Jurassic World a reboot of less than prehistoric stature

“Jurassic World” is the perfect analogy for the modern desires of audiences when they pile in to see Hollywood blockbusters. We want bigger, newer, faster beasts that will splash them with a metaphoric wave of water. But we forget that sometimes comes at a price, one that sacrifices magic, mythos and intellect.

You can tell the film had no problem giving user something new when instead of harkening back to the wonder of the original “Jurassic Park” by fitting John Williams majestic score over a beautiful landscape shot of digital age dinos its wasted on a being matched up with a kid running through a sleek-looking amusement park hotel like it’s “Home Alone 2”. “World” has given us what we think we want, but something was lost along the way. A price was paid.

Okay that may sound a little ominous and dreary but its more me dramatizing a sense of disappointment I can’t seem to escape than a summation of the film itself, given the fact it’s a mostly entertaining flick.

The simple truth is that no matter what I liked about the film there are an equal amount of things I can’t seem to shake. For instance, I will always love the presence of the dinosaurs in these movies. Such grand fascinating specimens to watch, even though they’re heavily CGIed (which I was led to believe this movie would have far more animatronics, but whatever).

However, the movie rushes through its story with such little focus on them other than as background objects you’d think they were saying “Yeah, yeah, they know what they look like. Let’s get back to Chris Pratt!” This is a movie that exists almost as a direct sequel to the others in a world where no one watching even remotely wants that to be the case. Here they will be thrown into the deep end where only seeing the original will keep them afloat.

The character structure remains in-tact, though: There’s the knowledgeable, roughish dino-expert (Chris Pratt); the rigid female scientist (Bryce Dallas Howard); and two teens, one who is cute and smart and the other who is a sex-crazed prick. Sadly, in the case of the latter two, the older d-bag is the hero in their scenario while the smart, plucky, wonder-filled kid just runs around and cries.

Pratt continues to work his skills into becoming a worthwhile leading man with wit and courage of all the great blockbuster heroes. Though his character here is less enjoyable than his breakout role in “Guardians of the Galaxy”—reduced to mostly telling people how wrong they are and spouting awful one-liners—I still had fun watching him work his charm.

In place of the other great supporting actors to grace the franchise like Richard Attenborough and Jeff Goldblum are a slew of unmemorable, suit-wearing men who don’t have much to offer other than bicker about morality vs. money. The fine Vincent D’Onofrio is the movie’s sort-of main baddie who wants to use raptors for some military project, but this forgettable plot strand ends sweetly with his bloody demise at the hands of the franchise’s classic dinos. But I won’t spoil all the fun.

When the action gets going, setting aside all the jumbled arguments and brain-scratching dialogue and metaphors, that’s when the movie shows its stripes. This usually involves teams of men being eaten by large beasts. But, hey, that’s what they get for carrying around stupid-looking guns.

The private crowd I saw the film with seemed to get the most excitement out of seeing blood-drenched jaws come down of human flesh or witnessing flying creatures throw tourists around like rag dolls. A friend of mine stands firm that his favorite part involved a flying dinosaur trying to pick up a saddle-laden baby Triceratops, ultimately giving up and plopping it back to the ground. I almost want to thank the morons working at the park who had no other plan for when the dinosaurs got loose other than “Run and panic until they cut to another scene! Shove all the children!” for gracing us with so much prehistoric-fueled chaos.

There’s a tongue-in-cheek hilarity to much of the spectacle and that mixed with director Colin Trevorrow’s knack for emphasizing the awkward humor in people is the movie’s saving grace. The story is practically the same as all the other films, but Trevorrow does what he can to make it seem a little fresh. Like Joss Whedon Trevorrow has this effortless ability to wring the humor out of people in the most intense of situations. It doesn’t always work here, sometimes coming off as unintentionally funny, but 95% of the time it’s nailed perfectly—which is technically an A.

Yes, the magic and imagination is gone under a pile of clichés and CGI, and though I do think most people will enjoy the ride for what it is, “Jurassic World” is a mixed bag I think others won’t be able to see as more than serviceable popcorn fun where the good outweighs the bad by that much.

I will say that like in last years “Godzilla” reboot there is an undeniably nostalgic and fantastic final battle where the old dinos face the new to epic results. I won’t ruin it, but it was good enough to almost make up for most the film. As for the rest of the bad, persistent qualities let’s just let them remain forgotten in the memory of blockbuster history in whatever pool of tree sap they get stuck in.

Grade: C+

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