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Film Review: Jurassic World

Updated on December 28, 2016

Background

In June 2015, Colin Trevorrow released Jurassic World, based on characters created by Michael Crichton, as the fourth film in the series. Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy, B. D. Wong, and Irrfan Khan, the film grossed $1.67 billion at the box office.

Synopsis

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, John Hammond’s dream has come to pass and the island now hosts a fully-functional theme park. Yet, the public has gotten used to dinosaurs and attendance is declining. In an attempt to bring them back, a new attraction is developed. Soon though, it backfires and a new, even greater menace is unleashed.

Review

Having spent a decade in development, Jurassic World was met with massive buildup from audiences. Unfortunately, the resulting film, while somewhat entertaining, wasn’t very good. There were some good qualities and moments, such as the Indominous Rex itself, which translates to “untamable king.” Engineered to be the ultimate dinosaur, it certainly delivers in its utilizing of various traits found in the species it shares DNA with, including camouflage and hiding its heat signature. Further, some of the references to earlier films in the series were pretty decent both the subtle and overt, like Malcolm’s book being read on the monorail and how Zach and Gray find themselves in the old visitor’s center. However, there are times when the call backs fall flat. One instance is when Gray is sad about their parents’ divorce, calling back to the divorce of Lex and Tim’s parents. Nothing comes of this and apart from a possible foreshadowing line at the beginning of the film, it's never mentioned again and feels like an unnecessary forced attempt at calling back to a much better film.

Nonetheless, one good rampaging dinosaur and some clever nods to the rest of the series don't make a good film.

The characters are a jumbled mess, have little depth and what character development they do get is the product of lazy writing. Owen appears to be the near unflappable but personable guy who has the only uncertainties about creating hybrid dinosaurs, believing them to be animals who need care. On the other hand, Hoskins, the head of security operations, wants to exploit the dinosaurs for profit and sees them as nothing more than property. The character development comes from Claire, the park operations manager, initially seeing dinosaurs as assets and is distant towards her nephews, instead growing to see the dinosaurs as living creatures and appreciates the family she has. This would be good had her growth not come as a result of her inevitable romance with Owen. Ultimately, it's a product of lazy writing and her growth should have been fluid, existing outside of the romance which, in and of itself, seemed like a forced plot point.

The film’s action also goes beyond the normal level of excitement and action seen in the series, starting off decently and eventually developing into gratuitously unnecessary violence. One notable instance is the use of rocket launchers and mounted machine guns. Despite characters using heavy weaponry in the books, such weapons have never been used in the films before and their use here feels like unnecessary escalation. Additionally, the pteranodons and dimorphodons started terrorizing the guests when they were set free by the I. Rex breaking into the atrium. It’s gratuitous as well as completely against instinct as animals running away from a predator don’t stop to hunt. This leads to the most irrelevant, violent and excessive death, possibly in the entire series. Zara is yanked high into the air, thrown around, dropped into the Mosasaurus pool repeatedly before the aforementioned dinosaur snaps her and a pteranodon up. It's egregious and seems mean-spirited towards the character.

Moreover, even though this is a film in the Jurassic Park series, this lacks any of the qualities that made the first film so great. First, there’s how the dinosaurs acted. In the first film, the dinosaurs started stalking around and killing people because it’s in their instinct and they’re hunting. In this film, the I. Rex kills wantonly because it’s been bred to do so and the pteranodons and dimorpodons are doing the same for no apparent reason. The first film had some focus on dinosaurs other than the Tyrannosaurus Rex and raptors too, lingering on them and showing them off. Here, there’s very little focus on any other dinosaur unless it’s killing something or being killed. Likewise, the wonder found throughout the first film is gone for the most part, considering Gray is the only main character who has some joy in him. In the first film, Dr. Grant and Ellie are floored and ecstatic when seeing the Brachiosaur and Grant has a spark in his eye when seeing and talking about the Gallimimus. There are no similar moments in this film and the absence thereof does the film no favors.

2 stars for Jurassic World

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Performance by a Young Actor (Ty Simpkins)

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Most Overrated Movie of the Year

Hollywood Film Awards

  • Visual Effects of the Year

MTV Movie Awards

  • Best Action Performance (Chris Pratt)

Women Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Worst Female Images in a Movie (Bryce Dallas Howard)

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Film Composer of the Year (Michael Giacchino)

Nominated for

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing
  • Best Editing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Special Effects
  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (As part of "Jurassic Park Collection")

Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Awards

  • Special Mention Award - Actress Most in Need of a New Agent (Bryce Dallas Howard)

Annie Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
  • Outstanding Achievement in Character Animation in a Live Action Production (For the character "Indominous Rex")

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Production Design - Fantasy Film

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Action Movie
  • Best Actor in an Action Movie (Chris Pratt)
  • Best Actress in an Action Movie (Bryce Dallas Howard)
  • Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Empire Awards

  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Best Visual Effects

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year
  • Best Specail Effects of the Year
  • Biggest Disappointment of the Year
  • Best Trailer of the Year
  • Best DVD of the Year

Hollywood Post Alliance Awards

  • Outstanding Visual Effects - Feature Film

Jupiter Awards

  • Best International Film

Kids Choice Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie
  • Favorite Movie Actor (Chris Pratt)

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film
  • Best Sound Editing - Music in a Feature Film

MTV Movie Awards

  • Movie of the Year
  • Best Male Performance (Chris Pratt)

Online Film & Television Awards

  • Best Sound Effects Editing
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Stunt Coordination

People's Choice Awards

  • Favorite Movie

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

  • Best Movie

San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Satellite Awards

  • Best Sound (Editing and Mixing)
  • Best Visual Effects

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Seattle Film Critics Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Society of Camera Operators

  • Camera Operator of the Year Award - Feature Film

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie: Villain (Vincent D'Onofrio)
  • Choice Movie: Hissy Fit (Bryce Dallas Howard)
  • Choice Summer Movie
  • Choice Summer Movie Star: Male (Chris Pratt)
  • Choice Summer Movie Star: Female (Bryce Dallas Howard)

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature (Jungle Chase)
  • Outstanding Models in a Photoreal or Animated Project (Indominus Rex)

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Performance in a Feature film - Leading Young Actor (11-13) (Ty Simpkins)

Young Entertainer Awards

  • Best Leading Young Actor - Feature Film (Nick Robinson)
  • Best Leading Young Actor - Feature Film (Ty Simpkins)


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      Pat Mills 2 years ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      I liked it a little better than you, and the credit for that goes to Chris Pratt. I do agree, though, that this film is a bit underwhelming.