Jurassic World (2015) Review
Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Connolly
I’m just about to start my Jurassic World review. Just let me put my pants on. And put this jar of peanut butter away. And leash this dog with the sandpapery tongue and the gentle, almost motherly disposition.
22 million years after Jurassic Park was released, we finally get a sequel that brings us back to the feeling of fun (fun involving barely written characters getting torn apart by dinosaurs, but fun nonetheless) we recall from a period of time when cell phones where bigger than your car. And all you could do on cell phones was call people. And Mel Gibson was a viable movie star. And Samuel L. Jackson appeared in a lot of movies at once.
This is what stayed with me from the two lackluster sequels
The Lost World (1997) - How is it possible that Jeff Goldblum is the father of this little black girl? Kudos on having the T-Rex eat the dog as a rebuke to that insipid Independence Day movie.
Jurassic Park III (2001)- I understand why Tea Leoni is in this, but did William H. Macy really need the work? And how is it possible that Jeff Goldblum is the father of this little black girl?
World has what none of the other 3 movies had: a “Name” star in Chris Pratt, who helped make Guardians of Ga-Hoole, I mean, The Galaxy the highest grossing film of 2014 despite having the exact same plot as The Avengers, proving that when it comes to Marvel, no one gives a whit about story.
Pratt’s presence and newfound stardom is welcome as he does his game best to create a character that at least draws some attention from the dinosaurs.
Director Colin Trevorrow (2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed, which also could have been the title of this movie) and his team (the movie’s co-written by Derek Connolly and Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and Robert Towne and Jonathan Franzen and Joyce Carroll Oates with a page 2 rewrite by Diablo Cody and Damon Lindelof and the person that makes sure that the late Michael Crichton gets his residuals) have at least attempted a plot rather than the dinos-on-the-loose scenario that got tired right at the shot of the Japanese tourists near the end of The Lost World.
Granted, it still is a dinos-on-the-loose movie, but at least more innocent people die. In a largely bloodless PG-13 way.
Jurassic World opens on the dinosaur theme park of…Jurassic World. It’s John Hammond’s dream come true (“Coupon day”), but the resort is seeing a dip in profits as people no longer care about seeing dinosaurs because dinosaurs are no longer a spectacle.
In case you were wondering, this is a nod to the diminishing returns of the sequels and that fact that some of you actually paid money to see a Paul Blart sequel.
Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard., daughter of Ron Howard, sister of Dwight Howard, who plays for the Houston Rockets and not the Bryce Dallas Mavericks) is… well, I don’t know what her job title actually is, but she’s in charge of a lot of things in Jurassic World and one of her main points of concern is trying to drive up JW’s profits. To do this, bigger, faster, more dangerous special effects, I mean, dinosaurs are needed to spike box-office. I mean, attendance.
I forgot to mention that Claire’s nephews have come to visit Jurassic World. They have names but no one cares what they are.
To do this she has or will unveil a new attraction in a couple of weeks. Is it a new dinosaur? Yes. It’s called the Indominus Rex and it’s a GMO with DNA spliced from the T-Rex and…other species that are classified so that when you learn about them later in the movie you’ll go “Whoa” like Keanu Reeves but with feeling.
Indominus is larger, faster, smarter and larger than any dinosaur ever made, so of course nothing will go wrong.
Just to make sure, the higher-ups at JW have a former Navy person turned raptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt- The Magnificent Seven) vet the entire thing.
It just so happens that Claire and Owen have a past history together. That’s convenient and not at all necessary.
Owen says that genetically creating a dinosaur is a bad idea.
Claire says that nothing could possibly go wrong, completely discounting the 3 previous movies. And Ant-Man looks like a bad idea.
Then the Indominus Rex escapes. There are 20 thousand tourists on the Jurassic World mainland. Those who actually survive being eaten will have some pretty choice words to say on Yelp and Tripadvisor.
“My Husband got taken away by a Pterodactyl. But were getting a divorce anyway. Marie. Newly single. 4 Stars”.
“I thought because I was white that I was exempt from getting killed. That’s what I was told that the minorities got killed first and most often but I saw more than one white person get killed. This is not how it should be. Glenn Whiteman. 2 Stars”.
“Now that I think about it, I really don’t know how I got a black daughter. Ian. 3 Stars”.
What works with Jurassic World
- For no reason at all, great character actress Judy Greer (maybe the only reason to see Jawbreaker) shows up as the kids’ mom. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen her entire part. Sure, her part could have been filled by almost literally anybody, but it’s better than no Greer at all
- The extended climax is the second best sequence in the entire quadrilogy. No, it’s nowhere near close to the Raptors-in-the-Kitchen sequence in Park, but it is louder, bloodier and more effecting than anything you’ve seen in the two previous movies. Seriously, can you remember anything from JP III?
- Back in the 90s, John Williams’ original score for Jurassic Park was one of my favorite pieces of movie music to listen to as I prepared “impromptu” cadavers for local medical schools who wanted dead bodies, but didn’t want to pay the going rate. Michael Giacchino evokes Williams’ theme almost perfectly, almost to the point that you think he just copied it note for note. Maybe he did.
What Doesn’t Work With Jurassic World
- The scenes with the 2 generic kids are the worst part(s) of the movie and you notice your attention flag whenever they appear. Part of it is that it’s not all that different from the 2 kids in Jurassic Park and neither is the level of danger that they’re in. You know they’ll be okay because no kid gets killed in a PG-13 movie. I remember thinking “I hope one of this kids die during the movie, because that would actually be a surprise”. Or at least gets his/her arm eaten off like Samuel L. Jackson. Maybe the next movie.
You’ve seen the 2 substandard Jurassic sequels. Jurassic World almost willingly forgets they even exist, which is probably for the best. You’ll see World, and for a few moments you’ll feel awe you remember from June of 1993. Then you’ll remember the Rodney King riots from 1992 and feel grateful that everything is so much better now.
Coming soon, from bestselling author John Green (The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns) comes the story of two unlikely lovers. One, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a fetish for markers, and the other a girl with a hatchet lodged in the side of her head in the coming-of-age story One of These Kids Will Die. You think it’ll be the girl with the hatchet lodged in her head. You’d be right.