A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Produced By: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley
Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio
Running Time: 124 Minutes
As the old saying goes; “If you choose to play God, an Indominous Rex will run rampant, killing everything in its path.” I believe that was Charles Darwin, but I could be wrong…
Fourteen years have passed since the last Jurassic Park picture, twenty-two since the original. This modernised vision from Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) was not only an inevitable release, but it was always going to generate a sensational amount of revenue. What we couldn’t foresee however was just how much Jurassic World was going to make on opening weekend.
Now sitting atop of the all-time opening weekend Box Office list, the latest creature feature has proven almighty and conquering as a moneymaking juggernaut, but not as a standout blockbuster capable of reaching the calibre of Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece.
The film takes place twenty-two years after the original park failed to open and introduces us to the now-functioning Jurassic World, despite everything that transpired before. The gates are finally open to the public, the park is finally running, and Isla Nublar is the home of roaming herbivores, vehicle tours guided by Jimmy Fallon and four trained velociraptors.
Addressing the issue of deceasing interest amongst visitors, advisors and chiefs of the park decide to genetically breed a hybrid dinosaur to regain mass interest.
The end result comes in the form of The Indominous Rex (the iOS 8 of Dinosaurs); a predatory behemoth, capable of savage destruction and chaos.
With DNA from various animals coursing through its system, the apex predator has the ability to sense heat, remember like an elephant and even camouflage; making it virtually unstoppable as it runs amok around the heavily inhabited island.
Much has been said regarding the modern day blockbuster. The desire to capture the essence from the classics that set the standard back in the late 20th century is ever-present today, however very little have been able to grasp what made these classics so special.
Following the irritating trend, Jurassic World possesses an incessant need to reference the original from 1993 through homage and symbol. Proving to hinder more than help the film, these constant references and tie-ins to Jurassic Park serve a reminder of the qualities that made Spielberg’s epic so masterful.
Jurassic Park was thrilling, suspenseful, entertaining, scary and goofily amusing all the same. From what was a perfect mix of tone and spectacle back in 1993, Jurassic World tries far too hard emulate the qualities of the original, falling very short in the process.
The problems with Jurassic World begin with the poor character structure. With a leading cast consisting of minimal chemistry and under-explored, sometimes ridiculous subplots, we’re left in the dark on numerous occasions. The script shoehorns a size 13 story into a size 11 film time after time, resulting in confusion and immense dissatisfaction.
Fitting the subplots in so jarringly means we have no sympathy for the characters and don’t fully understand their predicaments, therefore, we don’t care for them. This is so much the case, there were points throughout the film you’d be rooting for the Indominous Rex to mow down the two infuriating younger characters and be at leisure with their scattered remains.
The leads (Chris Pratt & Bryce Dallas Howard) have little chemistry, whilst every single character possesses a fatal flaw, more often than not being that they’re severely under-developed and ultimately boring.
The world that the film has created is very meta and riddled with irony, attempting to be clever and self-aware. For all the prominent metaphoric images on consumerism and commercialism, the shameless Starbucks, Beats By Dr. Dre and Samsung product placements are curious to me.
Albeit clever and deliberate, these product placements were irritating and reminiscent of a Transformers film, which is never good to see under any circumstance.
The major issue with Jurassic World is that it had no excuse not to be better.
With two previous sequels to the original that under-performed, fourteen years to work on the story and an astonishing budget, guaranteed to profit excessively; this should have been matching the original, even surpassing it. Why should we settle for a film that’s “Better than The Lost World at least”?
With more money being pumped into these modern sequels than Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, we as an audience should demand more from our blockbusters; a pass is simply not good enough anymore.
When broken down, Jurassic World is nothing more than a cat-and-mouse, two hour monster romp. Predictable clichés within chase sequences, action set pieces and narrative arks prove as a disservice for the film’s enjoyability-factor.
Some character’s intentions are completely insane, whilst monster showdowns felt unoriginal and lacklustre.
The film is not without its commendable qualities. As far as writing is concerned, there are some very intelligent lines of dialogue that paint a solid picture of the current state of the situation, providing basic reasoning for certain narrative choices. Chris Pratt provides some moments of humour, whilst the CGI effects are very impressive.
The inclusion of an animatronic dinosaur added so much to the film at a crucial moment which salvaged some strong credibility, but all in all, we needed more; the aforementioned qualities are to be expected within a film such as this.
Jurassic World wasn’t one of the year’s most disappointing films, but in some ways it was, simply because it wasn’t the film it should have been. With an overriding feeling of sterility and conventional progression, it didn’t capture the quintessence of the original in the slightest, like it needed to.
The adventure, sixty-five million and twenty-two years in the making, is more a sequel to Godzilla than Jurassic Park, and it’s a great shame.
It may be a lot of fun at the movies, but we deserve more out of a franchise such as this. A “pretty good” just doesn’t cut it anymore.