Jurassic World: A Film Review by a Blind Dinosaur
On June 11, 1993 the world received a gift in the form of a movie called Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg based off a novel written by Michael Crichton. It currently has a 93% on the TomatoMeter, an 8.1 on IMDB, and is considered to be a classic in contemporary American cinema by many (no citation). Studios attempted a sequel in 1997, a threequel in 2001, and now in 2015 director Colin Trevorrow has given us the next follow-up in the series: Jurassic World. Does it measure up to the original? At least, does it improve upon the much maligned sequels? Find out in my review of the film below.
After 20+ years since the opening of the original park, audiences have become immune to the *regular* dinosaurs of old; who cares about a Tyrannosaurs Rex when we can see it in movies and in video games? Here’s the park’s answer: genetically modify a NEW, hybrid breed of dinosaur (at the request of an InGen higher-up) to provide more thrills to the younger, cellphone-carrying crowd. In this universe Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong, replaying his role from the original film) has bred the Indominus Rex, who has a couple of super-powers like the ability to camouflage from… infrared detectors. Meanwhile the security team at Jurassic World, including velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), may have a secret agenda up their sleeves involving the dinosaurs.
(The attractive male protagonist, Owen.)
It just wouldn’t be a true American film without a pretty, female protagonist who serves as a love interest, right? Let me introduce Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard): the pretty, female protagonist who serves as a love interest to Owen… and also parks operations manager. They’re not compatible right away, of course, as we find out that they had dated once in the past and it didn’t go too well. So now somehow she finds a way to resist his good looks and gritty charm; but that could potentially change throughout the course of the film! Claire is initially tasked with taking care of her two nephews (about whom we really don’t care that much) but she’s so wrapped up in her job that she lets the kids roam the park alone. This fact is important because things are going to go awry. It’s a Jurassic Park film.
(The attractive female protagonist, Claire.)
And go awry, they do. The Indominus Rex finds a way to escape its paddock (enhanced intelligence remember), scrapes off its own GPS-tracking device, and wreaks havoc on both visitors and other dinosaurs in the park. Head of security Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) shows more concern with training dinosaurs to become weapons for the U.S. government than saving lives. Claire’s nephews manage to escape the park’s lock-down procedures and find themselves in great danger, escaping attack after attack. Other dinosaurs in the park, such as the Pterodactyls, are panicking for their own survival and therefore chomping on visitors. Owen takes control of security and utilizes his trained velociraptors to help take the Indominus Rex down; and Claire over goes a major character change from corporate stuffed shirt to badass heroine.
(Vic’s shirt is too tight in the film.)
So at some point we should care about the main characters, right? I’m sorry to inform you that this point never occurs in the film and you’re just left admiring how dimmadarn beautiful Chris Pratt and Bryce-Dallas Howard are. There’s not enough screen-time, backstory, or likable attributes to make any of the characters important. Take for instance Claire’s nephews Zack and Grey: the movie gives them some dialogue in attempt to give them weight as threats, but they just come off as annoying. We sympathize with the younger kid but his older brother you just want to become dinosaur dinner. This isn’t like Timothy and Lex (from the first film) with whom we had spent much time and excellent dialogue to become accustomed.
Whereas in the original 1993 film, scenes like the T-Rex attack upon the jeeps and the velociraptor invasion of the kitchen, Jurassic World doesn’t have a single moment of tension contained within. I never felt a moment of intensity during the entire two-hour runtime, a feeling only exacerbated by not caring about any of the characters. A summer blockbuster can be enjoyed on a purely superficial level — a feeling I was ready to attach to Jurassic World — but audiences need to be scared, need to feel the emotional response of danger to their favorite characters. Colin Trevorrow hasn’t made a terrible film, just one in which we (the viewer) have little to no emotional investment. Let’s add the fact that the dialogue is beyond bad, even cringe-worthy, which adds insult to injury considering the original Jurassic Park was a GOLDMINE of excellent, quotable lines.
Jurassic World never touches the greatness of the original. Sure it does a better job than its two sequels; but is that really saying much? Bad dialogue, lack of tension, predictability, no Jeff Golblum, and cardboard cut-out characters plague this movie from start to finish. Having said that, there ARE a few redeeming qualities: no dinosaur attack on the mainland (grrr, Lost World), no dinosaur-fossil-turned-whistle (Jurassic Park III, plz), and a completely awesome visit from a popular character from the first film (a surprise that you’ll find during the film’s climactic battle). The pros do not outweigh the cons, therefore I give Jurassic World: