About half way through Jurassic World, lead actors Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard kneel down beside an injured Brachiosaurus. A close-up encounter with the beast reminds us of what was so great about Spielberg’s original. Relying so heavily on CGI up until now, this moment in Jurassic World finally captures some of the magic of its predecessor. Of course, Jurassic Park was a pioneering CGI film too but it’s the combination of special effects and puppetry that make it a nostalgic 1990s classic. Jurassic World pays countless tributes to Jurassic Park from start to finish. It knows who its audience are and knows what they want; Raptors and, at some point, a T-Rex. Despite its limp character development and frustrating gender representations, Jurassic World is a big, fun, dumb movie. It’s lacking the heart and soul we all wished it to have but nevertheless makes for some reasonable entertaining, mindless viewing. The dinosaurs are great, the people not so much. This is as conventional and generic as blockbusters get. You know exactly who’s going to die and who’s going to make it out alive. We join two sulky brothers as they visit their Aunt Claire at the prehistoric theme park she practically runs. The boys waste no time in making their generous Auntie out to be a villain simply because she has to work. Despite their VIP treatment both boys spend a bunch of time guilt tripping a relative they haven’t seen for seven years – go figure. Under pressure to impress and satisfy her investors and share holders, Claire oversees the genetic enhancement of several species in the theme park’s labs. Their most recent creation fits the requirements of “bigger, cooler, more teeth”. It’s not long before the highly intelligent “Dino-Frankenstein’s Monster” they’ve cooked up is loose and on the rampage. With the help of Velociraptor trainer and ex-Navy man Owen, Claire must attempt to save the thousands of visitors from the gruesome fate that awaits as the “Supersaurus” races towards them.
I refused to let the movie force me into disliking Claire because of her decision to have a career instead of a marriage and a child. This was my main and consistent problem with this movie. I can tolerate the remaining, wet character development but couldn’t let this offensive portrayal slide. Chris Pratt, who I’ve adored since his early Parks and Recreations days, is sadly one of the worst things about Jurassic World. He can’t pull off serious and sultry and feels a little out of his conventional, comical, comfort zone. You won’t care less about the two brats who we’re supposed to root for. Vincent D’Onofrio is a fitting villain for a family adventure like this whilst New Girl actor Jake Johnson brings his usual stoner attitude to the park’s control room. Jurassic World suffers from the now far too typical problem of having shown too much in its trailer – a move that has admittedly let it dominate and destroy the global box-office, making modern movie history. I don’t begrudge its success. I enjoyed Jurassic World far more than I did Avengers: Age of Ultron. At least this film knows its conventional and recycled. Take your brains out before you enter Jurassic World but don’t be put off by the cruel words of many other critics. I don’t have a nostalgic attachment to Jurassic Park which may explain why I’m not being as hard on it as others are. It does what is says on the tin. Expect John Williams’ score to bash you round the head, countless nods to the original and one or two epic dino-horror moments. Some people are seeing this movie’s success as a terrible sign for the future of movies but this is by no means as tragic as the constant success of the Transformers franchise. This might be a terribly offensive comparison but I liken my experience spent in Jurassic World with my recent visit to The Van Gough Museum, Amsterdam. Both took two hours of my life and were full of idiots on their mobiles. Both were over-priced. Both mildly interested me but I left each with no intention to ever return. I’d take Blockbuster dinosaurs instead of over-hyped oil paintings any day of the week….Please don’t hit the un-subscribe button or report me to the elders of the arts.
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