Greetings my intrepid film lovers!
How are you this evening? I hope you’re feeling well and up for a film review of a recent hit!
In this short review of Jurassic World I take a look at what made this film work, as well as what didn’t, and what we should look forward to in future films of this franchise.
First of all, this film began with eerie trailers mentioning a ‘dinosaur hybrid.’ The music was ominous and many shots followed of people running, pterosaurs flying loose in a public area, Chris Pratt uttering cool phrases like “evacuate the island” and “she will kill anything that moves” followed by the image of a child whimpering in the dark as a large shadow moves over him accompanied by a cacophonous growl.
That trailer made me excited for this film. The dark feeling of horror and the idea of a mistake of science intrigued me. I immediately thought to myself “this film can be great or be a disaster.” This is because I wasn’t sure how the idea of having a dinosaur hybrid would play out. Why was there a need for one? The dinos were cool enough. I also didn’t know how to take the idea of a guy training Velociraptors; they’re supposed to be killing machines!
Once I went to the theater in summer of 2015 and watched the film I got my answer: I was shocked but greatly pleased. This film managed to be a highly entertaining film with plenty of thrilling action scenes and very little lull time. I did not regret watching this film! I give it a 90% approval rating!
So…that’s the end of this review, right? I gave my thoughts on the overall product and included an approval rating. That means I’m done right?!…
Nah. I still have much to say about the film’s execution itself. Hang tight dino lovers!
First on the list is the set of human characters we got in this sequel: Owen Grady (the dinosaur trainer), Claire (the stuffy, self-absorbed park manager), her nephews Zach (typical moody teenager) and Grey (the hyperintelligent dinosaur enthusiast little boy), and Vic Hoskins (the designated arrogant villain who wants to exploit the dinosaurs). There are a few side characters including Dr. Wu who has a significant amount of plot to dump. The cast does their part in relaying the action to us and being the ones to fight or flee the dinosaur chaos around them. The characters are fun but have little depth or development. On my part, I had very few qualms with this seeing as I am more interested in the dinosaurs than the people. However, I felt that kids felt a little bit shoehorned into this script. I get the need to cater to younger audiences by giving them people they can relate to but their involvement and contribution to the film is minimal.
My second point of criticism is on the hybrid creature itself, Indominus Rex. The whole concept of an aggressive, out of control, hybrid dinosaur killing anything and everything that moves was radical at the time of the trailer release. It completely changed the game on Jurassic Park, which at the time was in an indefinite hiatus after producing the less impressive Jurassic Park III. Up until that point dinosaurs were spectacles confined in cages only to escape (see the first film) or ravenous destructive behemoths thriving in their own environment (see Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III). They were nature’s creation brought back to life and needing a sanctuary of their own. However, Jurassic World managed to flip the script by recreating the park successfully and creating an unstable unpredictable creature by fusing two species. That concept of taking something ancient and twisting it to create some kind of abomination felt like more of a horror flick than the previous science-heavy scripts of this dino franchise. I think the film did this concept justice; showing its brutality and unnatural sadistic intelligence. This almost human-like brutality is never fully explored however. We see a dead Apatosaurus herd mercilessly slaughtered “for sport” but we never get more of this explained or developed. The rest of the film instead only shows the humans fighting the pterosaurs and planning to attack the I-Rex. Imagine if the I-Rex had made his way to the human crowds and harassed them before killing more (I’m not a sadist btw! I just wanted to see its intelligence and cruelty showcased against the human part of the park!). The fact that the dinosaur only kills these dinosaurs in one scene doesn’t live up to the fullness of what it promised in the trailer: “she will kill anything that moves.” This shift in story feels as though film forgot about its lead dino for twenty minutes!
My third point of criticism is the tone of the film. While this film delves into the danger of tampering with genetics it manages to have a happy tone throughout as evidenced by Michael Giacchino’s uplifting and majestic score (accompanied by John Williams’ original from the first films), the bright colors and shots, and the obvious fact of a happy triumphant ending. I certainly enjoyed the ending we got in this film: the I-Rex was an aberration and needed to die for the sake of the other animals in the park. Nonetheless, this didn’t live up to how dark this film portrayed itself to be. This film, much like its contemporary Avengers: Age of Ultron manages to show a dark foreboding trailer but the film itself is quite adventurous and lighthearted much of the time. One way the film could have corrected this would have been to spare the Indominus and let it escape to the jungle possibly having laid eggs. To be specific: the end battle with the T-Rex was a very welcome surprise and definitely deserved to be there, but the I-Rex being killed instantly by the Mososaur killed the seriousness of the I-Rex threat.
Now onto my predictions for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and how this film fits in the grand scheme of things: Jurassic World showed us a hybrid dinosaur, the creation of different species of dinosaurs people wanted to see like the Mososaur, and managed to make the franchise relatable to today’s audiences (examples include a benevolent foreigner as the owner of the park, modern day criticism for capitalistic gains and the use of holographic technology when interacting with the dinosaurs. This felt like a Jurassic Park film for modern moviegoers. I have no doubt that the franchise will continue in that vein; appealing to the fads of today’s culture and society. I also believe that the inclusion of another dinosaur hybrid for the upcoming film was to be expected. I think that dinosaurs will continue to be portrayed as empathetic creatures we learn to root for like T-Rex and Blue (the surviving raptor) and not solely machines of terror and destruction (like in the Lost World). All these changes have this film to thank.
Thanks for reading.