The time for my 2nd most anticipated movie of the year was upon me this past weekend (
4 weeks ago now) and I went to see it opening night with very high expectations. Jurassic World delivered on those expectations and reminded me just how much I liked dinosaurs.
(sorry that this review is so late … I’ve been busy)
The Set Up
In case you have no idea what Jurassic World is about I’ll give you a brief synopsis. The director of this film (no it’s not Spielberg) set out to create a follow-up to the first film and not of Jurassic Park: The Lost World and/or the third installment. I think that’s pretty important to note and to be aware of before going into the film. Anyways, 22 years after the incidents of Jurassic Park – the actual Park (now named Jurassic World) has finally opened to great success. What’s surprising is that even though it succeeds at bringing people in and selling tickets, the “wow” factor of seeing a Dinosaur has all but diminished. People want to be shocked and amazed, so InGen (the company that owns the park and the attractions) is pushed to develop new “species” in order to keep the crowds pleased. Or, at least that’s what we’re lead to believe. The mad scientists eventually come up with a new kind of carnivore and name it Indominus Rex – who inevitably breaks free from its confinement and wreaks havoc upon the theme park and it’s attendees.
Ok, I have to get this out of the way before I explode. To all the critics out there that keep saying, “it just doesn’t capture the magic from the first film…” how about you do me a favor and have a nice glass of shut the hell up. This film is not meant to be Jurassic Park … it’s called Jurassic World for a reason; it’s an entirely different movie that plays off of themes and events from the first film. As the reviews started filling up RottenTomatoes and MetaCritic that’s all I kept reading over and over again. Come on people, write something original or at least come up with a better way to say that you didn’t like the movie. How can a 4th installment in one of the more successful franchises out there be held accountable for not being better than the first film? Jurassic Park was amazing, plain and simple, but it’s not like it was perfect. Jurassic World was just as amazing but for other reasons.
Dinosaurs Will Always Be Awesome
I can still remember sitting down at a restaurant and my parents explaining Jurassic Park – the book – to me and my brother and my mind being blown.
“Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that DINOSAURS can be brought back to life!?”
…was my initial reaction to what my parents had just told me. That was probably the best thing for an 8-year-old kid to ever hear. All my life dinosaurs were probably one of the coolest things to learn about. From the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Triceratops or to my favorite – the Stegosaurus, I never grew out of love for those giant thunderous lizards that once roamed our planet. Come to think of it, that’s probably it right there – the simple fact that these beasts actually existed blew my mind as a child and still does today. So to see them on the big screen again after all these years was a treat regardless if the movie was any good. Sure the “magic” of seeing a dinosaur come to life might be lost on us with today’s technology and advancements in cinema, but every time a dinosaur would roar, my inner child would grin and would cease to give a damn about that so-called “magic”. That’s my point I guess, that no matter if you’re an 8-year-old kid to a 33-year-old
adult, dinosaurs are always going to be and will remain AWESOME!
Adding to the discussion of dinosaurs – why is it that the herbivores never really get the love that they deserve? These movies have always pushed the meat eaters time and time again. How about spending at least 30 minutes showcasing some of the actual dinosaurs not out to kill everything and everyone? I loved seeing the “petting zoo” area of the park, but it was skimmed over so fast that had I blinked I might’ve missed it. I just wish that for once, one of these films would do the plant eaters justice and give them a time to shine. (no – watching a beat up Apatosaurus die doesn’t count)
Have I mentioned that Chris Pratt is so hot right now? Man that guy is really on a role with landing leads in great films – and quite deservedly if you ask me. He’s got charm and a masculinity that seems to just work with every part he plays. He should really be thanking that show about good ol’Indiana for putting him on the map! (if I lost you I’m talking about Parks & Recreation) The only way to make Chris Pratt shine even more is to compliment his skills with that of a quality lead actress. Bryce Dallas Howard oozes with great acting abilities and doesn’t hold anything back with her role in Jurassic World. What I enjoyed is that she wasn’t just another woman placed in the film to scream at the dinosaurs rampaging through the park. She actually had some gumption and was a stronger character than what many might’ve thought at first glance. (yes, myself included) Which just adds to some of the more compelling reasons to keep watching the screen.
With every “good” there’s typically a “bad” not too far behind. I have to say that the casting director should be fired for casting the 2 kids for this film. For one reason, they don’t look like they could be brothers – at all. Another, the older one constantly makes me want to punch him in the face. This might not be his acting per say because he might’ve been directed to be that way, but it was so stereotyped that it just got annoying. Yes, we get it, you’re an adolescent going through that teen angst where you hate your little brother, have your own pubescent issues and are constantly glued to your electronic device(s). How many times must we see a character like this? You know what would’ve made it better? How about you make the two siblings actually get along like me and my brothers do – that would’ve made for something refreshingly different.
What made Jurassic World special while I watched was pointing out all the “easter eggs” that were sprinkled in like little obvious gems to those who are true fans of the franchise. For those of you who don’t quite understand what an “easter egg” is here’s a link to educate yourself with rather than me explaining: click here. Moving on – so as the movie was playing out I kept almost physically pointing at the screen saying, “oh look there!, that’s awesome how they included that, and this, and that’s so cool how they included that there!” … I just kept finding little things the entire way through. Afterwards it was hard to remember them all but here are some that were noteworthy enough that I wrote down immediately when we returned home:
- the final showdown between the original T-Rex and Indominus
- how Bryce brought said T-Rex out with the flare
- the Raptor and T-Rex duo
- the Jeeps from the original film
- the night vision goggles
- the original doors to the park
- Mr. DNA
- the raptor painting in the cafeteria from the original film
- Spinosaurus skeleton being destroyed by the T-Rex
- Chaos theory being cleverly illustrated with blood (“life finds a way“)
Sure, the first Jurassic Park wow’ed us and made us giggle like little kids when we saw the dinosaurs on screen for the very first time but what was fun about Jurassic World is that it did the same thing – at least for me. I think that in today’s age of visual effects we’ve grown to expect everything to look real. Far too often do we take for granted the time and effort put into films to make it so that we as an audience stay immersed and completely enthralled with what is playing out on screen. Kids these days (wow, did I just say that?) have no idea what “fake” is because of how well artists and directors come together to craft these motion pictures that fool everyone into thinking what they’re watching is actually real. Of course we know that Dinosaurs don’t exist but films like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World do their best to try and convince us otherwise.
Just watch this short clip below to see everything that goes into making such a simple scene as believable as possible …
Sum It Up
If you couldn’t tell by the review, I enjoyed Jurassic World but I also knew that I would. I loved Jurassic Park and was an avid enthusiast of the other 2 films that followed. Granted they weren’t on par with the original but they still delivered on what I wanted most and that was Dinosaur mayhem and wonderment. However, Jurassic World seemed to put forth a valiant effort in trying to capture more of what made Jurassic Park exciting. It delivered on story (the subplot with InGen and everything), strong lead character roles, fun comedy, a few scary jumps/thrills, and of course DINOSAURS. Point being, that if you nit-picked this film to death then you obviously didn’t understand what you were going to go see … it’s not meant to be an Oscar winner … it’s meant to be fun, and that’s exactly what it was.
Final Movie Rating for Jurassic World: 8/10