By Connor Frankenberger (British Columbia, Canada)
Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, comes approximately 14 years after the movie watching world gave up on ever getting a good Jurassic Park sequel. This time at least, we get a plot frame that is completely different fromJurassic Park 2 and 3. It’s not greedy idiots sending lambs for slaughter to an island overrun by dinosaurs to be inevitably eaten. No, we actually have a functioning theme park! And people go there as a vacation now since it’s “safe”. What could possibly go wrong…?
Everything is the answer you’re looking for, and no thankfully I’m not talking about the quality of the overall film. When buying a ticket with “Jurassic World” written on it, a set of expectations and visions form in your brain of how this movie is going to take shape. Whatever you imagined, I’m almost certain you’re mostly right. Like me, you will likely be neither disappointed or surprised (or rather, disappointed you weren’t surprised).
Whatever tales you may have heard about bad CGI are false. The park, the dinosaurs and the landscape look great. There’s some minor enhancements to the dinosaur animatronix that some have complained don’t look like real dinosaurs. If that’s you, let me ask you this: have you ever actually seen a real dinosaur in person? Didn’t think so.
Then of course there’s our huge ensemble of characters. Jurassic Park had a small group of intermingled characters that worked very well off each other and really felt like they were united in the conflict together. In World, we get more characters, more plots, and sadly, a much more bloated feel to it as all of these separate plots make the movie feel disconnected. Half of these plots feel like obligatory clichés, and more focus on a few characters would’ve likely created an atmosphere closer to the heartiness and emotional gravitas of the original.
Jurassic World is primarily marketed as a kids movie, so I understood why they initially thought putting two kids as key characters may be a good idea. However, all they really contributed was an absolutely pointless family subplot, grungy and mopey child angst and about 20 minutes of the movie we didn’t really need. Aside from the kids, the antagonists of the movie were essentially cartoons. Within the first 30 minutes, you were mentally pointing out which ones would die and what horrible death they would be subject to, most of the time with clairvoyant precision. I was really hoping to see some surprises here that defied the conventional blockbuster. Sadly, they didn’t seem interested in showing up.
The only character you can truly care about here is Chris Pratt’s Owen. He’s for the most part, the moral center of the story, and easily has all the best action scenes. He has a very 80’s action hero feel to him and Chris Pratt’s charismatic, likeable cockiness feels like a return from the decade. It’s no wonder this guy is being fan cast for almost every action movie reboot or video game based movie in production, as there’s no doubt after his Jurassic World outing he could pull off seemingly any of them.
Of course at the end of the day, the real stars are those ancient, scaly, rascals causing all the trouble. They’re what get butts in the theater seats, and when they come to fight, it’s a damn good time. A little more dino v. dino would’ve been great, but we get enough to satisfy our hunger.
Still praying for a hilarious Jeff Goldblum cameo in the sequel.
FINAL VERDICT: Jurassic World may suffer from bloatedness and predictability like any sequel is prone to do, but for a movie about dinosaurs wreaking havoc on a theme park, we get plenty of suspenseful thrills and exciting action scenes to satisfy our summer blockbuster craving.