2015-06-11

Jurassic World – Its a Murder Stomping Good Time

by Yo Snyder

Jurassic World can easily be thought of as a coming of age story starring an overweight girl with anger problems just trying to figure out where she belongs in a world that doesn’t seem to want her around, and even actively tries to shun her away. Despite all her best efforts, she never can seem to fit in, and though it is a coming of age story, is tragic in how it treats this poor girl. Albeit, this poor girl is a fifty-foot dinosaur that spends the second and third act of the film murder-stomping her way through a theme park.

The Jurassic Park franchise has never really been known for its well-developed characters, and compelling Nolan-esque stories that deliver plot at a feverish pace, and if that’s what you’re expecting from Jurassic World than you will be even more disappointed than if you went to see Mad Max expecting a slow paced love story. All three movie plots from the original trilogy can be summed up as, “Pretty much nothing goes according to plan,” and the fourth film does nothing to shake that up, and to be honest, it really doesn’t need to. I showed up expecting just to shut my brain off, watch dinosaurs eat people, and leave satisfied. But Jurassic World pulled a Mad
Max: Fury Road and surprised me.

I didn’t like it as much as the first, to be fair. But also to be fair, I’m not sure if it’s because the first
movie is actually better (primarily because it had Jeff Goldblum), or if it’s because I look back at my VHS copy of Jurassic Park with enough nostalgia to sink a boat. I’m not sure if I like the first one for the same reason I like The White Stripes more than The Raconteurs, or the Beatles more than Paul McCartney’s solo work, or Iron Man more than The Avengers. The fact that it’s making me wonder that is a very good sign indeed. Yes, there are one or two
absolutely cheesy lines, and it doesn’t change the pattern of “Employee Safety,” being nothing more than a neat idea that In-Gen will surely get around to sometime from the previous movies, but I came away from this movie thinking,
“Dang, that was actually pretty good. Not Mad Max good, but really good.”

As a practical effects nerd, I miss the animatronics and raptor-suits and robots from the first movie, but the CGI
holds up well enough to suspend your disbelief (it’s Jurassic Park, you still gotta shut your brain off on some level), and the characters are all well written enough that I actually cared about them. As someone who had to stop watching The Walking Dead because I eventually realized that Carl was never going to get eaten by zombies, the fact that Jurassic World made me forget that I wanted the child actors to die is actually really huge.

The characters felt developed enough for the movie (there’s only so much character development one can go through during two hours of trying to not get eaten), and though the script won’t be winning any awards, it was solid. Chris Pratt plays Chris Pratt, and as always, he is an excellent Chris Pratt, yet out of all the characters in the movie, the raptor Blue is probably the one with the greatest character arch out of anyone. This makes sense really, as the raptors were always the stars of the franchise.

Pratt’s character Owen is the voice of meaning in the film. It’s not an overtly environmental message, though one
could take it as environmental (even though it never reaches Avatar levels of in your face), but one of, “Hey guys, we’ve got a responsibility for all this scaly, violent, nature around us.” I really liked the way it’s delivered, because it’s obvious, but never rude. And isn’t that one of the morals out of Genesis? God giving Adam the entire Garden to name and take care of? It’s a message of responsibility and duty and remembering that hey, there’s always a bigger fish, not one of how America/big oil/capitalism is evil, and it’s really well done.

Jurassic Park (like a Marvel movie, or a Star Wars movie, or a…) is released, someone is going to complain about how it isn’t scientifically accurate, or how the characters aren’t developed enough, or how if character X did Y then all the problems would be fixed – and that person is absolutely correct. Also they are idiots. If you go to Jurassic Park and you lament about how the velociraptors are too big and don’t have feathers, than you should watch a documentary instead. Is Jurassic World big, loud, and kinda stupid with a body count that would depopulate a rural town? It absolutely is, but with so much heart thrown in making it that if you don’t get chills when the gates open in the beginning and you ride into that park on the monorail, you probably aren’t human.

Score: 6 of 7 – It’s absurd, loud, and features multiple people getting eaten by 50 foot dinosaurs. Like the
original Jurassic Park it pushes PG-13 violence about as far as it can go, but a good script and likeable characters
save it from being a The Asylum movie with a big budget. Get ready for the inevitable sequels that don’t live up to the original.