Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jurassic World review

I honestly do not expect all that much from movies. If it's entertaining on the most basic level, then I'm pretty much on board. But "Jurassic World" had a lot going against it, for me, right from the get-go. Watching the film play out, my fears were confirmed: "Jurassic World" is an unnecessary film. Does it have a few fun action sequences? Yes. Some of it is pretty terrifying too. "Jurassic World" hits all the most basic spots that's required in a blockbuster film, but it's basically a re-molding and a re-telling of the events that took place in "Jurassic Park" only not nearly as memorable or as thrilling. And the thing is, you can't pretend "Jurassic Park" doesn't exist while watching the movie because "World" constantly reminds you about the superior film that came out 22 years ago.

Twenty years after the events of "Jurassic Park," the island has been reopened to the public. Now it's rebranded and is meant to be more exciting, and most importantly, safer than last time around. But, surprisingly interest in these dinosaurs have started to wane amongst kids so the CEO of J World (Irrfan Khan) and the manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) have allowed the implementation of an even bigger, scarier, smarter, more intelligent dinosaur to be created. That would be the Indominitable Rex. 

Everything about this movie is just completely irrational. Every character, especially. Except for maybe Owen (Chris Pratt), an expert on velociraptors who has been training said dinosaurs to obey him. They're like wild dogs. Except they're totally not, but that's basically what they're supposed to be. Owen is sent to inspect this new I-Rex because Claire and the CEO have just now realized that the creation of this super-intelligent beast of a dinosaur may not be the smartest idea. Owen can't even confirm their fears when he reaches the I-Rex's cage, as the beast has escaped. Or has it? 

As you may suspect, insanity ensues.

Maybe if Jurassic World was created 100-200 years after Jurassic Park, this may all seem plausible, but we're talking a little over two decades here. This is a park ran by the dumbest people imaginable and they should all ultimately die a spectacular death. This is just a lesser film than "Jurassic Park" in every way imaginable. Does it have some of the goods? Sure. Is it a lot better than it could've been? Maybe? But nothing about this movie justifies the idea that it should exist. Kinda like how nothing could possibly justify the I-Rex's existence.

"Jurassic World" tries to covers its ass by adding in meta-commentary. The comparison of I-Rex to "Jurassic World" was a calculated move on the filmmakers' part, but there's not really a payoff there either. This is just a movie, that should've never been made, apologizing for its existence. But it still exists. You can't have your cake and eat it too, guys. 

The plot I described above doesn't even do it justice. There are so many shitty characters in this film that have absolutely no arc. Even Chris Pratt is basically just in "generic charismatic hero" mode all the time. It's hard to get invested in a movie where there's no characters worth the investment. There are no thrills to a movie when you can see all the calculations happening right from the beginning. The only truly suspenseful sequence involves dino-birds creating havoc amongs the park guests. That was pretty fun. But too often while watching "Jurassic World," I had the all too distinct feeling that I had seen all this before. It's the exact same set-up and payoff just with lesser characters and a director who isn't Steven Spielberg. 

Take your impressionable kids who never got the chance to experience "Jurassic Park" on the big screen. This is for them. And maybe it's for you too, if you just want to see dinosaurs create havoc for 120 minutes and that's all you care about. Clearly, that's the case as the film has just had the biggest worldwide opening weekend of all-time. And that's fine. So people got what they wanted. Universal Studios got what they wanted. What else is there to say? Nostalgia is one hell of a drug when it's the right movie at the right time. 

Don't get me wrong, I had some fun while watching this movie, but it just felt hollow. At no point did this feel like a film that deserved to exist in its own right. And for me, that's a problem, even if the film is fairly decent. It's passable, but I'm not going to reward the film too much for exceeding my very low expectations.

Grade: C

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