Have you ever had a dream so strong that you were determined to turn it into a reality; no matter what, even if it doesn’t seem the wisest thing; literally, one of the worst ideas ever?
Twenty-two years ago, a strong-minded and obviously bored billionaire named John Hammond held strong to his “I Will Never Say Never” dream (take that Justin Bieber) and used dinosaur DNA to bring back the most fearsome animals an asteroid could have ever destroyed. As greed took over Isla Nublar, a Dilophosaurus forever changed the course of the lives of a fat man, a mumbling man, two children, and a “lets meet our film minority quota” black guy.
Since then, the incidents of that epic disaster has been swept under the rug. Its last two sequels have been happily eradicated from our memory, and like any bad idea taken over by greed, John Hammond’s destructive vision has been realized on a corporate scale.
Welcome to Jurassic World: an island theme park, filled with dinosaurs of every species, available to everyone from behind the comfortable safety of plexiglass and electrical fences.
The theme park is overseen by the uptight rule-following and slightly boring Claire (played by Dallas Bryce Howard) who is babysitting the park’s billionaire benefactor and her two annoying nephews who are shipped off without their parents to the Land of Upcoming Nightmares.
While the theme-park is a sight to behold, like any generation suffering from ADD, fans are becoming bored with the same ol’ dinosaur. Seriously, how much roaring and killing of cows can one see? Much like any commodity, sponsors push for something bigger, bolder, and with more teeth.
…and Jurassic World delivers on that promise.
Thanks to the advancement of modern technology, a team of scientists and underpaid interns (yay college credit) led by Dr. Henry Wu (because Asian stereotypes are alive and well) create a brand new species of dinosaur in hopes of spiking attendance. Just like Jurassic Park and every other “too big to fail” idea, it goes predictably wrong in the form of the Indominus-Rex, a genetic hybrid who is suffering from the joys of teenage angst, rebellion, with sprinkles of psychopathic tendencies. Seriously, how did the world’s top scientists not see this coming?
Fear not, for Claire has abandoned her family to search for Owen, a dinosaur whisperer, to calm down the feisty hybrid with the help of his motorcycle, fancy clicker, and the love of trained Velociraptors.
Jurassic World is a beautiful disaster, following one of the greatest movies ever made. From the beginning, our senses are heightened even if our expectations are rather low. Let’s face it, sequels have fallen by the wayside. So how did this movie prove to be different? It never abandoned its roots.
From the very beginning it is big, bold and brass. The script is riddled with ridiculousness, but who cares? It’s a movie about dinosaurs, none of this is supposed to be taken seriously. This is an action-packed dino-ass kicking feast, but the beauty behind the action sequences are that they are used to move the story forward and to service the characters. Yes, it’s mind-blowing how the writers could have saturated the movie with unnecessities, but they didn’t. Every action is here for a reason (unlike The Expendables) so when it does happen it pays off in a big way. The audience is at the edge of their seats because it’s fresh and new, never once feeling jaded.
The moment when Chris Pratt arrives on scene, he commands studios to cast him as Indiana Jones in the reboot, he demands audiences to remember him, and he is the essence of badass shrouded in the raptors and beige clothing. He takes the role with confidence, playing the strong alpha laid-back sarcastic male. Pratt is clearly enjoying himself and the audience can’t help but like him.
Bryce Dallas Howard is simply the “yin” to Pratt’s “yang.” She is organized, straight-laced, and slightly constipated, but she too demands control and will not go unnoticed by the audience. While Pratt’s character basically stays the same, Howard’s shows the most change and dimension. In her best “hire me Marvel,” she goes from being completely cold and rigid, to taking life by the balls, even saving Pratt from a reptilian end. She is the true underrated star of the movie, even if her quick thinking and newfound bravery isn’t appreciated by others. Her physical and emotional change, even in a blockbuster summer movie, is the highlight of everything. The pairing of these two characters is gold, their chemistry undeniable, even when seeing them playing roles we’ve seen before.
Jurassic World works mainly because it stays close to Jurassic Park. Why stray away from something that worked so well in the first movie? Not staying true to the original already resulted in the two bastard sequels everyone hated. World takes everything from the first movie and expands it on a larger scale. As a result, the audience isn’t beaten down with repetitive backstory. There’s a sort of nostalgic feel it has by paying respect to the past while carving out a path of its own.
Director Trevorrow is in his element by not turning this disaster movie into a mindless carnage-fest. There are scenes where carnage does occur and it is glorious, but all the explosions, gun battles, and Call of Duty moments are appropriately used to break up the more playful scenes that are character driven and mindful of the plot. This is a happy escape, never a permanent place of residence.
Trevorrow truly shines behind the camera, the presentation of the film is strong, the movements feel real and he’s able to create a terrifying moment without visually seeing the horror that waits. The visuals bleed into the action seamlessly, something that many directors fail to do even with larger budgets. Never once does the movie seem like it’s going awry, which makes for a more enjoyable film.
Thanks to modern technology and CGI, the dinosaurs move effortlessly. Like all real animals, their emotions are told through their eyes. The audience feels their anger, pain and fear. There’s a scene where an Apatosaurus is left for dead, the intensity and fear is felt through the screen as life slips away from her. This is something that could have never been achieved on the scale in Jurassic Park.
In no shape or form is this movie perfect. There are characters that fall short and subplots that really seem thrown together. Vincent D’Onofrio as Hoskins, an over-the-top, rude, bellicose man whose entire purpose in the film has the audience laughing (seriously it wasn’t a well thought out idea) is one such character, especially since he isn’t given much of a backstory. As an InGen representative and military contractor, it is never fully explained what his real motivation is, or what happened to the company between the first movie and this one. Knowing this information could have made D’Onofrio’s character stronger and less of a joke.
Simon Masrani, the money-man behind the park, is also mishandled, coming off as comic relief instead of someone who holds all the purse-strings. Exhibiting signs of being bipolar, he’s unreasonably erratic in one scene, stern in the next, and somehow a pushover.
Even with its flaws, the movie is a rollercoaster, with drops, turns and flips. None of this matters when audience members are jumping in their seats, smiling at a John Hammond statue, looking through binoculars from the past, captivated by dinosaurs who decide to play soccer with a pair of nosey kids, or glued to their seats while watching a re-imagined fight scene that tops the original finale.
Jurassic World easily stands on its own in a sea of reboots and sequels, proving that not all is lost in Hollywood.