Review: ‘Jurassic World’ (chaos theory still in effect)

Underdeveloped characters and a meandering middle act culminates into the ending we want to see, but is it worth the 3D ticket and a OMG super-theater sound system? Hells yeah.

After the famous failure of John Hammond’s dinosaur park, the realization of the late entrepeneur’s dream at last comes to fruition: Jurassic World. Bigger than it was originally envisioned, the ten-year old park is losing visitors, prompting the park scientists into thinking outside the genetics box: cooking up their own hybrid creature. When their prize asset escapes, corporate suit Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) enlists the local dino wrangler (Chris Pratt) to find her two nephews missing in the park. Meanwhile, a military-minded slug (Vincent D’Onofrio) decides to take the opportunity to provide a demonstration of using InGen dino-power for future battlefield operations. What could possibly go wrong?

Twenty years have passed since the wonder of Jurassic Park, the ultimate zoo where extinct dinosaurs roam the earth again. With advances in film technology and real-world technology, the new park is a state-of-the-art containment system that allows human meat to look giant predators in the eye and feel superior – until the running and screaming, of course. Mirroring the original story and cast, it felt like a step backward trading a corporate robot for the lady scientist lead and saddling our requisite “kids in danger” with homegrown family issues. Still, the writers clearly knew what they wanted for an ending and that doesn’t disappoint.

The kids in the original film were better actors, had less plot complications, and were far less annoying; we’ll gloss over finding decades-old gasoline-powered vehicles and having ANY chance of getting them to actually work. Then there’s the sex appeal of Bryce Dallas Howard transitioning from cold automaton into rescue ranger – all while hilariously running through the jungle in five-inch FMP heels culminating in a sweaty, slightly dirty Boris Vallejo art pose of leg, cleavage, and dinosaur; yeah, it’s a movie, but really? One of the best-written and more entertaining characters is barely in the movie, a thankless desk jockey with toy dinosaurs on his workstation channeling Wash from “Firefly” (“I think we should call it your grave!”)

The plum role, of course, went to Dino-Lord Chris Pratt (good luck if you can remember his character’s name) for doing the actual badassary: playing alpha human to a four-pack of velociraptors. To be realistic, the farther we move away from this story point, the less enjoyable the new movie is. The third act is perfectly setup for dino-on-dino carnage and stupid humans in the middle of it. From beginning to end, references to the orignal movie pop up, from the “temporary graphics” DNA cartoon guy and reptile-patterned night-vision goggles to the familiar musical cues of John Williams original score. While it seems longer than two hours to get there, Jurassic World pays off predictably but with all the right beats, leaving the best impression a modern Hollywood popcorn film can ask for: leaving the theater with a smile on your face and something to chat about on social media.

(a three skull recommendation out of four)

3 comments

  1. […] Jurassic World rebooted the old Jurassic Park franchise in an interesting way using new film technology to show things audiences hadn’t seen before, but the Fallen Kingdom sequel pulled the rug out by reducing dinosaurs to essentially zombie hordes on “The Walking Dead,” conveniently kept around for the moment characters drop their guard so the chomping can start again (read: it’s not about the dinosaurs anymore). The Maisie Lockwood reveal of Fallen Kingdom using dinosaur DNA cloning research as a sneaky way to ethically develop human cloning has its story merits, but splitting the concept in the same film didn’t serve either well, especially since fans showed up to see stupid humans getting eaten by gigantic predators. Reportedly the last film of the franchise (for now), the old JP crew has gotten pulled back in for one final dino throw-down, but can filmmakers teach an old dinosaur franchise new tricks? […]

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