Saturday, June 13, 2015

'JURASSIC WORLD' REVIEW [SPOILERS] - IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME

I loved the original 'Jurassic Park' film, so I didn't care what the reviews were I was going to see 'Jurassic World' and that was exactly what they were counting on--brand loyalty. *sigh. Unfortunately, you can add 'Jurassic World' to the list of mind numbing, entertaining, idiotic, blockbusters. That said, this movie was so much fun to watch! And perhaps that's enough. It's summertime and this is a popcorn summertime film. I got spoiled with 'Fury Road.' I'm beginning to think that a movie like 'Fury Road' is truly a rarity akin to 'Gravity'--big budget, beautiful, smart and action-filled. I guess I better get used to the idea that most big budget blockbusters will not compare.
After the events of the first three films, in which dinosaurs routinely escape from this park, seemingly "sane" people still want to visit a park filled with genetically engineered dinosaurs. However, to be fair, I could actually see people doing this. Since when has this world been sane? "If you build it they will come." So this part is quite believable. People want to be entertained. That's why I go to the movies-- to be entertained. Seeing 'Jurassic Park' as a working theme park (and not simply some island dinosaurs wander around in) is the most enjoyable aspect of the film. Because of this change, 'Jurassic World' is a vast improvement over its two previous sequels. I only wish the story focused more on the theme park. If 'Jurassic World' has a flaw, it's that it descends too quickly into a creature feature. The buildup and the anticipation was what made the original 'Jurassic Park' different from its sequels.
So once you accept that people will do anything to be entertained, then you have to get past the premise that a "sane" person would rebuild Jurassic Park, but then again, see my point above. Now go even further down the rabbit hole because regular dinosaurs aren't enough. Jurassic World's board of directors and it's adventurous owner, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) decide that the park needs a new exhibit to draw in more attendees. Dinosaurs are becoming "old hat" now that small children can ride baby triceratops like go carts and families can paddle boat downstream while watching a brontosaurus graze. To be fair, I could actually picture someone coming up with a baby triceratop's ride.
So in order to up the ante and increase attendance the board gives Dr. Henry Wu's (B.D. Wong) carte blanche to create an "extra extra genetically" modified dinosaur. What a great idea right? It's not like these dinosaurs ever escape right? So why not make them even more dangerous? How did they even get insurance on this place? Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the park director and is clearly the "John Hammond" character of 'Jurassic World.' Thankfully Claire is far more resourceful and much more mobile than John was.
Let's not even talk about the truly crazy people, like the parents who let their children go to Jurassic World unattended in the "care" of their aunt Claire. No one seems to have an issue with children exploring Jurassic World by themselves. It's not like anything will happen to them. This movie is PG-13. This ain't 'Game of Thrones' y'all. Even though Claire hasn't seen her nephews for seven years, it doesn't occur to their parents that Claire may not be the best chaperon. Claire is much too busy with the park to spend time with her nephews. Instead she pawns them off on her poor assistant (Katie McGrath).
Seriously this is 2015, yet the "bitter childless career woman" stereotype is still in vogue. If only she got married and had some babies, she'd be so much happier. This gives the writers the opportunity to introduce some sexual tension between Claire and Owen (Chris Pratt). Owen is a former military man turned dinosaur trainer. Amazingly he can train the velociraptors not to eat a squealing pig... you know why because of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
The velocirprator has always held a special place in the heart of the 'Jurassic Park' films. So it's no surprise that they are heavily featured in this film. It's alluded to that an unscrupulous defense contractor has been hired to handle Jurassic World's security, although it's never revealed who is actually pulling the strings. This is another aspect of the film that could have been clarified. Instead of a clear explanation, we get Vic Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio) as the mandatory "greedy corporate suit." Hoskins is crazier than any of the attendees or the board of directors because he wants to create an army of velociraptors to kill people because unlike drones, velociraptors are way more easy to control. Uh-huh.
It goes without saying that things go wrong...or else there wouldn't be a movie. The new big bad dino escapes its enclosure and wreaks havoc on the park, all the while Claire's nephews decide to ditch their chaperon and go off road. There are quite a few nice homages to the first film, as well as the casting of original 'Jurassic Park' alum B.D. Wong, in an expanded role (which could have used additional expanding).

As a last resort (and once everyone else is dead), Hoskins gets his wish to release the velociraptors like one would during a fox hunt. Of course things go swimmingly... The film ends with what appears to be a velociraptor fist bump. I was fine up until this point. The ending was just so over the top that it kinda detracted from the rest of the film. At some point the last scene looked like an episode of 'Dinosaur Fight Club."
Another complaint I have with 'Jurassic World' was the lack of character development. Director Colin Trevorrow was clearly trying to emulate Steven Spielberg, but Trevorrow is no Spielberg or even a J.J. Abrams, especially when it comes to character development. As a director Spielberg had the amazing ability to allow even the background characters an opportunity to shine, no such shining takes place in 'Jurassic World.' There is some interesting dialogue about what the shake and bake monster is made of and how it has been socialized, but like most of the film, it's not fleshed out enough. I would have liked to have learned more about the science than a forced romance between Pratt's and Howard's characters.
Similar to the first film, 'Jurassic World' is chock full of metaphors about consumerism, the ethical treatment of these animals, mad science, and the world gone crazy, but unfortunately, the film is too bogged down with cliches and stereotypes to be as compelling as the first film, but then again, sequels rarely are. Sequels (especially long awaited sequels) should add something new, fresh, or exciting to the storyline. 'Jurassic World' succeeds in bringing a sense of fun and a new take on the 'Jurassic' franchise. Despite the problems, it is still enjoyable summer fun.

THREE - 1/2 OUT OF FIVE STARS

16 comments:

  1. Really great review! You're absolutely right that this film is all about brand loyalty, and I was very loyal seeing it's midnight premiere. But, I hated it. Entertaining? Absolutely. Will I fondly remember this as a classic years from now? Absolutely not. :(

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    1. Ha, yes. that's what I thought! I would have seen it no matter what....It was very fun to watch, but it's not a classic.

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  2. Great review! This movie was fun, and I was hoping it'll hold up to the original. I was disappointed on that end.

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    1. It was a disappointment compared to the original, but overall it was a lot of fun to watch. I had a good time watching this movie. It made me feel like a kid again. I was a teenager when the original came out. I remember seeing it in the theater.

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  3. Just checking in - still on vacation, but your review caught my eye. Mine goes up tomorrow.
    I had so many issues with it. Need to add a lack of character development to my review as well. It was better than three, but I still liked The Lost World more than this one. (Why does everyone hate on that movie so much?)
    You're right - Fury Road has spoiled us.

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    1. Happy Vacation Alex! Thanks for stopping by. Character development was a big flaw in this film. I actually don't think that Lost World is that bad. It was a flawed film, but so is this one. I just really like the idea of the fully functional theme park. That's what I loved about the original Jurassic Park.

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  4. The magic that was Jurassic Park, was we got introduced to a dinosaur and it was truly amazing... for me the "wow" factor was there... the sequels gave us the "well we get it they are dinosaurs, impress me again". Just like the Matrix techno-bump [everyone used the style in their films]... same with Jurassic World, we have seen it... before, impress me again. I am thinking I want to see it, but don't want to pay for it... not that it's not going to be good or great.... like you said "MAD MAX" built on impressing us... and now we know it can be done... so Hollywood do it.

    Jeremy

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    1. So true Jeremy! So true. I agree with you 100%. I remember seeing the original film as a teenager and it was beyond amazing. Jurassic World was fun simply b/c of the nostalgia of being a kid again. It could have been so much better. 'Fury Road' set the bar high this year.

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  5. The thing this movie played on is the same thing the original did. If you could get to see real live dinosaurs would you go? I would although it would be insanely dangerous I think about the number of people who ride incredibly dangerous roller coasters for the thrill. Maybe the idea of getting close to a T-Rex drives them. Personally, I would totally go even though it's stupid. My wife pointed out there were very few Black people in the crowds. LOL

    I'll have a review Friday but I love your take on the movie.

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    1. Ha, you know...you're wife may be on to something. I know I wouldn't be going to Jurassic World! I will look forward to your review!

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  6. OMG!!! Dying at the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. comment. I literally leaned over and whispered to my wife during the scene where Pratt enters the raptor cage, "that's respect right there". BAH!

    And I love that you mention the dumb ass parents letting their kids go without a proper guardian to watch over them. Like...WTF! And that throwaway divorce sub-plot. It was like they forgot all about it halfway through.

    But...like you, I at least enjoyed this for what it was.

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    1. Ha, yes. I bet it would have been fun to watch this movie with you!

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  7. Excellent review! The childless career woman thing drove me nuts, and that scene where she stares at him after seeing children reunited with their parents, ugh. I, too wondered wtf those kids were doing thete by themselves (and what theme park lets a 16 year opporate a vehicle by themself?)

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    1. Thanks Brittani! Yes, I was a little irritated that Bryce's role wasn't better for her. She deserved a better script. There were a lot of things that made no sense!

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  8. Another great review. I was with you in believing that I would have loved this even if all they shown was dinosaurs taking a poop. I am glad they had that poor assistant be punished for not looking after the bosses kids. They could have been put in danger. It's too bad that this one couldn't have that same sense of wonder as the first film. We have seen it all in those 14 years between then and now. Even spoiled by Fury Road, this was a fun watch. Can't get enough of those velociraptors.

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    1. Thanks Calvin! Yeah, that poor assistant. That death scene seemed to go on and on. Ha, yes...those kids could have been in danger right! ;)

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