Monday, June 22, 2015

Jurassic World

This is a Spoiler-free review.

The Park is open.

And it's already boring (in fiction anyway). Jurassic World overcame the horrors of the disastrous 1993 theme park it was built on top of and became amazingly successful, but then the consumers began to get bored of real-life dinosaurs. They want something new; something exciting; something cool. So some scientist mixed together a bunch of genes and the result was a dino even scarier than the T-Rex: the Indominus rex.

It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what happens next.

Bothers Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) are sent to Jurassic World to visit their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) while their parents (Judy Greer and Andy Buckley) have a nice quiet divorce. Claire is very busy preparing the Indominus rex for her unveiling. Owen (Chris Pratt -- but you definitely know that one) is very busy training his Velociraptors to obey his commands -- and not eat him. Mr. Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio) is very busy trying to convince Owen that the Velociraptors should be used in the field -- for war. Once the Indominus gets loose and starts on a killing spree, everyone is very busy trying to not die.

Elements of the plot are obviously very predictable, with most events mirroring one from Jurassic Park, and that's not at all a bad thing -- this movie takes the predictable and goes to predictably exciting places with it. But then, as much of homage to and modernized carbon copy of the original Jurassic it is, it still has its own original ideas as well, that freshen it up for an audience easily bored and with high expectations.

Well -- THAT'S new.

They way they handled the trained Velociraptors for one. I thought it would be unbearably cheesy, but they maintained their danger in spite of the training, making them unstable, and it did wonders for the films suspense level. We all know Chris Pratt's character isn't going to get eaten, but we enjoy worrying about it all the same. And the Indominus was a seriously cool mash-up of a lot of seriously cool (and totally far-fetched) ideas. It's like the gleeful creation of a dino-obsessed six-year-old who's been trained in art design and high fashion. It's awesome.

The only problem plot-wise is that by the end they've painted themselves into a corner, and the resulting desperate leap for satisfying conclusion is less climatic than it's set up to be. Others may also point out gaps in logic in varying sizes, and I won't deny their existence, but I'd rather have them present along with the fun and awesomeness they help contrive than not.

When I watch cheesy thrillers about dinosaurs in the modern day, realism is not high on my list of must-haves.

At the top of my must-have list is a great cast, and Chris Pratt fills that category alone. I've known how awesome he is for at least a year now, but I seriously doubt that being reminded of the fact is ever going to get old. The role of Owen (like many other roles he's had and will have) is perfect for him. This one allows him to be cool and serious in a stylized, almost tongue-in-cheek kind of way. He is the epitome of the rugged hero, who quips at the villains, flirts with the ladies, and delivers the overly-dramatic lines with straight-faced gusto and a cool smolder.

Summary of this review: Chris Pratt rules; carries movie; beats up dinosaurs.

The rest of the cast only adds to all that. Bryce Dallas Howard I do like, and she never fails to do a great job, but here her character is the obligatory annoying good guy. She does overcome it fairly well by the end, but then there's something wanting in her chemistry with Pratt. But, since Jurassic World is in no way a romance, that can't be a big complaint. The two kids, I am very pleased to report, are in no way annoying. They have finally perfected how the make the Jurassic kids act brainlessly and get themselves into huge trouble and still make them endearing. And the development of these brothers's relationship was interestingly poignant for an action/thriller.

Keep back kids; it's a very scary thing -- character development!

I'm always happy to see Judy Greer in a cast list because her name is always a guarantee of a well-developed and acted supporting character, and so I must mention that as the boy's mother here, that guarantee comes through yet again. Fans of British entertainment may also recognize Katie McGrath in a smaller role. And then of course Vincent D'Onofrio makes a great and creepy bad guy; not even close to the level that he was as Wilson Fisk, but the exact right amount for this kind of movie. I enjoyed hating him very much.

A welcome surprise to the fray of thrilling carnage was how many throwbacks and references there were to Spielberg's original classic. They even did the rear-view mirror gag, which I specifically did not expect would happen. Sentimentality came on fast when the ruins of the original park are visited, and John Williams' original theme plays loud, proud and magnificent. This movie, as updated, upgraded, revamped and, well, evolved as it is, is obviously still proud of its origins, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

A roar of approval!

The fourth installment (or reboot, if you like) of the Jurassic Park series goes back to its vintage roots of epic wows and thrills, high-quality special effects and the cheesiest awesomeness money can buy. It may not be a great movie in terms of award-worthy storytelling, but as pure entertainment it takes gold as the best popcorn flick since the last time Chris Pratt graced the big screen. Jurassic World is rip-roaring, thrilling fun from start to finish.


  1. This was very fun to watch in theaters! This movie had a fun sense of humor, it poked fun at some classic adventure tropes--like the gal rolling up her sleeves and Owen being confused. It wasn't perfect, but then again I didn't go for a perfect film, I went to have fun, and that is what I got! :D

    1. I loved that bit! "I don't know what that means." "It means I'm ready!" Cause you can't tramp through a forest until you tie your button-up in a cute knot at the waist. :D This perfectly summarizes my thoughts too. For this kind of movie, fun trumps reality and plot holes every time. :D

  2. Agreed, Jurassic World is a fun cheesy movie. It has some glaring plot holes, but while watching the movie, I did not care one bit. I just had a great time at the theaters. Excellent review Sarah; you nailed what makes this film so much fun.


    1. Yeah, I did give it a reduced star rating for those plot holes, but I almost feel like I shouldn't have, because I just do not even care. At all. :D Though, if they had figured out how to make it this awesome without the holes it would have been even better, so...

      Thanks a lot, James!

  3. "We all know Chris Pratt's character isn't going to get eaten, but we enjoy worrying about it all the same." Yup. Yeah, we do. Jurassic World was so much fun, and Chris Pratt was perfect. I loved the brothers' developing relationship through the story too, even if they did act...well, you know.

    BTW, I haven't seen the original Jurassic Park movies...would you recommend them?

    1. Hahaha, oh yeah! :D I'm glad you love it too, and the brother's storyline. That surprised me with how sweet it was. :)

      Yes, I totally would! The first one is a classic. And very similar to this one in flavor and format. The second is alright mainly only because of Jeff Goldblum, and the third is a little worse technically, but I enjoyed it about the same as the second, for various reasons. :P