea monster, canoe rides down a pleasant jungle river with harmless herbivores, and a little paddy area for the very young to play with baby dinosaurs. Right so its clearly a spin on various famous theme parks/wildlife preserves such as Disney and say...Gatorland (and obviously SeaWorld), in movie terms its 'Jaws 3', moving on.
All the characters in this movie are horrible predictable stereotypical cliches, and exactly the same as the first movie. Pratt's character is basically Indiana Jones, Howard's character is the typical soulless corporate bitch who you think might get eaten for being a soulless corporate bitch, but does in fact turn into a watered down Ellen Ripley. The kids are just the same as any other kid characters, the military types are just the same as any other military types wanting to use something for errr....military purposes, the science guys are all whitecoats and kinda dubious and the park controllers in the control room are the comedic relief.
Now apart from the plot being exactly the same as before, not only that, but they completely rip-off other movies too. There are not one, but two main sequences that, in my view, copy such movies as 'Aliens' and 'Predator 2'. Firstly the containment team getting wiped out by the I-Rex (I.Rex, iphone...lame play modern technology), and then the whole thing with the raptors wearing headcam gear, cute but again comes off like said movies. I also find it hard to believe that the original site (buildings) from the original movie would still be fully loaded with equipment and vehicles, plus left unlocked! And how exactly did that gyrosphere thing work? its suppose to be a ride right, yet the people inside have full control and can go anywhere they want?! I thought it was on a track or something at first, surely allowing unlimited control screams disaster.
Now don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this movie to a degree, there are some nice moments of excitement and its not entirely blood free either (which was nice). The location work is lush and stunning, makes me wanna go to Hawaii, the acting is solid and engaging and I liked the gigantic sea monster thing. The problem is there is nothing new here, at all! Its just a rerun of the first movie with the same characters. I mean come on, who didn't guess that the giant sea monster was obvious foreshadowing for the finale, or that the T-Rex would inevitably come into it because everybody has a hard-on for T-Rex's apparently. If the I.Rex is such an intelligent creature why would it go around killing everything for fun? I mean yeah...for fun, sure, its a sadist, I get it. But surely most creatures, especially intelligent, wouldn't act like that unless it was pushed or forced to. To top that the CGI on show is pretty average really, the I.Rex just looks like a pale T-Rex with horns and somehow CGI on the whole isn't as good as the original movie, although dino eyes look good that's for sure.
I get the analogy here, how modern society just wants bigger, better, badder, faster etc...We are all greedy, never content, never happy, taking things for granted and of course, the corporate excess machine. The fact that regular dinosaurs have become boring to people, they want bigger, more dangerous ones, more blood and gore...are we not entertained??!! You know, how could anyone not be in awe over a simple dinosaur? The whole thing speaks volumes about us as a society and the movie industry (naturally), yet here we all are lapping this shit up, this movie did amazingly well, how? why? The movie pokes fun at itself for these reasons and simultaneously falls in the same trap yet again.
For roughly 2 hours, Jurassic World showcases a beautiful setting and soundtrack. The characters on the other-hand are forgettable and difficult to take seriously, much like a bunch of the plot details. The story is predictable in a ton of places, but at least they do setup an Indominus Rex to hate.
The design of the park and island are visually pleasing. The CG for the dinosaurs are hit and miss. It's the scenes with the animatronics that prove to be more reliable on screen.
Chris Pratt has the most memorable character. Bryce Dallas Howard is more eye candy than anything else in this film. The rest of the supporting cast don't do anything more for this picture.
Jurassic World has high entertainment value and some dino chow, but not much else.
There's just something about Bryce Dallas Howard that I don't like. She always has this prissy quality, and I suppose that's why she was cast as the prissy, high-strung dino executive. Claire is mostly a damsel in distress, and even when she shows that she's game, she's greeted with incredulity, and after her first badass moment of firing a shotgun, she's "rewarded" with male romantic attention that, for all we know, she had no intention of pursuing. Now, Owen's reactions aren't BDH's fault, but the combination of her natural prissiness and Claire's paper thin, faux-heroine characterization makes for weak execution. BDH also reportedly insisted on keeping her high heels on, and more power to her for that, but it's highly improbable for a person to full out sprint in heels, as evidenced by the camera rarely ever showing all of her feet in the running scenes. It always cut off just below her ankles, which leads me to believe that she had on stunt sneaks! This attempt at making a "strong female character" fails on many fronts.
It's been over 20 years since that terrible day when John Hammond's creation crashed into itself and dashed all of the hopes and dreams detailed in the first half of the original film. The park is closed, for good, or so we thought. Multiple deaths and general mayhem couldn't keep a great money making idea down and for the last two decades Jurassic World has been open for business, built on the corpse of the original park.
At this point the whole idea of dinosaurs actually being alive has become old and passe', so there is a need to up the ante so to speak. That means that, like the original film, it's time to play with our handy genetics set and create dinosaurs that never existed. Hybrids developed my man, making us more god-like than in the original film. Obviously, this becomes a huge mistake as our new creature is developed too well. Add in a plot that concerns weaponizing dinosaurs and you have your film ladies and gentlemen.
Jurassic World is a great summer flick. It's what every summer needs and sometimes doesn't get, which is happening a lot lately. It's an action packed spectacle that finally carries on the tradition of the first film (but doesn't surpass that film). There are some problems with the film, mainly in the sub plot with the military that is so predictable it's boring, but otherwise the film stands up well and won't disappoint fans of the original film or newcomers to the franchise. Thankfully, it appears that this film ignores what happened in the second and third films.
Which begs the question of how will they follow up this film. The humongous amount of money this film has made makes a sequel inevitable, but the issue is that there isn't much you can do with the subject matter without rehashing one of the awful sequels or making an unrealistic sequel. But the film is about dinosaurs, so who cares.
Jurassic World has been open for a decade plus now and audiences are getting bored. As a result, the board of directors for the park is looking to "up the wow factor." They've genetically engineered a new hybrid dinosaur (Indominous Rex) that has never existed before in history, but nothing bad could happen, right? Owen (Chris Pratt) is a Navy trainer who is working on training a group of raptors to follow commands. A security leader (Vincent D'Onofrio) is convinced that there's money to be made with military applications if dinosaurs can follow orders. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is in charge of the day-to-day operations at the park. Her nephews (Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson) are visiting as one last holiday adventure before mom and dad get divorced. She knows little about her nephews (she's a workaholic - what originality), but when they're put in mortal danger, Claire's protective nature kicks into overdrive. The Indominous Rex escapes its paddock and heads from pen to pen deeper into the park, killing for sport. It's up to Claire, Owen, and a team of trained raptors to stop this newest monster.
What Trevorrow and his Safety writer Derek Connolly do well is establish a summer thrill-ride that places fun above all else, and it achieves this goal. Jurassic World is consistently entertaining and engaging, with action sequences that are shorter but constantly push the narrative forward. With all the Jurassic films, there's a palpable sense of dread, of holding back before things get really nuts, and Trevorrow has fun teasing an audience; however, he also delivers on what he promises. The dinosaur action is visceral and rather violent for a PG-13 film, but the segments are diverse in orchestration that it never feels like the movie is repeating itself. That's quite an accomplishment considering that the Jurassic sequels have mainly been a series of chases. There's a definite nostalgic reverence for the original 1993 film, summed up with Jake Johnson's geeky control center character. Trevorrow takes more than a few nods from the almighty Spielberg with his own directorial style. There's also a surprise sense of humor, which can be quite amusing in moments and far too comically broad in others, like the forced screwball romance between Owen and Claire. The story this fourth time is less a cautionary tale of science and more of a monster romp, imploring a finale that feels reminiscent of Godzilla being called out to save the rest of us tiny humans from the newest and biggest monster. It feels like Trevorrow and Connolly accepted they would never recreate the magic of the original, so they're aiming to just make the best sequel possible instead. If you're looking for dinosaur mayhem, Jurassic World has plenty and a sense of what makes summer movies work, mixing in the right amount of suspense, humor, and well-crafted payoffs.
There are a few subplots that have to be swallowed or ignored for maximum benefit. The Raptor Force Five subplot is either going to be cool or silly, or both, and will go a long way to determine your overall feelings on Jurassic World. I know this idea has been in the works for several Jurassic sequels, so there doesn't seem like there was ever going to be a movie that did not involve raptors being trained into some kind of combat role. This subplot connects to other points in the film about the nature of control/accepting being out of control, the building of a relationship, and the coordination for corporate interests. There's a reason that the Indominous Rex seems to have special abilities that the handlers were not informed about, and this will be carried over into an assured sequel. For me, I thought the raptor hunting party was more fun than dumb. It had a Disney Wild Adventure feel for it, like we're crossing over into Call of the Wild. I liked making the raptors allies to the humans who could be rallied for the final fight.
I appreciated how thought out the world building was; Jurassic World feels like a living, breathing amusement park in operation. From the Seaworld-like Mosasaurus aquatic shows, to the baby dinosaur petting zoo (I would totally spend hours there), to the celebrity-recorded comedy bits educating riders about safety supervision, to the listless park employee wishing each new rider to have a happy day. During the pterodactyl attack sequence, which is the most frenzied and exciting sequence, the crowds run for cover, including one guy who runs away while still carrying a clearly identified margarita in hand. That's fantastic because it means that the park probably has a cheesy pun-laden menu of adult beverages (Tea Rex?) but it also means that even during an attack, a customer is determined not to lose his, likely, $10 margarita. While the "we can't close the beaches" corporate mentality is somewhat tired as a plot obstacle, it's still entirely fitting in a modern setting. It was the little details that told me that Trevorrow and company really thought the premise through and made their world feel far richer.
One could also look at the social commentary in a fairly cynical manner and find Trevorrow giving in to the summer movie machine. Claire's character explains that after years of operation, the public has grown tired of dinosaurs, and so they have to engineer a new bigger, badder dinosaur just to grab flagging interest. What once was magical has now become accepted and everyday. It's easy to apply this critique on movie audiences themselves; we've become jaded from movie spectacles. What once blew our minds, like the original Jurassic Park, has now become passť. We're constantly looking for the shiniest new toy but will lose interest soon enough. And then there are the fleeting images of people being more involved with their cell phones than the spectacle they paid to see. That's right, annoying moviegoers who are unable to break from their phones for a two-hour window, Jurassic World is making fun of you, and rightfully so. The chief product of this desperation to give the audience what it wants is Indominus Rex, a beast that slashes a rampage through the island. In a sense, Trevorrow is externalizing the audience's demands into the antagonistic monster, and finally just gives in, essentially saying, "This is what you want, right?" I can't tell whether the social commentary holds up well, especially with the end that relies upon a metaphorical power of nostalgia to conquer the manifestation of audience apathy, or if Trevorrow just gives up. Is the concluding monster-on-monster brawl just mass appeal pandering?
I have a major solution to this dangerous park scenario. First, only herbivores allowed. Is any person going to reasonably refuse to go see millions-year-old multi-story extinct creatures because they primarily eat plants? I'm sorry, no way. That right there would solve most problems if the animals inevitably get loose. I would not believe a single person who would refuse to see living dinosaurs just because they lack a T.rex or other predators. That's like Internet cretins refusing Angelina Jolie as a one-night stand because they don't like the way her knees look. Nobody is this picky when awe-inspiring greatness waits. From a legal standpoint, I would also make sure guests sign a waiver before entering the park, thus mitigating any potential lawsuits over being attacked and eaten. How expensive is this park by the way? You have to charter a boat off the coast of Costa Rica, so that sort of price range already eliminates plenty of would-be customers.
I know many millennials who consider Jurassic Park to be their own Star Wars, a film that delighted the imagination and imprinted a love of movies at a young, impressionable time. Movies have never been the same since, especially in the sea change of computer generated effects replacing practical (Oscar-winning Sam Winston is retiring because of our over-reliance on CGI). We all want to experience that sense of awe again, like when we saw the T.rex roar for the first time. Movie moments like that send shivers but they are rare, so it's unfair to compare Jurassic World to Park. However, it's fair game to compare it to the lesser sequels, and that is where World stacks pretty favorably. Its sense of fun above all else, while remaining true to its larger vision of a real park, is a satisfying summer diversion. The dinosaur mayhem is satisfying and occasionally scary. The script does just enough to keep you from wanting to watch the human character get squashed. In the wake of its box-office shattering opening weekend, expect the park to stay open.
Nate's Grade: B