2015, Movies

Jurassic World (2015, Colin Trevorrow)

I have no idea who was clamouring for yet another Jurassic Park sequel over 20 years after the original movie but somebody must have been. My memory is that this movie got some pretty good reviews, certainly better than the reviews for the last sequel. But I imagine the pitch meeting was “This film will climax with the T Rex fighting an even scarier dinosaur” and that’s all the suits needed to greenlight it. Certainly, the script wasn’t the reason.

There is the minorest of SPOILERS but I mostly dance around it.

Is “Jurassic World” really enough of a rebrand to make people forget about what happened at “Jurassic Park”? The script thinks so. (When Facebook changed it’s name, they changed it to Meta, not Faceatlas.) And it calls back to the original film in many other ways, ways that feel like pandering to me but seem to have worked on the audience. There are kids at risk who are not the children of the adults responsible for them, there are old “Jurassic Park” jeeps and then there is the appearance of a certain actor, which I will get to in a minute.

But the problems I have with the script are not as much with the story necessarily as much as they are with the actual dialogue and some other fundamentals. For example, Owen is a Navy vet. And he is incredible at working with pack animals. Again, he’s from the Navy. (Did nobody stop and say “why the Navy?” Do they think that this means he works with reptiles?) But that might be forgivable if there weren’t so many cheesy lines. I mean, I don’t know how wrote these words – there are four people credited with this bad script – but some of these lines are cheesy.

Everything really deteriorates at the end, around the vaunted climax. That climax is a bit like Alien vs. Predator; you know there are some hardcore fans of this franchise who are desperate to see something like this but, for the rest of us, removing human beings from a story where all we care about are the human beings is a fatal decision. The final “battle” (if you will) is dumb and boring. And the thing that ends it is dumber than I could have ever imagined. (Just ask yourself if you’re aware of anything like this happening in nature. A crocodile, sure, but we’re not talking about a crocodile.)

As you can tell, I didn’t particularly enjoy this. I felt the jokes didn’t land that well and I generally felt a really strong sense of deja vu for the first film. Nothing works as well as the first movie.

The presence of Dr. Wu brings up another problem: I have no idea what Michael Crichton would have felt about this – I assume that the Michael Crichton of his last few books would have thought it was fine – but it seems really weird that the message of the film appears to be “it’s not crazy billionaires you have to be scared of, it’s evil scientists.” In real life, I suspect this is the other way around more often than not. (If you’re going to “play god” as a scientist, you do need funding.) But by including Dr. Wu, we have this idea that he’s going to do this terrible stuff regardless of who gives him money, as opposed to what I thought the message of the first film was, where the connection between too much money and “playing god” was a little more nuanced. Masrani is one of the good guys in this film, that feels wrong and contrary to the message of the first movie.

5/10

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