By Joseph De Paul
Welcome to Jurassic World
The magic is gone so let’s eat some people!
It’s been 22 years since, as a boy, I watched animals that up until that point, I had only seen as bones or cartoons damn well near come alive and at the same time bewilder scare the crap out of me. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park could be seen as the perfect Blockbuster. It still holds up over 20 years later. After The Lost World (underrated I think) and Jurassic Park 3 (let’s not talk about it) the public’s cultural conciseness had basically put the franchise to bed, really only to living on in comic books and video games. But, it’s the 21st century, and we’ll try anything….four times.
So we get Jurassic World, a movie I’m sure no one was really asking for, but it’s here so let’s make the most of it. Once I heard that this was actually going to happen I instantly went in to self preservation mode and prepared myself for a total suck fest. As trailers for the movie started to come out I knew the only way I was going to like this film was if a ton of people got eaten by passable CGI Dinosaurs. That’s all I wanted and Jurassic World pretty much delivers.
All the wonder, suspense, and science have been boiled away from the franchise since the open credits of The Lost World and there is no attempt to bring it back here. Jurassic World is pretty much the new direct sequel to Jurassic Park. But now the Park is open and thriving so it’s different, right? Not really. There are some new Dinosaurs, new attritions, new characters but it is same old mayhem.
Personally I feel the well has been tapped. The themes and messages from the first book and movie have already been explored and settled. Yes, it’s kind of a really bad idea for humans to play god to bring back animals that have been gone for 65 million years. Got IT! Jurassic World’s only addition to this is: “Well if you think that is bad, making all new Dinosaurs is worst!”
Yeah. We could have told you that.
“Oh and corporations and war and science run amok”
Sure, but attempts to keep up the anti-corporation theme ring laughable hollow thanks to all the shameless product placement.
“We got people eating!”
Jurassic World brings us a brand new cast of characters. Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire is kind of a throwback to the original Book’s version of John Hammond. Corporate, always in control or at least trying to feel like it, really not interested in the science or the animals and is all about making money for the park. You’re left wondering what her stake is in all this (she must stock options) since her Boss, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Kahn) is much more in the mold of the first film’s John Hammond but even more oblivious and naïve about what goes on in his park. Chris Pratt’s Owen is your cool, ex navy, dude-bro with a way with animals. He has been brought in the train the Raptors, because when I think navy guys, I think animal trainers. Maybe he worked with the mine sweeping dolphins and seals, but it wasn’t made clear.
As an aside, I was cool with the trained raptors aspect of the film. Humans have trained all kinds of animals of the millennia including modern raptors, that is, Birds of Prey.
Howard and Pratt have ZERO chemistry on screen and notable partake in the most awkward onscreen kiss since Mark Rufollo and what’s her name kissed in the awful Now You See Me.
The new sub-plot to the franchise is the idea that these animals could be weaponized. In enters the one track minded Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) and the only holdover from the first film, Dr. Henry Wu (who oddly enough didn’t survive the novel and is again played by B.D. Wong). Dr. Wu has gone from a young idealistic scientist to a warped Dr. Frankenstein like lost soul.
Oh and there are kids in the movie. Again.
Dr. Wu’s monster, the Indominus Rex is the real star of the movie as she should be. She was designed by Wu under pressure from Claire and Masrani to “Up the wow factor”. The characters think the science based Dinosaurs can no longer carry the public’s interest in the park, and ironically the film makers seem to think the same about their movie. What Wu has really done is design a living prototype super weapon for Hoskins. Built on a T-Rex chasse, Indominus can camouflage, drop her body heat, talk to other dinosaurs, has long arms, thumbs and can scheme! I was waiting for a Monsanto-saurus Rex joke but it never came.
The movie doesn’t pick up until the I-Rex gets loose and then it’s autopilot from there on out. The action set pieces are frequent and good eye candy with the proper amount of people munching to keep me giggling. And that’s really why the movie is worth seeing and is mostly enjoyable. The final battle was a bit of a letdown but really, but I wasn’t excepting much.
Jurassic World is just your standard (soft) PG-13 auction flick that is really trying to co-op the legacy from the first film. Fans should just try to not think too much and just enjoy the people eating. The movie tries to pay respect to the first film with frequent Easter Eggs but just come off as saying “Hey remember that film, from ‘93, yeah the one we all love and endures even today? ……This ain’t it”
As far as a movie 2/5 Death stars
Where people eating is concerned 3/5 Lawyers on a toilet
– by Joseph De Paul