Was anyone else freaked out when they first saw Dinosaurs on the big screen? Not adorable Land Before Time-style Dinosaurs… but aggressive, big, angry dinosaurs that are actively hunting humans? I was a kid when I first saw the original Jurassic Park film– and it did a fantastic job of both filling my head with wonder, and then scaring the living shit out of me. The subsequent Jurassic films, quite honestly, failed to live up to the original…and honestly, how often do sequels and three-quals really match up to the originals? I have yet to figure out whether it due to the fact that sequels are inherently less awe-inspiring because, well, they’re not the original. Most people do not care who the second people to land on the moon were or the third for that matter– because, hey, thats already been done. It could also be an issue of expectations… we love a film so much and build it up in our heads so much that nothing would live up. Or it could also be that the people making, said sequel, are just trying to cash in on the popularity of the first film (like Hangover 2 or 2Fast 2Furious). I have noticed, however, that given enough time, or enough sequels, and the films generally start getting back on track (The Fast and Furious or Mission Impossible Franchises are fantastic examples of this..they find their style–their niche and go for it). And that is what has happened, or so it appears, with the Jurassic franchise with their newest installment. Jurassic World is the film we have been waiting for and, while it is not as good as the original, it is the best sequel to date.
22 years after the events, and failure, of the original Jurassic Park, the new and improved luxury resort named Jurassic World is about to unveil its newest attraction: The Indominus Rex. Whenever the park unveils a new attraction, attendance for the park skyrocketed, and this newest attraction is their best yet. It is their first genetically modified and original dinosaur that is a combination of a few different dinos. While showing possible investors the new dinosaur, Claire Dearing, the park director, also has her nephews visiting for the week.
The owner of the park believes that the Indominus Rex could be dangerous and decides to have Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) take a look at the dino and its enclosure to make sure it is safe before unveiling the beast. Claire, reluctantly, agrees and bring him over to the dinosaur. Owen suggests that the IndRex could be very dangerous because it has not grown up around other dinosaurs and lacks any sort of social structure. He is proven right moments later, when he sees scratch marks along the inside of the IndRex’s enclosure, suggesting that it escaped. This was a trap set up by the dino, however, and it attempts to eat everyone who went to check on it and escape through the massive doors located at the front of its habitat that are left open.
It escapes and a tragic chain of event happens in which many of the other dinosaurs go crazy and start attacking the people in the resort. Literally, Pterodactylus try to kill all the humans in an aerial assault at one point. The nephews, rather, than follow the rules, have gone off somewhere landing themselves in a world of trouble and it us up to Owen and his trained velociraptor to take down the IndRex and save the park.
I loved certain parts of this films and hated other parts. For instance, they could have left out the story of the nephews and I suspect this film would have been far better for it. It felt like the story sort of derailed every time they were on-screen. Much of their scenes were pointless to the overall story and were added merely as a vehicle for either shock or awe. I particularly did not like the older brother as his character seems extremely shallow and unrelatable. Although the younger brother wasn’t too much better as his personality was grating to my very soul…maybe i am just turning into a grumpy old man? I feel like, on some level, Spielberg included children because he wanted this film to be closer to the original film– but it fails here.
I also didn’t like that they killed Zara, the kids guardians. They did it for no reason other than to have her die in spectacular fashion and you just end up feeling unsettled by it. I think they tried to make you dislike her character and so her death might have felt a bit warranted, but they did not do a good enough job to pull this off and, quite honestly, it took my out of the film a little bit… I wonder if I was the only one who felt this way.
Also some of the script was a bit too cheesy for my taste… Chris Pratt and other characters, in a lot of cases, sound like they’re trying to deliver these deep insightful one-liners but, as the audience, it all feels like way too much common sense to feel real. Like seriously… an island FULL of scientists, and the only one who is smart is the redneck velociraptor trainer? They spend half the film telling him how ignorant and stupid he is and then the other half basically begging him for help.
I do love, however, that certain dinosaurs (the velociraptor and the T-Rex) were the heroes of the story. I mean, I really went to see this film expecting Dinos to attack humans, but a dino-on-dino brawl? I was a kid again! The fight scenes have you rooting for Rexy, even though in previous films he essentially was IndRex, the villain. I loved this twist even if it was a little ridiculous and a little predictable… it was the good kind of predictable!
I would like to say that this was a fantastic role for Pratt, and he DID do a good job in the film, but I suspect anyone could have done the role just as good? I could be wrong, but since there wasn’t a lot unique about Owen, he stood out only because he was the main protagonist. I do, however, look forward to future installments with Owen as the main lead and maybe, just maybe, his character will grow.
But let’s be honest… you don’t watch the Jurassic films for a great plot, dialogue, or character development, these things are great when they do happen but, we watch these films for the kick-ass dinosaurs!
Plot (out of 20)
The plot is a little weak for a couple of reasons… one, why the hell would we continue to bread clearly dangerous animals, did we learn nothing from Jurassic Park? Two, are we really trying to weaponize dinos? I can suspend my belief for the sake of watching Dinosaurs fight, but that doesn’t make it right. I also hated the whole “no one listens to the guy with common sense until it’s too late”– it happens so much in films its laughable and unrealistic and stops be from connecting with certain characters. (5/20)
Characters (Out of 20)
Do the Dinosaurs count as characters? Who cares– I’m counting them! THIS IS MY REVIEW!!! Outside of Pratt and Claire and the dinos– I could take or leave many of the other characters. I felt that the nephews were generally not needed in this film and it just distracted from the story most of the time when they were involved. (13/10)
Acting (out of 20)
The film was acting fairly well, some of the issues I had were more issues with the script and less with HOW they were delivered. Much of Pratt’s lines were a bit too preachy. Other than that the characters– even the ones I disliked, were well acted. (18/20)
Storytelling (out of 30)
Full points for the Claire/Pratt storyline and zero points for the nephews storyline. As I said earlier, both of them were hard to like and they derailed and otherwise tightly focuses film. They did a great job, however, of trying in the velociraptor training with the film as a whole and they led that through a great turn of events and a solid finale. (15/30)
Ad-Campaign (out of 10)
Dude… Dinosaurs sell… put them in any ad and it will do well. Throw in Pratt MASTERING dino’s and you have millions of people buying in. (10/10)