Movie Review: Jurassic World

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Twenty-two years after the first disastrous attempt to create theme park with real dinosaurs as the attractions cost several lives, a new monster threatens even greater carnage.

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Colin Trevorrow, 2015

In a world where the first dinosaur was cloned twenty years ago, the dinosaur-filled theme park-slash-zoo (think SeaWorld for dinosaurs) has finally opened on Isla Nublar. Heavily corporate-funded, Jurassic World is a prime holiday destination, but dinosaurs just aren’t exciting people like they used to. Employee Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) oversees a project to create a new, more exciting exhibition: the all-new, all-modified Indominus Rex. When park owner Masrani (Irrfan Khan) comes to visit on the same weekend as Claire’s nephews, she must choose between showing off the new dinosaur to her boss and looking after her family. She chooses her boss; however, it isn’t long before things with the Indominus Rex start to go awry, and velociraptor wrangler Owen (Chris Pratt) is enlisted to help prevent disaster.

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Jurassic World is like Spielberg viewed through the eyes of a hyperactive child. Director Colin Trevorrow has seen all Spielberg’s tricks, and knows how to imitate them, but not how to use them to their best effect. The result? Jurassic World is a shoddily written, poorly constructed mess of a movie. Trevorrow’s direction is sophomoric.The tension fails to build, as neither the wonder nor the threat of bringing freakin’ dinosaurs back to life is properly developed. (The mososaur is cool, though.) There are a few really intriguing ideas in the film – daily interaction with dinosaurs; the corporatisation of science (BD Wong’s Henry Wu is particularly fascinating in this regard, and shares one of the film’s best scenes with Irrfan Khan before being wasted for the rest of the film); the relationship between Pratt and his awesome raptor gang, who are the most sympathetic characters in the fim (the raptors, not Chris Pratt). None of these ideas are given their due, though, all jettisoned in favour of a shakycam Park-lite ending. This ending is made moderately better with an awesome moment of Claire badassing up and the return of a beloved character, but it doesn’t give us anything new or different to think about.

The human characters receive the worst treatment in this confused mix. Poor Bryce Dallas Howard gives Claire her all, but Claire gets the worst treatment from the film. She’s given the Alan Grant treatment in regards to children, but the film ignores that the history of women and men in cinema is different. Claire is told point blank that she will one day have children by her own sister (an underused Judy Greer), though the two kids in this movie would hardly encourage her. They WATCH HER SAVE OWEN’S LIFE BY KILLING A DINOSAUR, then specifically request to go with him instead of her. That moment tells you a lot about what the filmmakers think of their heroine, who, running through the jungle in her high heels, is so much better than this film deserves. Of the two boys, Ty Simpkins fares marginally better as the younger Grey (written much too young for the actor’s 12 years), while Nick Robinson is a one dimensional cliche of a teenager as boring older brother Zach. The usually dependable Chris Pratt is an aesthetically pleasing dullard as Owen – he’s given zero opportunities to cut loose, and is blank and boring as a result. Vincent D’onofrio provides a reliably sleazy baddie, but like the rest of the cast, he’s given nothing to do. The movie relies heavily on nostalgia to tell you how to feel about the happenings on-screen, but all the musical throwbacks and character homages do is make you wish you were watching the far superior Jurassic Park instead.

Jurassic World

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