Jurassic World June 17, 2015
Since its already fulfilled the world record for the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time, I suppose it doesn’t matter to most people that Jurassic World doesn’t cover any new ground, that it doesn’t provide a very good case for yet another Jurassic Park sequel, that its thirst for money is crystal clear instead of unapparent. My complaints shouldn’t suggest that it isn’t an entertaining, enjoyable film; they should suggest that, despite a pining for more teeth and more thrills, you won’t find yourself experiencing anything besides a popcorn-ready case of déjà vu. But the action is visceral, the attitude adventuresome, the actors enthused. Jurassic World doesn’t have a lot of originality whirring around in its tiny little head, but it’s just well-made and buoyant enough to provide for big-budgeted escapism worthy of one’s precious time.
The plot remains the same: dino-based amusement park seems sound at first glance, but goes haywire after its biggest exhibit knocks down its apparently impenetrable restrictions. This time around, the beast is not a sassy T-Rex but a selfish, genetically modified Indominus Rex, who is larger, more intelligent, and only content when killing for sport and terrorizing civilians. Our male lead is a wily Chris Pratt, his love interest a waspish Bryce Dallas Howard. I won’t go into details regarding the characters — it’s the same old, same old, all patrons relatable, all with baggage that does nothing besides add intrigue to the recycled plot.
Movie consumer guide The Dissolve put it best when describing Jurassic World as being “fun” though “ultimately more of the same in brand-new packaging." It doesn’t so much insult our intelligence as it does figure that bigger is better, that we won’t notice that just because the I-Rex is larger doesn’t mean some of the attack sequences won’t feel familiar. Take a look at the scene, for instance, in which Howard’s nephews, portrayed by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson, are trapped in a tour vehicle while the I-Rex roams the premises. Eventually (and expectedly), they are nearly killed, but escape in just the nick of time. But wasn’t this exact moment caught on camera twenty-two years ago with Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello as the young, would-be victims? Wasn’t it just a little better, just a little bit more, I don’t know, new?
Complaints abound. I could roast Jurassic World all day for making us go along with the fact that Bryce Dallas Howard spends the entire film in high heels, that Chris Pratt is able to ride a motorcycle sixty miles per hour through the jungle without running into any obstacles, that villain Vincent D’Onofrio somehow believes that one can actually weaponize dinosaurs to replace drones (?), that characters decide to run from hideout to hideout during a dino brawl when all they have to do is simply leave the premises. But I digress. Jurassic World provides everything a fan of the franchise could ever want. The monstrous reptiles are back (though they looked less computer animated in the ’93 original) and better than ever, and the new cast is sound. By keeping in mind that nothing new will be in store, Jurassic World will make for a satisfying, well-made update. B-