Jurassic World (2015)

This poster is bullshit, as like any live attraction park, Jurassic World doesn't feed its exhibits live prey in front of the tourists. Well, not on purpose.
This poster is bullshit, as like any live attraction park, Jurassic World doesn’t feed its exhibits live prey in front of the tourists. Well, not on purpose.

“The Park is Open”

Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins

Zach (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins) Mitchell are sent by their parents to visit Jurassic World, the fully functioning dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar, to distract them from their parents’ divorce. Their aunt Claire Dearing (Howard? Dallas Howard?) is the career-oriented manager of Jurassic World, juggling the titanic egos of InGen rep Hoskins (D’Onofrio), CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), chief geneticist Henry Wu (BD Wong), and raptor wrangler Owen Grady (Pratt) and the expectations of sponsors and holiday makers who want bigger and badder thrills.

Enter Indominus Rex.

This thrilling new attraction busts loose using a combination of intelligence, raw power and unexpected donor genetic traits. With the evacuation of the park going slowly and the basic containment teams outmatched, tougher and tougher measures are brought in, until Hoskins takes over and forces Grady to deploy his pack of raptors to hunt Indominus, which… goes about as well as you might expect.

Oh, and these guys are lost in the park. That's new, right? Last time one of them was a girl.
Oh, and these guys are lost in the park. That’s new, right? Last time one of them was a girl.

With many, many dead dinosaurs, tourists and non-Americans (like, all the non-Americans,) Claire and Grady have to find and protect the boys, and face down the Indominus in a final confrontation.

What’s wrong with it?

A big part of Jurassic World‘s premise is that humans quickly grow blase, losing the ability to wonder at the presence of an actual fucking dinosaur not three feet from their face. That being the case, it’s a shame that the film fails to give the audience any sense of wonder to match the original Jurassic Park. Even the Indominus is just another big dinosaur. It doesn’t help that the film forgets its own continuity, such that Wu’s boast that Indominus is ‘bigger than the T rex’ is only really impressive if you’ve forgotten that it’s still kind of smaller than the Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park III.

Two children lost on the park, having been sent there to duck their parents’ divorce. Didn’t we already do this? The film also seemed to be struggling with whether Gray was supposed to be autistic.

Hoskins is just so very, very stupid, and his plan seems to be so convoluted. Introduce new material into the Indominus to promote a breakout and so prove the viability of dinosoldiers, then make little Indomini for military use, and somehow do this without so much loss of life and bad press that InGen goes completely down the economic crapper along with Jurassic World.

The unsocialised Indominus not only being able to communicate with its raptor cousins, but perfectly control them. Dogs and wolves are related, that doesn’t mean wolves will instantly accept a St Bernard.

A lot of moments were sadly predictable. I’d been expecting the final hurrah from pretty much half an hour in.

The eating of the British PA bordered on torture porn.

What’s right with it?

The idea that the Indominus is as malevolent as it is because it was completely isolated from birth is more interesting than just suggesting it is in some sense evil.

Annoying as they can be, the kids at least generate some semblance of wonder. I also quite liked the bit where they prove their chops by repairing a gas jeep.

The raptors actually have some personality, and their relationship with Grady was nicely done.

I'm torn between 'Dances with Raptors' and 'Father of Raptors'.
I’m torn between ‘Dances with Raptors’ and ‘Father of Raptors’.

Bryce Dallas Howard. Remember that strange, fey, fragile-tough girl from The Village? Well, she will kick your fucking arse. Heels or no heels, she looks proper tough and wears that mucky vest like Bruce Willis. Also, got to love a gal who can sprint in heels; put her in flats and she’d probably outpace the raptors. I liked Claire, with her professionalism and her organisation and the fact that she was never made to stand and gape while Grady showed how cool he was, and that overall she saved him much more than he saved her.

We do get to see a raptor riding a T rex into battle.

How bad is it really?

Even a month ago, I would have been way more forgiving of Jurassic World. It’s easily the best Jurassic Park film since the first one, and it makes the motorcycle raptor bros work much better than I could have expected.

But…

There are a lot of franchise revivals coming out this year, and my expectations for them had until recently been ‘maybe as good as the last one, as good as the first if we’re really lucky’. And then came Fury Road, and that’s just ruined me for them. I expect so much more now. I can’t be doing with just a retread if they’re spending this much money on them; I want new and better and interesting.

Jurassic World did good, I’ve just been primed – against my usual approach – to anticipate better.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Raptor riding a T rex into battle.

Also, we now have definitive proof that a raptor is meaner than Daredevil.

What’s up with…?

  • The crappy security set up? I get that they wanted to capture the I rex alive, but what kind of weaksauce non-lethals are they packing? It didn’t even seem to feel them. Surely they need something with serious juice to subdue a rogue diplodocus, let alone an angry T rex. And seriously; if you’re going to call your new dino ‘untamable’, don’t act all surprised when it flips the fuck out
  • British PA? Did she have any purpose other than to be eaten horribly?
  • The pterosaur attack? They clearly interacted harmoniously until the aviary got busted in, and I get that they basically panicked into the helicopter, but why did they then suddenly go apeshit on the tourists? Surely they’d scatter and settle and look for fish and stuff? What instinct drives an animal that primarily glides to go for prey too large for it to lift?
  • The boys instinctive desire to stick with Grady? It’s been pointed out before that as far as they’d seen, Claire was far more badass.
  • As all the dinosaurs are female, does this count as a film riddled with designated girl fights?

Ratings

Production values – I can’t fault the film on these grounds, blending CG and model work without any visible evidence of ragdolling. 0
Dialogue and performances – Workmanlike. The dialogue was not as sparky as that in Jurassic Park and Grady in particular was a little too consciously Han Solo to be actually Han Solo (a shame, as Guardians of the Galaxy showed that Pratt can totally do Han Solo.) 10
Plot and execution – A little rickety. Predicated on a similar premise to Jurassic Park (greedy soul endangers all with a grab for profit,) this plan made less sense overall. It was, however, done well, and the pace was enough that it only really falls down on fridge logic8
Randomness – Really just some head scratching over Hoskins’ endgame and the pterosaur frenzy. 4
Waste of potential – Man, Fury Road. I’m starting to expect things. This could seriously muck up my enjoyment of the summer movies. Jurassic World doesn’t miss by much, but I think it does miss. 6

Overall 28%

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