‘Jurassic World’ Reminds Us That the Park Should’ve Remained Closed

GameStop, Inc.

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It’s an all too familiar story. A creator with great ambition and the best of intentions creates a monster of unintended consequences. However, I’m not talking about the story of Jurassic World. I’m talking about the people who made Jurassic World. In an attempt to resurrect the series of films started by Steven Spielberg, director Collin Trevorrow and company were too busy thinking about what they could instead of what they should do. The film follows the basic premise of all Jurassic Park movies: People see dinosaurs, dinosaurs eat people. Like the creature created in the film, Jurassic World is an untamable beast of a movie, too big to control.

Tossing out the other sequels to Jurassic Park and over 20 years later, the dream of John Hammond is come to life as Jurassic World is a thriving theme park seeing over 20,000 visitors a day. The park is overseen by Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), a shrewd corporatist. As her two young nephews, the dino-obsessed Gary (Ty Simpkins) and the teenage horndog Zach (Nick Robinson), Claire is busy in trying to prepare the presentation of a new genetically modified dinosaur to the park’s chief investor Masrani (Irrfan Khan). Uncertain if the power of this new creature called Indominus-Rex is properly contained, Masrani asks Claire to seek the council of Owen (Chris Pratt), a Navy veteran who has made great strides in taming velociraptors. But Masrani isn’t the only one to notice Owen’s work as Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), InGen’s head of private security, wants to train raptors to be military weapons. I know you won’t believe this, but the dinosaurs get loose, wreak havoc, and kill countless people along the way. Will man ever learn?

Among the film’s biggest failings is the manner with which all of its characters are these broad archetypes. Since the film is in such a hurry to get the prehistoric chaos, the broad archetypes are what will suffice. Claire is an uptight, emotionless bitch in the early going, only to gain her humanity once the “assests,” as she calls them, begin taking lives. As Claire gains her humanity she also sheds layers of clothing. As the lead, Owen is an astoundingly bland character. Being right about almost everything from start to finish, Owen’s character arc is basically a straight line. It’s an astonishingly boring character that wastes the natural charms of Chris Pratt, who is able to only sneak in one or two decent one-liners. Claire’s nephews are only in the film because, I guess, young people were in danger in the first film so we need kids in danger this time around. Then there’s Masrani as the idealistic billionaire who doesn’t think everything through, Hoskins as the gung-ho military man, and Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong), the only returning actor from the first film, as the scientist assured that he’s doing right even though his creations are still killing people 20 years later.

In many ways, Jurassic World tries to be the Aliens to Jurassic Park’s Alien. Not only is it a much more action oriented movie, there are number of plot points and scenes that are reminiscent of James Cameron’s sequel. There is the corporate element trying to turn the raptors into weapons, and a moment that is practically lifted from Aliens where a group of soldiers are slaughtered, most of this viewed through the cameras attached to the dino-fodder. The film’s resemblance to Aliens leads to some extremely predictable moments in the film, stuff you can see coming more than an hour before it happens.

Did you ever see Jurassic Park? Because the people who made Jurassic World did and are really eager to show you they did. Jurassic World is overflowing with callbacks to the first film, which become more and more grating as the film continues on. The callbacks also bring a lot of attention to the wobbly internal logic in the film. Not only do characters talk about Hammond’s previous failures while doing something entirely worse, it is made perfectly clear that the world knows about the events of the first film. One character, Lowery (Jake Johnson), wears a vintage Jurassic Park t-shirt he bought online for $150. At his workstation, a book written by Dr. Ian Malcom, Jeff Goldblum from the first two films, sits on the shelf. It oddly establishes that the events of the first film are public knowledge, and even with all the horror stories and casualties, nobody is dissuaded from seeking employment or enjoyment at the park.

Trevorrow does construct a few effective action set pieces, but these fleeting moments aren’t enough to compensate for the mess of a script by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, with a story credit to Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa. In another baffling decision, Trevorrow opts to show the dreaded Indominus-Rex early and often while saving the T-Rex for the final showdown – shouldn’t it be the other way around? 20-plus years of CGI in movies have diminished our wonder for the once impossible effects, and the heavily CGI-infused imagery never evokes wonder or awe. John Williams’ iconic theme from Jurassic Park isn’t as awe-inspiring when playing over visuals of a crowded outdoor shopping center. Jurassic World is a film of cardboard characters, nonexistent internal logic, and completely muddled thematics. As we’ve seen time and time again, there are some places that man should never meddle, like sequels to Jurassic Park.

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  1. Courtney June 29, 2015 Reply

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