Jurassic World (2015)

I remember watching Jurassic Park in the movie theater after it first came out. It was the first time I'd ever heard a theater that used 7:1 surround sound, and I could actually hear the raptors circling around me as they went after me and the actors on screen. This was the first film that had such a significant portion of the movie that was realistic CG, and most of the time, I couldn't even tell. Yes, there were some physics issues (there always are) but the special effects were mind blowing. Since then, the same or similar effects have been used on screen in quite a few movies, but the original holds a special spot in my heart.

This movie takes place twenty some-odd years after the last one. You may remember there were two sequels that already happened, and you may have wished that they never came out. The fact is, I remember watching them, but I only remember bits of both movies. They both had many issues, and the biggest issue was that they tried to outdo the original with more and bigger dinosaurs, and that detracted from the actual manufacturing of a story line that was not blatantly derivative.

This movie falls into the same hole as the two that followed the original. The story is about a park (re-titled as a world) that is already in operation when - surprise - dinosaurs get loose. We follow a couple of kids around as their unrelated protectors try to get them to safety and an evil corporation tries to co-opt things. So, at least they didn't feel the need to create a bigger dino... wait. Yup, they slapped together a bigger dinosaur to be a bigger threat - literally.

Chris Pratt has made the switch from dopey, funny guy in Parks and Recreation to the smarmy action star that Bruce Willis used to be. He did a fantastic job in Guardians of the Galaxy, and he does a very convincing performance here. Honestly, the one time I thought he wasn't looking in the right place (a common issue in CG films like the Star Wars prequels) was when he was talking to his live-action costar, Bryce Dallas Howard. She is an executive at the park and aunt of the children. She was kind of wooden, but I think that was her take on the character. The fact is, the romantic story between these two shouldn't have been there - it didn't work, and was too intrusive.

Ty Simpkins is essentially playing the role of the young boy in the first movie. He may as well be the same damn character. He exists to allow little kids (who came to watch the dinosaurs in the movie) to project themselves into the film in a role that is custom built for them. Nick Robinson, playing his older brother, is essentially the girl from the first movie aged about three or four years. When the two of them find a deralict vehicle and Nick decides to fix it, I couldn't help but think that they could replace "It's a UNIX system! I know this!" with "It's got a bad fuel pump! I know this!"

The kids exist to create dangerous situations and to increase personal interest in the events, I get that. I just think they could have done this a better way. Maybe they could have increased the role of the evil overlord corporation, headed by Vincent D'Onofrio. I know, there seems like no world in which more Vincent D'Onofrio would benefit anyone, but this world could have used it. I was happy to see B. D. Wong reprising his role as the chief geneticist from the first movie.

The science of this movie has gotten its fair share of press, and I don't really have a lot to contribute. I'd have preferred that they update their models to reflect the intervening 20 years of understanding about dinosaurs, but they made an artistic decision, and that is that. I can't say I agree with their choices when it comes to the general story, either. They create a dinosaur in secret, and no one tells anyone about it. In any large organization, you'd have to go through studies determining processes to handle them, restrain them, how to put them down, emergency procedures, and lots of other stuff that didn't happen. Also - when bad things happen with giant animals, how do you not have a fleet of helicopters with stun cannons and nets on hand? These animals are worth billions of dollars, and you do nothing to protect them from themselves?

Direction was okay
Story was not great
Acting was pretty good
Effects were excellent
Dialog was good

Bottom Line: The second best of the Jurassic Park movies. It just doesn't seem like there is enough wiggle in the story to give us a better show.



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