JurassicWorldGate

There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

Have you ever been to a movie where you go “okay this is really ridiculous but it’s reached the level of ridiculous that has made it a freaking delight?” It’s sort of the so bad it’s good aspect, although I wouldn’t say Jurassic World is bad, necessarily. It’s just that it hits a certain point in the film where it is so ridiculous that you have to laugh and embrace the silliness and enjoy yourself. And that’s exactly what I did. I’m a big fan of Jurassic Park, enough that I saw both sequels. So when this trailer hit, I had low expectations: just be better than Jurassic Park 3! It was a success that way. I think people wanted to see a good solid popcorn flick this summer, and that’s why Jurassic World did so well, even outside of the natural nostalgia of the original movie. And when the music swelled over the park, I found myself grinning.  Was it a great movie? Nooooo, but I don’t think it needed to be, and I’ll get to why later.

It’s twenty-two years after Jurassic Park and the park was actually built on the island. Of course this is absolutely ridiculous considering the disaster that happened there, but look at how shiny the buildings are and the attractions. Funny enough, humans get bored easily, and that means they’re not as full of wonder as they used to be about dinosaurs. Now anyone can come to the park and see it for themselves, and it’s more of a zoo than anything else. In order to keep things interesting, the scientists have come up with a brand new dinosaur called the Indominus rex. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the park’s operation manager, and she is a classic caricature of the uptight business woman who cares more about work than her personal life. And she should feel bad because she doesn’t drop everything to take care of her nephews Zach and Gray who her sister shipped to her while their parents get divorced. Yeah we’ll get to that later. Claire and the scientists fall under the Ian Malcolm complaining of just wanting to see if they could do something, not questioning whether they should. Making a super intelligent dangerous dinosaur hybrid really should have been a giant warning sign. I guess if this movie had taken place fifty years after the first one I would have understood more, plenty of time to forget the disaster of before, but twenty years isn’t that long. All you have to be is moderately genre savvy, people.

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The other main character is Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) who trains raptors. I’m not ultimately sure what made them go “you know what, we should train raptors and tame them!” but this is what he does. He is their alpha, and the military’s coming in trying to convince him to help them make the raptors into weapons. This is hilariously silly. Why would they think these creatures are good options for soldiers? They can get killed easily by man made weapons. They’re not easy to tame. Surely drones are the better idea for not putting soldiers into battle, rather than raptors. Anyway Owen’s like lol what no, but this is our villain played by Vincent D’Onofrio so obviously we have to put up with his nonsense. Naturally the new dinosaur is too smart because he’s been blended with too many great dinosaurs, and he tricks them into thinking he’s out of the cage. So they accidentally let him out. Indominus can change his body temperature and also camouflage himself. This is really more of a monster movie than a dinosaur movie, which is probably the smarter way to go since we – like the people in the park – have seen plenty of dinosaurs at this point.

Since everything’s going wrong, they aren’t smart enough to try and move citizens off the island sooner. The kids get stuck outside because they’re idiots who don’t listen to warnings, and Claire and Owen have to go after them. Indominus breaks the flying dinosaur cage so they all attack the normal people. That’s definitely the best scene in the movie, in my opinion. It was different and genuinely freaky to see them just pick people off the ground. It felt like what would actually happen if they were let loose with a bunch of innocent civilians on foot. I kept thinking we were going to go back to the civilians nearly dying, but we never see them again, which is a shame. Anyway Owen and his raptors are convinced to go after the Indominus, but lol what are these little raptors going to do against that giant monster come on. Anyway the Indominus is part raptor, which of course it is, and also how was this a surprise? It clearly looked like a big raptor. The eyes were even the exact same and they zoomed in on them. He convinces the raptors to attack the humans, but then in a showdown Owen gains control over his raptors again and they turn on Indominus. They would get their  little tails eaten if Claire didn’t manage to bring in the T-Rex to really get a battle going. There was a moment in that scene where one of the raptors is literally riding on top of the T-Rex as they team up against the Indominus. The raptor. Is riding. The T-Rex. Do you understand how silly that is? Do you understand how fantastic that is? It had me laughing and clapping all the way through.

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So what’s the verdict? Well Jurassic World is fun. It’s not rocket science. It doesn’t have meaning the way the first one did. Jurassic Park wasn’t exactly revolutionary in terms of “hey don’t mess with science you idiots” as a concept. But it was a theme that landed well with the audience on top of the horror aspect and excellent special effects. The one big down side to this movie is the CGI/special effects are not very good. The one from twenty years ago looked better, which is a problem. The park itself looked very clean and interesting, I liked the designs, and the concept art was definitely great. But it felt very disingenuous and tacky in appearance. They clearly relied on too much CGI, and the original was fairly good about mixing special effects. I did hear that people thought Claire was just your stereotypical business woman who had no time for family, and yes, she did appear to be that way at first. But I also think she had some fantastic scenes. She arguably had the only real character arc in the film: she changed from the start to the finish. Owen certainly was the same guy at the end of the day, proven right all along. But she outran a damn T-Rex (in heels!) and saved the day. I have to give respect to that. They could have written her and Owen better, they did come off pretty basic, but they were charismatic enough to get by. I mean how much more interesting were Alan and Ellie in the first one, be honest? We just didn’t have an Ian Malcolm in this one. We did have B. D. Wong’s character who is now apparently evil and only cares about money? Well he got away, so there is probably a sequel coming.

The movie is pure entertainment. It does require you to suspend your disbelief, but that’s fairly easy to ask for a movie with dinosaurs. I feel like the movie lacked a certain amount of wonder I missed. The first one we were all awed because the characters were awed by what they were seeing. Because the film hinges on the idea that people are bored of dinosaurs and no longer impressed, I don’t feel like they sold the wonder to the audience. We were supposed to be disenchanted too, but I’m not, give me more dinosaurs, so that was lackluster to me. I did think it was unfortunate they spent so much time with the Indominus in the jungle, because we’ve seen that before. They’re hunting it but it’s really hunting them, there’s dark shadows and everything. It was what we were used to in these movies and in other monster movies. The fight at the end and the fight with the flying dinosaurs stood out I think because of where it took place. That was interesting. I think they could have made better use of the actual setting. I really was fascinated by the park itself and what glimpses we had of it. Having the raptors be creatures you actually cared for was a nice touch, since we grew to be terrified of them in the first film. That part actually worked for me, and I liked the little unit they made. Even as silly as the last fight was, it was wonderful to watch. You just need to shut your brain down. I came out of it smiling and entertained, and I think that’s all the movie was going for.

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