June 12, 2015
Needless to say, when I approached the idea of sitting down in the theater to watch it, I had a hard time getting all that excited. Especially on the heels of the fun but disappointing Age of Ultron and the hype defying excellence of Fury Road. Could this live up to the original? Could it at least be an entertaining romp? After passing through hands of the likes of Joe Johnston, the director's chair fell to Colin Trevorrow. Even with only one other feature to his name (the very good Safety Not Guaranteed), I felt it had a touch more promise than a Johnston film would have had. Writing duties were handled by the teams of Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, and Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.
Jurassic World gets off to a rough start as it tries to force an identification with a couple of annoying kids as we follow them on their journey to the fully operational dinosaur amusement park, along with the repeated use of the classic theme. It strikes me as trying way too hard to replicate the magic of the original and the revelation of the island and the first dinosaurs. It is not something that can be recreated. It is during this early chunk that I thought I was going to be in for a long time in the dark. Then something happened. I am not quite sure exactly, but it felt like something clicking into place and the whole movie was launched and the experience turned around.
While the movie features throwback elements and callbacks to the first film, it is far from the same film. This one feels a bit darker, a bit more cynical, but still with a touch of hope. Well, hope may not be the right word, but it does some interesting things with the relationship between man and beast. There is something about how to interact with nature and where everyone belongs in relation to one another. Still, this is all background stuff as what we end up watching is a dinosaur attack movie on a scale I do not believe we have seen this side of Carnosaur.
The story follows a couple of threads. The primary one is that of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), a straitlaced executive for the theme park and her attempts to get her visiting nephews (those annoying kids mentioned earlier) to safety following their rebellious attempt at going rogue. There to help facilitate the action is Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who acts as the resident expert. On the other side of the coin is unscrupulous Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), who is looking for a way to weaponize the dinosaur creating technology.
As expected, everything goes sideways as the park's first attempt at creating a new dinosaur turns out to be a rather nasty tempered beastie that gets loose and causes havok around the park with the obvious notes that we should not be messing with nature. Honestly, the plot threads do not really mean much more than a way to move the pieces around the board and get from point A to point B. All that really matters is the dinosaur action and the little people trying to get out of the way.
Here is the surprising thing, I really liked the movie. I thought the action was quite well done and I was taken on a ride. I got swept up in the chases, the fights, everything. It was not quite the snadbox toy smashing feeling I had with Pacific Rim, but this is no slouch. I liked the dinosaur stuff, how the dinos interacted with each other, how the humans interacted with them, it was just a lot of fun. I think the biggest influence I could see would be from Aliens. There seems to be some Aliens DNA spliced into that of the original Jurassic Park. No, this is not nearly as good as either of those, but the entertainment factor cannot be ignored.
Jurassic World is a popcorn movie that has no intention greater than to entertain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Not every movie has to transcend, sometimes all that matters is executing within your realm. This movie does that. It is ridiculous, it is silly, but it wants to be. That's good enough for me.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 6/12/2015 04:47:00 PM
Labels: 2010s, 2015, Action, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Colin Trevorrow, Movie Review, Science Fiction, Sequel, Theatrical Release, Vincent D'Onofrio
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.