Jurassic World Review and the Idiots that Run It

The original Jurassic Park, which premiered in theaters in 1993, set a new precedent as the defining film in practical camera effects. Not only that, director Steven Spielberg also raised the bar for special and digital effects in his adaptation of the best-selling novel by Michael Crichton. In its opening weekend the film pulled $47 million, and if we were to calculate inflation for today’s market it still would have only racked up $66 million in ticket sales.

Of course, many movie goers at the time knew of Steven Spielberg and his unparalleled cinematic storytelling for a decade or so, but no one had foreseen this blockbuster coming. Not much later after it’s opening weekend, word of this films technical achievements, superb adaptation, let alone, realistic dinosaur puppetry began to spread like a pandemic among movie goers, critics, and the general public. Jurassic Park became a household name. When it was all said and done, the film had made over a billion dollars (which was unheard of at the time), garnished Steven Spielberg on the cover of TIME magazine declaring him as a “genius,” earned three Academy Award nominations & wins, and landed in the top 10’s of movie lists from respected film institutes from around the globe.

"This is the last known photo of Steven Spielberg "© 1997 TIME Magazine

“This is the last known photo of Steven Spielberg” © 1997 TIME Magazine

Even today you can still find references to the film like memes from Jurassic Park, viral (yet, controversial) fake posts on Facebook of Steven Spielberg killing the “last” dinosaur, as well as a remix of Ian Malcom’s laugh, played by Jeff Goldblum, on YouTube. Needless to say, Jurassic Park was a colossal milestone in film history and in pop culture which has resonated with the public across the world. So, did Jurassic World succeed in following its impressionable T-Rex sized footsteps? No. No, it didn’t, because it made its own footsteps in a direction I couldn’t follow.

Maybe you’re asking yourself: “What the hell is this guy’s problem?” “Does he just hate Hollywood?” “Does he hate sequels?” “Can’t he just enjoy a movie?”

First: A lot. Second: No. Third: No. Fourth: Yes.

It’s odd, I know, but I expect flesh & blood characters, a story that makes sense, and a plot based off of the personalities of those characters to influence the direction of the movie.  Unfortunately, we get none of these attributes which would exponentially increase my enjoyment of the film. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the film, because I did, but it seemed to be lacking inspiration. It was obvious that Colin Trevorrow was a fan of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic as he obviously attempted to imitate the original film’s chills and thrills in Jurassic World, but this is where you can tell something is missing, much like Jurassic World’s newest attraction (presented by Verizon Wireless), the Indominus Rex.

Uh, this is the part where you run away, dude. © 2015 Universal Pictures & Amblin Entertainment

“Uh, this is the part where you run away, dude.” © 2015 Universal Pictures & Amblin Entertainment

The film’s main plot is why the film doesn’t gel well. Despite that the film takes place after Jurassic Park, erasing Jurassic Park: Lost World and Jurassic Park III from the original film canon, the main problem remains the same: dinosaurs will escape because they are dinosaurs, especially genetically engineered, 50-foot long, super smart dinosaurs that can camouflage themselves. Yet regardless of the flubs and tragedies of the original Jurassic Park, which happened 22 years ago, billionaire Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), an old friend of the original park’s owner, John Hammond, decides to open Jurassic World on the same Isla Nublar in 2005 after 12 years of the original park being breached by the ravenous cloned dinosaurs. Now 10 years after the opening of Jurassic World, the park is prepared to reveal its Indominus Rex to the public to spike attendance and drive up sales.

Wait, was the Indominus Rex, or I-Rex, created to spike ticket sales in theaters too?!

This is where Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park operations executive of Jurassic World and aunt of the too-curious-two, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) who’ve been sent to stay with their aunt as the parents discuss getting a divorce (which is never resolved), come into the picture. Mr. Simon “I’m-still-earning-my-pilot-license” Masrani then insists that his chief dinosaur operator, Owen (Chris Pratt) should inspect the newest genetically altered attraction while looking handsome as hell doing so. A little backstory is shed on what could have been a wonderfully insightful moment into the two’s past, which is glazed over as Claire retrieves Owen from the other side of the isle to address her boss’s concerns with the I-Rex. It’s only then, when Claire attempts to reveal their new exhibit to Owen, that they discover the Indominus Rex has flown the coop. Somehow the dinosaur can turn off its heat signature thus tricking Owen and human lunchables one & two into the pen where, you guessed it, the dinosaur escapes and goes on an all-too-familiar human-crunching, bloodthirsty rampage, freely running directly towards the tens of thousands of visitors at the center of the park.

The meme worthy pic of Owen calming Blue, Delta, & Charlie

“The meme worthy pic of Owen calming Blue, Delta, & Charlie” © 2015 Universal Pictures & Amblin Entertainment

As this plot begins to unfold, a new subplot slowly begins to unveil itself.  Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), an inGEN (a military manufacturer) contractor harboring ridiculous motives, believes that the velociraptors that Owen has trained are intellectually capable of becoming the next weapons of mass destruction for future wars. Yet, Hoskins, due to his arrogance, seems to epitomize the theme in Jurassic World:  humans are oblivious to forthcoming dangers. The entire park, including everyone from our main characters to secondary characters, and from the visitors to the security personnel, constantly succumb to food chain amnesia, forgetting that they’re directly dealing with carnivorous dinosaurs. It is as if the only requisite to be a character in the new Jurassic World film is being an idiot. And let’s be honest, without intelligent characters to help drive the story and develop the plot, this film is ultimately dismantled and quashed in yet another dull, but gaudy summer blockbuster. The lack of realism here shows what made the first Jurassic Park film so outstanding, and where Jurassic World falls flat.

But, those special, practical, and computer generated effects are absolutely worth seeing. The dinosaurs from the I-Rex, to the Velociraptors, to the Pterodactyls look amazingly realistic. The special effects and computer generation team on Jurassic World needs a shout out because these digital representations of prehistoric Jurassic carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores are credibly accurate, or so one would imagine. A scene early on in the film exhibits yet again how the Velociraptors hunt and move as a pack, giving us the perception that they are living beings, and are on the verge of making sure Owen isn’t. Later, Pterodactyls take to the sky, flocking together as they dive bomb the visitors of Jurassic World, as if it were a flock of murderous crows in a possible homage, reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I dare say that the dinosaurs are the most fleshed out characters in Jurassic World and undoubtedly exhibit the intelligence that the human characters lack.

The last and final point is that this is a sequel, which means that in the canon of the Jurassic Park series, dinosaurs have broken loose before and the operations manager and their employees realized quickly that shotguns, freezer doors, and electrified fences don’t really do a great job of keeping the dinosaurs in check. So, when the first park is known for it’s tragic demise, you’d think that a contingency plan for an incident like the first dinosaur outbreak would have been incredibly though-out, but alas, it wasn’t. For reason they do not explain, they have no real guns to bring down a dinosaur nor do they have a weapon (like a bomb, rocket, or missile) to ultimately destroy it despite it’s $1 trillion dollar genetically altered price tag because if the I-Rex kills the visitors, my guess is, you’ll lose your customer base forever.

"The park was open, but it's closed again. Ya know, cuz of dinosaurs." © 2105 Universal Pictures & Amblin Entertainment

“The park was open, but it closed again. Ya know, cuz of dinosaurs.” © 2015 Universal Pictures & Amblin Entertainment

Regardless of the one-dimensional characters and ludicrous plot, Jurassic World is definitely worth seeing due to Hollywood’s honing of cinema’s most enticing feature: spectacle. This film is definitely worth shelling out the ticket price to see in the theaters because of the realistic dinosaurs, superb computer generated effects, the handsome Chris Pratt, the gorgeous Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jimmy Fallon. Yes, Jimmy Fallon is in it. In the end, this flashy summer blockbuster delivers enough for a movie-goer to have a good time, but as to actually making you think or fall in love with characters, well, those notions are extinct in Jurassic World.

R Fortune’s Rating: 6.5/10
{Go now?} OR {Wait for Blu-Ray?} Go now.


1 Comment

  1. I still remember sitting in my neighbor’s living room, watching what (if memory serves) was Entertainment Tonight, when a preview for Jurassic Park came on. Or, as I called it for the next several months, before the movie came out, “Jurassaic Park.” I was mesmerized by that preview, and absolutely had to see the movie. And see it I did, several times in the regular theater, and then in the dollar theater, which I had plenty of opportunities to do as (I think) it was in theaters over a year. It was the first (and the only) movie I’ve ever pre-ordered, from Blockbuster, no less. Now there’s a dinosaur for you.

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