Jurassic World

This one may have spoilers.

 

Jurassic World is not a bad film. That’s the first thing to say. It is enjoyable to watch and there are some very entertaining moments, mainly involving Chris Pratt, and some nicely worked action sequences.

Unfortunately, for every good thing, there are way too many bad things. Where Jurassic Park was revolutionary, this will not be remembered beyond this summer. It may seem harsh to compare any film to a movie with the calibre of Jurassic Park, but when you produce an unrequested remake of a classic, comparisons must be drawn. And this, while being better than most remakes being churned out at the moment, collapses to the ground and is repeatedly stomped on by an Indominus-Rex. And besides, even if the viewers didn’t want to make any comparisons, the movie does it all for us. Endless references and throwbacks to the original movies, which as we all know is a quick and easy way to make people leave the cinema feeling happy, without over-exerting the creative department (See Skyfall). The movie makes a clever little reference, (spoiler) where one of the computer men asks why they can’t just use dinosaurs any more, why do hybrids have to be made. The reply is that people are bored of dinosaurs, and that bigger cooler hybrids are wanted instead. This makes it sound as though the movie creators are referencing people complaining about the unrealistic dinosaurs. In reality however, no one is bored of dinosaurs, it’s just that the best dinosaur movie was made 22 years ago, and no one has made a film anywhere near as good since. People aren’t bored of dinosaurs, but there’s a reason that no one thought too much of the sequels. You cannot top the original. From there, there are plenty of call backs to that first film, such as the banner, night-vision goggles and constant mentions of John Hammond. There’s even an actor from the original movie. BD Wong, playing Dr Henry Wu, was a bit part character in Jurassic Park, but suddenly becomes almost villainous in Jurassic World. The only people recognising him are lovers of the original, but then these are the same people almost offended by the serious change in personality exhibited by the scientist. If you’re remaking a franchise, at least have the decency to make it completely original. I mentioned Chris Pratt. He is one of the best things about this movie, but his character is one of the worst, and epitomises everything that’s wrong. Pratt, as is well known, is a great actor, and awesome man. It shows, with quick witted remarks and charming humour, he is very, very watchable. But his character is a big, muscly, ex-navy, raptor controlling, sharpshooting, motorbike-riding superhero. And he’s in a film surrounded by hundreds of nameless, faceless soldiers, all with big, futuristic weapons, shooting and blowing up everything. It’s as though the director (Colin Trevorrow) asked a focus group of pre-teen boys what could be done to improve Jurassic Park, and they all just screamed the word “Explosions”. In the first movie, there’s about 10 people trapped on that island, each with a name, personality and set of character traits, which all evolve as the film goes on. In this movie, there are apparently 20,000 people on this island, many of which are killed, many of which survive, not that anybody cares either way. The characters with names are introduced, given a total of <10 minutes of screen time each, and are killed in various ways. At no point do any of these deaths invoke any emotion. At least in Jurassic Park, everyone cheered when the lawyer was killed. A light mutter could be heard in the cinema with each death in Jurassic World

Now, watch the film as a free standing movie about a dinosaur related catastrophe, and it doesn’t really get any better. Decent acting performances, an impressive one from Nick Robinson (the older brother, Zach), but nothing really standing out, besides Pratt. The dialogue is nothing special AT ALL. I try and think of one line from the script that could be the memorable cult quote, but all I can think of is “We need more teeth”, murmured by the younger brother, Gray. But this is delivered unrealistically and poorly (not the actors fault, the script ruined its own tagline). Compare this (I’m trying not to, but I must) to almost every single line emitted by the incomparable Jeff Goldblum for example, and there is a significant gap between the two.

There are other problems. The CGI has gone backwards, the soundtrack was rushed into the movie with such little consideration for creativity that you can only assume that John Williams et al are wondering why they even bothered, and every dinosaur roar is a soundbite directly from the original. Spielberg spent so much time carefully combining noises made by various animals to make the definitive calls made by the dinosaurs, such as the trademark T-Rex roar. Jurassic World reuses them, but without even trying to fit them into the scene they appear in.

There are way too many more problems to go on about, but I’ll focus on the final showdown (and will therefore spoil everything unless you’ve already seen the movie). It included one of the few “epic” moments from the film, where Aunt Claire fetches the T-Rex to help take down the Indominus, leaving a battle between the two biggest carnivores in the park. This is cool, but they already blew this load in Jurassic Park III with the T-Rex vs Spinosaurus fight. Obviously the T-Rex loses again, but for the saviour Raptor charging forwards Baywatch style to save the day. Cheesy isn’t even the word. But there is one thing more important. The entire plot of the film hinges on the escaped Indominus-Rex, which is actually the coolest scene in the whole movie. The dinosaur has to be killed at some point, but it isn’t going to be killed by humans, as that would be much too easy. They tried raptors, but that was completely useless. They tried the T-Rex, but that was useless too…

Earlier in the movie, when everything’s going wrong and everyone is dying, the babysitter of the two young heroes is killed by the enormous, water dwelling Mosasaurus, in a brilliantly cool and shocking way. The viewers are introduced to the Mosasaurus early on. Now, one of the best things about these sorts of films is to introduce the big solution to the problem early on, without telling anyone, then make the audience forget about it. This means that when the solution shows up everyone is in awe and shock, and makes the movie so epic, for example, the ending to Jurassic Park, when the T-Rex sneaks in and kills the two raptors, saving the day in the process and roaring majestically. Unfortunately, Jurassic World reminds us halfway through that the Mosasaurus exists, so when it gets to the ending and

…the Mosasaurus is the saviour, the viewer has either predicted it, or just mutters “Oh yeah, that”.

I’m not saying Jurassic World is bad. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy watching it both times. What this film is though, is EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, that is wrong with modern films. No one asked for it, it was overhyped, it was soulless, it had random romantic subplots, it had over-the-top action, it was funny, but not funny enough, it was rushed, and my god the CGI was woeful. I wanted so much to like this movie, and I do. But when a film tries to stand up with the great movie that it’s based on, it will never ever reach those heights, and Jurassic World proves that. Hollywood, take note.

Rating: 55%

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