Jurassic World (2015)
A Review by: Jeff Turner
Dir: Colin Trevorrow
Written by: Colin Trevorrow, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly.
Produced by: Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg, Patrick Crowley, Thomas Tull, Christopher Raimo, Jon Jashni.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Nick Robinson, Ty Sympkins, Judy Greer, Omar Sy, Jake Johnson, Irrfan Khan, B.D. Wong.
Currently Playing At: Aksarben Cinema, Marcus Midtown Cinema, AMC Star Council Bluffs 17, AMC Westroads 14, Marcus Twin Creek Cinema, Regal Omaha Stadium 16.
Jurassic Park was a good movie. Are we in consensus on that? We are? Excellent. Its sequels weren’t quite as good, people are split on The Lost World, and everybody can pretty much agree the third one sucked. Everybody seems to be in love with the latest installment of the series though, Jurassic World. Its breaking box office records, it has the biggest global opening ever. My thoughts? The film is pretty bloody mediocre.
Red flags went off almost immediately as the movie begins. Two children get sent to stay with their aunt (Bryce Dallas Howard, more on her in a moment) at Jurassic World while their parents get a divorce. This is a bad idea, and let me count the ways. One, now whenever the kids go to a theme park they’re going to think of their parent’s divorce; two, the parents know the aunt has to look after 20,000 people, they know she’s probably going to be busy, therefore meaning she cannot monitor them 24/7. They do this knowing that and still have the nerve to get mad at her for leaving the kids with a nanny. The movie tries to paint Howard’s character as a bad person for doing this, but really she was just busy.
The film makes various jumps in logic akin to that throughout the movie. There’s a point where characters go into the pen of the ‘Indominus Rex’ to see if it’s there. Why? What’s their plan when they find it? They don’t bring tanks in there, I don’t even think they had guns, it was just four guys. They only did this because the plot couldn’t move forward without them doing that.
The plot in question: Claire (Dallas Howard) begins designing a new dinosaur, the aforementioned Indominus to draw people back to Jurassic World, which has had problems with dwindling attendance. The dinosaur fools them (and I do mean fools) and gets loose, causing havoc. The only person who holds all the answers is Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who works on the park as a raptor tamer.
Owen really does hold all the answers too, as Chris Pratt spends a lot of this movie explaining to other characters exactly why they’re stupid. As the film moved forward I found myself surprised at the mere fact that this park was even able to stay open for a week, let alone 20 years. There are so many instances where the people that run this park make horrible decisions that I would be amazed if they didn’t get drenched in lawsuits.
What was the point of Vincent D’Onofrio’s character? He played the stock, obvious villain you see in every movie. Not only that, he was supposed to be this military guy, but he failed to think of a single good idea throughout the entire film. He’s a horrible villain, and a generally superfluous character. The film makes it seem like all of the bad things going on right now are the fault of Bryce Dallas Howard, when really its D’Onofrio and Irrfan Khan’s John Hammond. I like a lot of the actors in this movie and the acting for the most part is not bad, but these characters are ridiculous.
Let’s talk about the Chris Pratt character for a moment. I enjoy Chris Pratt, for the most part I found him fairly charismatic here, but this is a nothing character. It was apparent that director Colin Treverrow wanted to draw a comparison between Pratt’s Owen Grady and a character from a classic Spielberg/Lucas film that would have been played by Harrison Ford. I think Pratt could probably play a character like that, but the way the movie writes him he is totally uninteresting. You feel nothing about this man, you are not wowed, because it constantly seems as though the movie is trying way too hard to wow you.
Speaking of which, those references were so gratuitous. There was only one instance where the film re-used the Jurassic Park theme that I didn’t find contrived (that whole sequence is in the last ten minutes, and actually is worth watching). There’s an instance when Claire goes to work, and one of her employees is wearing a Jurassic Park t-shirt, and she chastises him for it. She said it was in bad taste, but isn’t opening a theme park, based around that incident, that houses 20,000 people in even worse taste? It seemed like a cheap way to milk the nostalgia, which judging by this movies grosses appears to have worked. Good for it, I guess.
Let’s talk about the kids. They weren’t too bad, they definitely weren’t the worst aspect of the movie, but there were moments where they annoyed me nonetheless. For one the older brother is really mean to the younger brother and it seems really unnecessary. I understand he’s a teenager but he seemed to be doing it to a point where it was becoming absurd. I will give the movie credit where credit is due, the two kids have a scene that I liked where the older brother has to motivate the younger to jump down a waterfall with him to escape the Indominus. The problem with the human moments like that is that they seemed too few and far between. The big thing about the kids is after that moment the script turns them into the generic child characters you’d see in a movie like this.
There’s also a character death that’s had everyone talking, I won’t spoil who it is, but the length and detail as to how it happened was downright absurd. This character gets tossed around by pterodactyls, and fed to the dinosaur you see coming out of the sea in the trailer, followed by the dinosaur spitting her out, a passerby running her over, Chris Pratt accidentally shooting her in the chest, and the same pterodactyls putting on top hats and tap dancing on her spine.
I didn’t like Jurassic World, I can see why one might though. It appeals to an inner child to be certain, the big problem is that the director and screenwriter use that as an excuse to push a movie riddled with dumb character decisions and plot holes. If it had been fun maybe I would have felt differently. It wasn’t. My verdict is that you could probably stand to rent it.