Jurassic World brings the magic back into dinosaurs.
For years now I have been telling people that the first Jurassic Park movie is my all time favorite film, even though I will agree it is not the “best” film. The reason I like it so much is that it brings me back to my childhood. I was almost five years old when the movie came out. I was already obsessed about dinosaurs and this first movie not only brought them to life but also my imagination. Dinosaurs were alive…therefore anything was possible! The sequels shied away from that, so I could only hope that this newest one brought that magic back.
You would think that the story is pretty much as expected from a film in this franchise. Island has dinosaurs, man visits dinosaurs, something unexpected happens, people die and then leave saying no one will visit the island again. There is an exception though that throws the whole equation off. Jurassic World is already a success! Hammond has died and supposedly passed his dino-legacy off to Simon Masrani (played by Irrfan Khan), a rich eccentric who would rather hear that the dinosaurs and guests are happy than about how much money he is making. Masrani is able to do what Hammond couldn’t, safely create a dinosaur theme park. Things are going quite well for the park. They have many sponsors and guests, the only problem is the same as what happens with most commodities, people are getting bored of the product. The administration is worried that attendance will go down because people are now used to the idea of dinosaurs existing and are beginning to stop caring. The scientists find a solution…genetically modified dinosaurs! This is when things go awry. Their intelligent/genetically altered dinosaur escapes and chaos ensues.
A new idea that is brought into play in this movie is not just the monetizing of dinosaurs but also the militarization of them. Vincent D’Onofrio does a fantastic job setting this story line up as well as a possible sequel.
The acting in this movie is quite good! It is always a question whenever you have two kids be in the main cast, but they held their own. Ty Simpkins (if he looks familiar, he’s the awesome kid from Iron Man 3) and Nick Robinson do a great job with their characters. If you’re unsure which is which when you are watching the movie just remember that Robinson is the dumb brother who doesn’t really do anything and Simpkins is the useful smart brother who is always crying. In it of themselves, they do a fairly good job, but Robinson seriously lacks character development. It seemed like they were going somewhere plot wise with him when they show that he has a girlfriend at home but then they seem to forget that she existed just like he did when he tries to stare/flirt at anything with a pulse on the island.
Chris Pratt is incredible in this movie. I will admit that I was worried about the casting choice of Pratt. He was fantastic in Guardians of the Galaxy and great in Parks and Recreation, but I thought he was a bad choice for the movie. I am very glad I was wrong. When he was cast I expected the movie to be either goofy or just action packed. Instead, he was the calming force of the movie whenever things got out of hand. He seemed to have watched the previous three movies and learned the lessons we did and almost spoke for the audience in several cases. It is true, he did kind of flop around the “He’s killing for fun” line and the majority of his scenes in this movie just involved intense staring, but he still proved himself to me and I look forward to seeing him in more movies to come.
Bryce Dallas Howard made this movie. The majority of the film seems to follow her and she completely owns it. The writers spent all their character development on her and it was a good choice. She goes from someone who sees everything as numbers to someone who genuinely cares. At the very start she pushes the kids (her nephews) off to her assistant which she insists is okay because the assistant is British. When she realizes the kids are missing, her and Pratt get together to find them and she begins to realize the importance of what she has been ignoring.
I always try to talk about the mood or the tone in my reviews because to me how the movie is meant to feel is very important. This is particularly true with this movie. Jurassic World brought the joy back to the franchise. A good portion of the film allowed us to just play and watch the dinosaurs and it was worth it. I had the biggest and goofiest grin on throughout the beginning of the movie which was eventually covered when things go south. Just as things get bad, they bring us to the old Jurassic Park lobby, where the first movie ended. This hit my nostalgia like no other and just as I was about to feel happy again, they tore up a piece of the banner that flew down at the end of the first Jurassic Park and burned it. I don’t know why but something about this scene really struck me (probably because it was metaphorically burning away my nostalgia). While I knew this was a nod to the first movie, it told me things were about to change, and it was right. Jurassic World probably manipulates mood more than any other movie I have seen and I applaud it for doing so.
The dinosaurs look more real than ever in this movie! The opening shot of two dinosaurs crawling out of the egg was a strong one. It starts out with a close up and we can see every detail of the dinosaur. Most of that was probably them showing off, but it worked. There are three different dinosaurs in particular I want to mention. The genetically altered t-rex, the raptors, and the pterodactyls.
The White Tyrannosaur – The genetically altered t-rex is the major antagonist of this film. It had a very unique appearance and you could tell they spent time working on it. Whoever was in the office that said, “Hey, let’s make it the only white dinosaur” should be given a raise. For some reason, this made it stand out and look even more terrifying.
The Raptors – These characters stole the show. Pratt is in charge of attempting to train these raptors. He makes himself the alpha and admits that it only barely works. You can see it too. Especially with the raptor name Blue, the beta of the pack. You can watch them think and form opinions. They of course never have lines but their intentions seem to be clearer than most of the other characters in the movie.
The Pterodactyls – These dinosaurs ended up being the most terrifying thing about this film. The movie hits the point where just as you think things can’t get more messed up, these guys come into the mix. You can tell that the writers, directors, animators, etc, were told to keep a handle on the massacre shown until this scene. In this scene, everyone was told to let loose…and they do. This makes the violence/action seem even more disturbing but not out of place when it happens. There is one pterodactyl in particular that is truly terrifying and that is the genetically altered one. I’m not going to expand, but if you see the movie, you’ll know exactly which one I am talking about. This dinosaur shows how much the people in this park have violated science and nature. It sticks with you throughout the whole film. If someone were to describe it to me, I would have thought it was just a joke, but looking at it in the movie, you cannot help but to feel how wrong it is.
If you are going for a fun, action packed, nostalgic movie, you cannot go wrong. However, there are some problems with it. The plot and character building is weak. Howard’s character is the only one the story really spends time developing. They forget various details they establish at the beginning of the movie and some of the dinosaurs clearly do not act like they should. The excuse that the dinosaurs are genetically altered and therefore act differently can only go so far. The dinosaurs at times simply do what is necessary in order for the plot to move in the appropriate direction. For example, the t-rex has been seen catching up to speeding vehicles previously, in this movie it cannot catch up with a woman running in heels. This movie has quite a bit of issues like that where if you are paying attention, it will bother you…if you’re not paying attention, you’ll be fine.
The first Jurassic Park movie was so good because it was very subtle. It showed us how beautiful dinosaurs could be but also that they had to be respected or else they would bite us in the…well, in the everything. They also did not have to resort to cheep scares, gore, and violence in order to keep us at the edge of our seats. The sequels seemed to forget that. Dinosaurs became violent and something to be feared. This is why I was so worried about the newest one. The first one was so important to me that I wanted this to resemble the former and not the latter. Thankfully, Jurassic World not only stays true to my childhood and current favorite movie, but distinguishes itself away from it as well.
Action Movie: 98/100
Action Movie with Plot: 90/100