Jurassic World Thoughts
Jurassic Park is a film that’s captivated the hearts of countless people. Even with its flaws it’s considered to be one of the greatest films ever made and I agree with that statement. The sequels haven’t lived up to its greatness and that’s inevitable but they have been really lackluster on their own. I enjoy The Lost World and have a defense piece which can be read here but Jurassic Park 3 is a travesty. It has some good moments and good ideas but it’s decision making & direction is pure shit. Audiences have been clamoring for a fourth movie since then. It’s been 14 years and it was looking like the franchise was going to end on a sour note but alas Jurassic World has been finally released. Jurassic World invigorates the franchise but sadly the movie isn’t withouts its flaws.
After seeing the movie, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I’ll be clear I didn’t expect it to be good as part one. One of the strongest points of the Jurassic Park franchise were its strong characters. Monster movies always fail because the humans themselves aren’t interesting but Jurassic Park always had some good characters. Ian Malcolm & Alan Grant are 2 brilliant heroes in film history. Roland in The Lost World was an interesting addition. The characters in Jurassic World are action archtypes. Chris Pratt’s Owen is the ultimate alpha male. Handsome, funny, charming, intelligent, fearless and heroic. He’s way too perfect and it feels too fake. It’s a dated action movie cliche that the modern world has moved past. Compare to the layered Alan Grant & Ian Malcolm, it fails in comparison. Owen is still a cool character because he does cool stuff and Chris Pratt is a very likable & talented guy. I’m glad that he was casted to be Owen. He deserves all the success he’s getting now. Hollywood has been having a villain problem lately in their blockbusters and Jurassic World has that problem to an extent. The first 2 Jurassic Parks had really terrible human beings as their bad guys but they were developed. They had their motivations and reasoning for what they wanted to do. Newman (Seinfeld ref.) was a disgruntled employee who felt under appreciated and wanted to do the same work for more money & respect. We even get a tidbit that his bad decision making put him in debt. It made sense and Hammond’s nephew was a metaphor for greedy businessmen exploiting resources so they can be a success. He was essentially the evil version of Hammond. Hoskins played by the great Vincent D'Onofrio, is essentially a moron. He pops out of nowhere and his motivations are flat out idiotic. To make matters worse no one knows who this guy is and he’s just floating around the island talking about war. What the hell?
The supporting characters also tend to suffer from the one dimensional problem. We hardly get to know them and when they’re in peril, I don’t know if I”m supposed to feel anything. The movie ups the death count but it’s mostly extras so it really doesn’t hold any weight. I’ll admit some of the deaths are very vicious. Owen’s partner whose name I still don’t remember is a very pointless character. All he does is deliver raptor warnings and does nothing important. His character disappears for vast periods and then pops up and we’re like “oh that guy is in this movie.” Masrani is interesting successor to Hammond but his arc just left me bewildered. He has this fascination of being a helicopter pilot and I feel there was a lot to him that we didn’t get to find out. The female lead Claire who could be argued as the protagonist of the story is the only one with a fleshed out arc but her character is such a caricature it’s frustrating. The uptight bossy woman who’s too obsessed with her work to worry about anything. It’s such a bland cliche but at least she had a bit more to her with a story arc. I would say she was the only character but the returning Dr. Henry Wu has a lot more to do this time around and his story is very interesting. I won’t go into depth for spoilers sake. I did think the whole Owen & velociraptor story was fascinating. The one character I did love was Lowery played by the hilarious Jake Johnson. Lowery is a heroic version of Nedry and his scenes are some of the best in the movie. The two characters I really wish didn’t exist were the 2 kids. They’re the worst kids of the franchise and the dumbest. Their scenes are some of the worst in the film. Their constantly spouting out stupid dialogue and the older brother was just ugh! He was such a buffoon. I get that they were included as a homage to the kids of the franchise but all those kids had somewhat of brain and personality. Again I won’t give specifics for the sake of spoilers. Even though I have major quarrels with the characters and their characterizations, everyone did a good job performance wise and I applaud them. They make these generic characters fun to watch.
On a direction level, Colin Trevorrow did a good job for his first blockbuster. He doesn’t have some of Spielberg’s talents, but he also doesn’t have Spielberg’s flaws (PLOTHOLES!!!). There were things that did bother me a little bit. The CGI looks really fake. It’s good for today’s movie standards but the original 2 Jurassic Parks still had better looking scenes. The raptors looked real in those films (fun fact it was guys in raptor suits) In this, they’re just pure CGI, even the T-Rex looks fake. I thought the T-Rex looked good in the original movies because it was shot at night but we get a similar shot and it looks super fake. The fake CGI sometimes took me out of the film and this isn’t nostalgia speaking. To be honest, it just shows you how brilliant movie magician, Stan Winston was. He was a visionary and even the new Terminator looks bad with its effects. Stan Winston was a man beyond his time and he’ll be missed. Luckily Michael Giannchino manages to create a nice soundtrack that’s a homage to the original and something on its own.
I really loved Trevorrow’s debut and previous film, Safety Not Guaranteed and I didn’t think characters & dialogue would be a problem for him. That film was so well written. Instead the problems are exactly that. I’ve already spent a paragraph ranting about the characters but the dialogue is atrocious. Owen’s last lines with Claire are so cringeworthy I wanted to bang my head on something. It was really really bad. There was a point where conversations got to that they didn’t even sound natural. Real people don’t talk like that. One thing I have to mention about Safety Not Guaranteed is its hilarious and the jokes in Jurassic World fall flat. They’re too forced, too stupid and out of place. 2 people kissing when people are dying around them? That’s not funny, that’s stupid. It got to a point where I was getting infuriated. Even the Marvel movies are funnier but it is what it is. I was hoping too much for the similar subtle sarcastic humor of the first 2 films and this is a blockbuster after all.
Would I recommend?
With all these complaints, I didn’t find Jurassic World to be a bad film. It has its flaws but its my favorite summer blockbuster so far of this year. Okay, Mad Max is way better. The climax as stupid as it is, but it’s really awesome to watch. Dinovengers I call it. My mind was telling me this defies logic but my eyes were telling me different. I really can’t wait for more people to see what I’m talking about. The more I think about Jurassic World the better I like it. There was a lot of effort and heart put into this movie. I’m really happy for all the success the movie is getting. The Indominus Rex was terrifying & there were a lot really awesome sequences. Unfortunately there were parts they could have easily fixed (Dialogue, characterization, humor, CGI) but it did its job in entertaining. Overall I’d recommend Jurassic World for fans of the series, original, dinosaur fans and action fans. You know what? If you enjoy blockbusters you’ll be fine with this one and I recommend seeing it in IMAX while it’s still in theaters. I can’t wait to see it again.
P.S. When I say Jurassic Park franchise, I only mean the first 2 movies. I really hate the third movie except for Sam Neil & that terrific Pteranodon sequence.