Jurassic World

It’s not often that I go to the movie, and even more rarely do I see a flick on opening weekend. So I’m going to take advantage of having seen Jurassic World yesterday to tell you a little about it.(1)

Or, well, basically I can sum it up with what I posted on Twitter right after seeing the movie:

My review of Jurassic World: Some dinosaurs just want to watch the world burn.

Yep. That’s basically the story. I’ll let you figure out how that’s possible.

The majority of the reviews I looked at on IMDb commented that it wasn’t as bad as Jurassic Park III, which is like saying something didn’t make you as sick as Taco Bell. But really, it’s a passable summer flick, not much depth, loads of action, and Chris Pratt, who’s so likable you’ll wish he were dating your daughter.  It’s also predictable, it’s re-treading old ground, and there’s nothing much to wonder at.

Which is what made Jurassic Park such a great movie. I remember, back in ’94 or ’95 when I finally got around to seeing it, the sheer wonder I felt “seeing” real, live dinosaurs for the first time. Yes, part of me totally knew that what I was seeming was so much ones and zeros, but another part – a large part of me – wondered where the hell Spielberg found dinosaurs to film. None of the ensuing movies have captured that. This is due in large part to the advances in CG, and that it’s pretty much commonplace. But the movies haven’t strived for wonder through other means.

Jurassic World at least tries. It does. A real, truly valiant effort. It almost gets there once, very nearly. But then that ever-so-beautiful Jurassic Park theme – easily the best theme John William’s ever wrote – swells, trying to play on the wonder you felt twenty years ago…and then what you see falls horribly flat. Maybe if Michael Giacchino hadn’t stood on Williams’s shoulders in that moment, it would have worked. But as it is in the final cut, it doesn’t quite work.

The other things that got to me was the volume on product placement. In the first maybe ten minutes, I saw Beats headphones, Samsung Galaxy something phones, Samsung televisions, and Starbucks coffee cups. And then a character in the flick comments upon the park having sold out, saying they should name the new dinosaurs directly after the sponsors: the Verizonasaurus, for example.(2) The product placement was already irritating, but then to have a character in the movie comment about selling out to corporations is wildly insulting.

Add to that the solidly mediocre acting of Bryce Dallas Howard, the predictable story, the logical improbability that a boy in high school and his much younger brother could repair a jeep that’s sat idle for 20+ years, and, well, you have a solidly average film starring a very likable Chris Pratt.

It’ll probably make millions.

  1. There probably won’t be spoilers.
  2. I don’t remember the exact lines.

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