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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Jurassic Park will forever be known as the film that brought dinosaurs to the big screen, Yes there had been movies prior to it which featured them, but JP was the first to truly show them realistically. It demonstrated how effective CGI could be used in bringing the creatures to life. Steven Spielberg delivered a family adventure. It was one, like the children in the film felt, kids could feel in awe when watching the creatures. Subsequently, the sequels lessened that family atmosphere and became darker. Jurassic World is the fourth film in the franchise, bringing back the series after fourteen years. There had been very little dinosaur films in-between, which goes to show that Park is forever the king of this sub-genre. Director Colin Trevorrow attempts to bring back the tone of the original film with the atmosphere and the usage of kids. Sadly, in trying to do that the film falters. It's not a bad movie, but is actually the worst written of the series.

Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure based on characters created by Michael Crichton. The screenplay is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Trevorrow & Derek Connolly, and the story is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

The major problem with this film is the writing. Some of the character concepts aren't bad, but how they're handled is the key. Obviously when one walks into a movie about dinosaurs the main thing the former cares about are the creatures. The film satisfies there, but the humans definitely do not. The perfect kind of monster film is when the creatures' plot directly interacts with the well-written and engaging human characters. Unfortunately, Jurassic World doesn't do wonders here. Like the first movie, there are a few main characters. The most popular one is of course Owen Grady, Chris Pratt's character. If you've seen the trailers and clips, then you know exactly what to expect. He isn't bad, but isn't Oscar-worthy. The relationship established between him and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is bizarre. I say this because not much is established beforehand and then literally in the middle of a frantic scene where pterodactyls are literally grabbing and chomping on people he kisses her. Not only is this extremely unrealistic, it's stereotypical summer movie fare.

Claire isn't bad, but not particularly memorable either. Her "empowerment" moment maybe was supposed to be funny, but ended up being more laughable. Still, she's a masterpiece when compared to Zach. (Nick Robinson.) Not only was he terrible, he also further the stereotypes of high-schoolers being mean, flirty, and disobedient. Robinson doesn't even play that part well, because in almost every scene he's in he looks extremely bored with everything. (The fact that some people think he should play Spider-Man is truly frightening.) His little brother Gray (Ty Simpkins) fares much better. Like Timothy in the first film, he represents the awe children have in the theater when seeing these creatures on the big screen. While the kids in the first film when viewed today are a little on the cheesy side, they're still better than what is seen here.

The "antagonist" is Vic Hoskins. After Vincent D'Onofrio's fantastic portrayal of Wilson Fisk in Daredevil recently, one would think that quality would follow here. Unfortunately, this is an example of a mediocre script the actor just can't seem to make work. By the end he's reduced to being a cartoony villain with outlandish goals. To even call him generic would be a disservice to all generic villains out there. There are of course other characters that get important scenes. Lowery is perhaps the worst, with poorly written lines and is just plain annoying. Simon Masrani was one of the more likable characters, whom unfortunately stops appearing before he can become a highlight. Ironically the best written character is one whom has less than 4 minutes of screen time, Karen, Zach and Gray's mother. When she heard that Claire wasn't with her sons, the viewer could really feel her sadness when she shed tears. This brings us to a rather wasted part. On board the train Gray mentions that he heard something about his parents getting divorced. This is not made evident in the film at all, and after that scene it's never mentioned again. Unless it's brought up in a sequel, it's a wasted plot point.

How about the dinosaur action? Like the first film, the violence is rather quick and not too graphic. As stated in the opening paragraph, the two sequels got noticeably darker and more violent (in The Lost World two T-Rexes actually rip a character in half!) so it was interesting to see the film be more like the first one. This doesn't mean we don't get intense scenes. The pterodactyl sequence where they attack the running tourists was well-done. Though, one character death here is rather distasteful and just felt wrong & unneeded. The main action scenes of course include the Indominus Rex. This hybrid dinosaur was the most hyped aspect of the film, and she definitely doesn't disappoint.

The idea of a super hybrid dinosaur is obviously quite a cool concept. The fact that she is very intelligent is reminiscent of the shark movie Deep Blue Sea where the creatures think like humans. This gives the main dinosaur more dimension other than just being a big obstacle. Every scene she's in she steals. Unlike all other dinosaurs seen before, she can actually grab humans and throw them away, which made for some unique and intense sequences. A highlight is her short skirmish with the Ankylosaurus in the woods. The third film introduced the concept of an epic dinosaur vs. dinosaur fight scene, so it was great seeing a battle here like that.

Besides the Tyrannosaurus, the dinosaur mascot of the series is the Raptor. Here we're introduced to an intriguing concept: the ability to build a relationship with them built on mutual respect. Owen has some cool scenes with this. One could make an argument it's a bit cheesy for them to listen to a human, but the way the story handles that aspect is quite engaging. The entire climax was fantastic and saves the film from dropping a point. Right when Claire tells Lowery to unlock the gate, the viewer can really feel the hype that something big is about to take place. Out of all the films, World's climax is definitely the most exciting and fun. The soundtrack is pretty standard. Outside the classic theme, (with a nice added soft choir) the rest is pretty typical.

Overall, Jurassic World is a fun movie sadly engulfed by mediocre characters. There are no stand out performances. Most of the characters have a stereotypical role. Zach is awful and furthers the fact that most films have high-schoolers be blatantly annoying. Vic as an antagonist is bad, truly bad. He goes to extremely generic levels where one groans for quality writing. Owen is decent enough, and works well with the raptor scenes. The CGI is more on the mixed side. Astonishingly, some of it actually looks worst than in the first film. Never once there did a viewer doubt the existence of the creatures, but here early on they looked like video game simulations. The Idominus Rex was fantastic however, and the entire climax was incredibly-executed. To sum up World, it tries to be like the first one but lacks the quality of the storytelling.

1 comment:

  1. A little higher than I had expected, but it was a fun film. I would have given it a 7 myself if it hadn't been for the animal violence as I actually thought that the film was a lot of fun. The villain was decent and the characters were all fairly likable aside from the kids. I'm definitely hyped for a possible sequel and hopefully the T Rex gets his props.