Jurassic World Review

Turns out there’s NOT always a bigger fish

The park is open. Blaring the magnificence of composer John Williams’ Jurassic Park theme, the sights begin dropping in droves. There’s Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in the corner. A licensed gift shop to the left. Corporately named restaurants following up the street. Coupled with the identifiable theme, Jurassic World seems to be celebrating itself. How odd.

That is corporate culture though. Bloated, self-indulgent. “Look what we made with our money.” Jurassic Park is like that. Here’s a CG dinosaur eating someone. We made that. Here’s another. Made that one too. Cost a ton, spared no expense. It’s a rally of reptile feasting and human bloodshed. In short, two full hours of extinct, digitally formed creatures munching on an island of tourists, including those who wish to save their $20 booze while being dive bombed by Pteranodons.

All of the majesty is gone. John Williams’ work is no longer igniting the passion of seeing “live” dinosaurs. It’s only doing it for product placements for corporate tie-ins. How self-aware this movie can be.

jurassicworld2

Jurassic World is dinographic – dino porn – twisting and perverting the once purposeful, well-meaning fear mongering over genetics for something resembling a SyFy Channel special, much like Jurassic Park III. Genetics here are but a catalyst. They barely matter.

Characters fall into place because the film needs them too. Jurassic World needs two kids lost in a forest being trampled by the new Indominus Rex for tension and spectacle. It needs Chris Pratt’s ex-Navy vet training Velociraptors because Raptors. Bryce Dallas Howard? The corporate/socially aware convert. And Vincent D’Onforio because implausibly naive corporate go-getters are always crowd pleasers, no development needed.

Jurassic Park always carried a body count. Never has it featured one to this extreme.

Besides, most of these people are targets anyway. Carry a gun in this movie and chances are high you’ll be eaten. Actually, the guns are not even necessary. Jurassic Park always carried a body count. Never has it featured one to this extreme. The Terminator killed fewer people.

There are plenty of little things to consider. The dinosaurs talk. Not English, but they communicate. Jurassic Park III established the plausibility (and Pratt’s dino training exercises to some extent) although Jurassic World extends this to cross-species bickering. This is a lightly funny blockbuster (they all are, mostly), but seeing a T-Rex and a Raptor make good on their 22-year feud after the original is camp gold. $150 million of camp.

jurassicworld3

Through it all though, Jurassic World gives viewers everything. Dinosaurs are shot at with rocket launchers. Special ops teams chase the creatures down. Helicopters bombard cinema’s latest genetic freak. Carnivores and herbivores face-off in wild, pointlessly exploitative action scenes. (There’s a slew of those) Even carnivores and carnivores brawl, because what could be more spectacular? The entire finale would make Godzilla wince at the destruction. This is utterly, totally a monster movie now. Not sci-fi. Not a parable over cloning principles or God complexes. Morals have long since been sold and marketed, slapped onto a plastic lunchbox.

People bored of dinosaurs, so they stopped making Jurassic Park movies. This entire film is a response to Jurassic Park III’s box office. So self-aware, this movie is. Jurassic World is Jaws 3, but bigger. Better too. That clarification is probably important.

This entire film is a response to Jurassic Park III’s box office.

And the nostalgia… if anyone has forgotten Jurassic Park released an unbelievable 22 years ago, Jurassic World will act as a reminder. Kids wander through recreated sets where the red and yellow JP logos are permanent fixtures while piano keys softly type out the theme. Entire scenes are revisited, touched too. They drive the iconic jeeps and helicopters fly onto the island from a familiar coastline. This is all building to that raucous finish which is so egregiously coated in nostalgic fan service, it should be embarrassed with itself. But just go along with it. The moment to come is shamelessly worth it and so is every bit of Jurassic World in the end.

All of the tropes (a waterfall leap), instances of plot predictability (yes, the new dinosaur escapes), and brainless character arcs (the villain killed by his own plan) cannot crunch the sheer splendor of witnessing the blood-soaked enjoyability. Gone is the awe and the wonder, but that was lost forever ago during the 334th viewing of the original. Jurassic World could never get that back. So off it goes, full on, without any apologies. Be stupid. Be gloriously stupid Jurassic World and the people will keep coming back.

Movie ★★★★☆ 

[display_rating_form]
[display_rating_result]