Rating: C+/ The dinosaurs are in fact bigger, brassier, and toothier, and the CGI has been never better, but much of the credibility and heart of the original Jurassic Park is lost in this retread. It might seem strange to talk about credibility in a series that features living, breathing dinosaurs resurrected in a modern setting, but somehow the original film made you believe in an outlandish scenario and breathed life into the characters involved in the chaos in a way this follow-up only dreams of. Okay, it’s not a bad movie, but it’s not the classic we were hoping for- or that this franchise deserves.
Apparently, after three other movies featuring this exact same kind of situation going wrong and the dinosaurs wreaking havoc, the park founded by lovable eccentric John Hammond featured in the first movie still think it’s a good idea to keep cloned dinosaurs in captivity for tourists to goggle at. Didn’t the events of the first four films in the franchise teach these idiots anything? Anyway, there’s a new cast of characters, new kids, and a new villain (Vincent D’Onofrio) with a motivation that makes no damned sense. He wants to militarize raptors and use them in warfare? Whaat? Doesn’t he know that dinosaurs are essentially wild animals that are going to do what they’re gonna do?
Uptight workaholic Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is put in charge of her two annoying nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) by her estranged sister Karen (Judy Greer) on a vacation to Jurassic World, where Claire works as an operations manager. Fun for the whole family! Until the genetically engineered mega-dinosaurs get out of their cages, that is. Of course, being the big lover of family that she is, Claire leaves the kids with a nanny (Katie McGrath.) There’s loads of barely contained sexual tension going on between Claire and Raptor expert Owen Grady (Chris Pratt,) but Claire’s too repressed to admit her feelings for Owen until after the shit hits the fan; that is, when the genetically modified super dinosaur the Indominus Rex gets free and starts munching on red shirts. Can Jurassic World be restored to relative peace and tranquility in time for a sequel? Owen Grady is on the job.
There’s something kind of sad, if realistic about watching a progression of the wonder-filled film Jurassic Park where people are actually bored by the dinosaurs. Imagine the look Laura Dern gets on her face when she sees the Brontosaurus for the first time in Jurassic Park. Pure astonishment. Now replace that with a bored kid with an iPhone. I know, right? There’s no reason to lose your shit over a fucking dinosaur. When’s lunch? When can I next get laid? People need bigger, toothier dinosaurs to even be interested in what the park has to offer. By the end of this movie, you’ll be begging for the bored tourists to get devoured by the Indominus. If a dinosaur can’t keep their attention, they’re basically dead already, right?
That’s where this movie’s problem lies. It’s just not as fun and exciting and full of life as Stephen Spielberg’s 1993 original. The sense of wonder is gone. For one thing, we barely care about the characters, for another, it just seems like an excuse to use snazzy upgraded special effects. The script just isn’t strong enough to sustain it when compared to the delightful original, which was lots of fun and actually made you give a damn while presenting the moral dilemma of the park’s creators playing God in the form of the musings of Jeff Goldblum’s character. Jurassic World just doesn’t have that many ideas, action movies have been a whole lot worse than this predictable blockbuster but, y’know, they can be a whole lot better.
On it’s own, Jurassic World isn’t a bad movie. But it pales in comparison to the wonderful original. It’s prime example of focusing on visual effects and how can we make these dinosaurs look better and slacking off in the storytelling department. For instance, it takes Claire half the movie to remember that her nephews are in the park and could be in some serious danger. It puts quite an unlikable spin on her character, especially when you realize that her sister put her in charge of these kids and they’re the two last people she considers when all hell breaks loose. Similarly, the children in peril in this movie aren’t particularly well acted or written, particularly when you consider how effective the roles of Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards were in the original movie.
So that’s it. The ingredients are there, but the magic’s gone. Super advanced special effects aren’t everything, especially if the story’s somewhat weak, and it’s about time the big Hollywood studios figured that out. Jurassic World might be worth a rental, but don’t immediately buy it expecting it to be the same teir as Spielberg’s beloved original. Perhaps that’s too much to expect of it, and perhaps if you lower your expectations somewhat, you’ll find this film a perfectly enjoyable experience. That is to say, it’s not a terrible movie, just terribly underwhelming.