Jurassic World Review

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Okay I’ve been a week late on this review, partly because of exciting going-ons in my own life and partly because I didn’t know whether I hated or liked the new Jurassic Park movie. On one hand, it’s got great action sequences and Chris Pratt is charming as ever, but on the other hand, every character in this film is a bloody idiot who perform idiotic acts. I think I came up with a verdict, but I’m going to need to go into spoilers (not that it matters this point, the film is going to be the fastest film to make a billion dollars) so let’s dig in…

So after two decades, someone managed to get a fully functional dinosaur park up and running for years now and it seems to be doing great. Of course, people always want MORE, they want them BIGGER, LOUDER, DEEPER, THAT’S WHAT SHE SA…I mean, MEANER. So naturally, some world class intellect thought about splicing dinosaur DNA together to make such a creature, the Indominus Rex . To ensure the monster can be contained, the park’s manager, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), hires someone with experience to get his take. That someone is Owen (Chris Pratt), ex-Marine, nature lover, gun master, velociraptor trainer, and greatest-guy-in-universe. He takes a look at the Indominus’ cell and thinks everything’s okay and signs off and…oh wait, no of course the freak of nature busts loose and starts rampaging across Jurassic World.

This has all the ear markings of an “idiot plot.” That is to say, major events in the story occur due to the idiocy of certain characters. The new monster, the iRex (very subtle, movie), busts out of containment only due to a park officer leaving his gate wide open rather than tiny door they entered into his pen in the first place. The CEO of the park takes it upon himself to kill the iRex, so he pilots a helicopter with a machine gun mounted to it…a week after passing his pilot license, and apparently there were NO other pilots available on the island for which they had a containment plan for this EXACT situation. And naturally, because this is Jurassic Park movie, kids get in danger, mostly because of their idiocy.

I’ve never liked the kids in any of these films, but I forgave them in the first movie due to their relationship with the park owner and one of them had a degree of survival instinct, while both demonstrated actual characters. The two boys in Jurassic World have fuck all personality and merely serve to up the stakes…in a movie where there are thousands of people in danger of getting eaten by a rampaging monster. Also not helping is that the movie TRIES to give them some depth by dealing with the fact their parents are getting a divorce, but that plot point comes and goes NOWHERE. Quick tip, if you’re going to talk about a character’s back story, make it relevant to the current action on hand, otherwise it’s completely useless….much like these kids.

The little one in particular was so annoying that I was hoping he was going to get eaten. And I’m not saying that because I’m psychotic and I like watching characters die (well, not JUST because of that anyway). Death in a film is supposed to up the stakes or present a danger to the survivors to overcome, or hamper the protagonists in some way. The movie has tons of needless deaths to characters who simply exist to die.

One in particular dies pretty horribly. A caretaker hired by Bryce Dallas Howard gets picked up by a Pterodactyl and for a full minute gets drowned into a lake by said dinosaur as she screams in agony only to be silenced when she and the Pterodactyl get eaten by a large sea dinosaur. Now normally you reserve a death like that for a terrible character; like the guy in the first movie who ran into the outhouse abandoning the kids, only to be eaten by the T-Rex. This lady did nothing, said nothing, and no one even shed a tear for her demise. It was gruesome for its own sake and without any purpose in the story.

Speaking of which, the velociraptors trained by Chris Pratt only come in late to the story leading to a particularly stupid chain of events the leaves dozens of people dead including an antagonistic figure (played by Vincent D’Onofrio). Said antagonistic figure also ties into a sub-subplot that doesn’t figure into the actual movie except to set up a Jurassic World sequel dealing with the militarization of dinosaurs (because that worked SO well in the Aliens franchise).

I’ve done a lot of ragging on this movie but that’s because I’m hard pressed to find anything good to talk about besides the visual effects and Chris Pratt, both basically save the movie from medicority. And even then, Chris Pratt is TOO unbelievable as a character. As in, he has tons of character qualities that are opposite to each other: he has a relationship with the velociraptors, but deems himself the “Alpha” of their pack, he immediately jumps to executing the iRex sight unseen despite criticizing D’Onofrio’s character of using the velociraptors as weapons sight unseen, and he seems as a practical kind of guy despite dragging Howard’s character through the dense jungle in heels (that’s a separate idiot move).

I’ll give credit to Pratt that he’s still charming as ever even when the script is giving him nothing to work with. And he leads the cast of idiots as being the only sensible person in the entire damn film. Even his behavior in the climax remained in character at least.

The climax in particular is the real star of this movie as it elevates the film from the meandering mess it has been to a fun dinosaur throw down. It’s entertaining to see and helped finish the film on a high note, I just wished the preceding hour and a half were as entertaining and as goofy as the last 30 minutes.

I don’t EVER want to hear people talk smack about me liking the Fast and Furious movies after this movie. I’ve long defended the series as being big, dumb fun and I’ll be damned if I didn’t see the exact SAME thing last week. But whereas Fast and Furious have charm with a funny cast of characters who are aware of how silly the situations they find themselves in, Jurassic World takes itself TOO seriously at times.

The film jumps in tone from scene to scene from being hard science fiction to brutal killings to slapstick to brutal killings again and ending with a loud, dumb and exciting climax. If the film kept a silly tone throughout the film, I would have likely dug it as much as I love the Fast and Furious movies. As it stands, there’s a fun movie to be found in tangle mess of halfbaked ideas, sequel setting plot points, and unnecessary cruel violence.

I kept going between a High Rental and a low Full Price, but I’m going with a low…

MATINEE.

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