Friday, June 19, 2015

Movie Review: Jurassic World

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Bottom Line: It delivers the expected thrill-a-minute, audience-pleasing ride that is just as calculating and manufactured as the first movie in the franchise.

1993's Jurassic Park is considered a classic sci fi movie in a large part because of the advancements it offered in CGI sfx and for the roller-coaster ride of a film that it delivered.  And if you judge it on its special effects and thrill-a-minute story-telling, it stands up sufficiently well compared to the other Summer blockbuster fare it has shared the screen with.  But that movie also represents a change that occurred with big-budget sci fi movies at the beginning of the 90's as manufactured franchises started to take over the big screen, calculatingly geared to fill up the theaters on a regular basis with popcorn-munching audiences and which have about the same artistic merit as the theme park attractions they emulate (and I go into that in more detail at this link).  By the third Jurassic Park film that came out in 2001, the series had suffered some franchise-fatigue and was laid to rest for a while.  For today's studios, though, that only means stowing it away for the appropriate amount of time before a revisiting/reworking/rebooting is deemed viable.  And now Jurassic World has arrived to get this franchise back into big-time, money-making mode.

Instead of the more common reboot that we have seen of late, the new film acts as a sequel to the other films, picking the story up in the present day when yet another attempt is made to create a Jurassic Park theme world.  Of course, in the spirit of sequels, this park is bigger and better and the scientists behind the scenes are cooking up new hybrid dinosaurs to thrill the throngs of tourists piling in.  But in good monster-movie tradition, you know that tinkering with science never works out well and before long the newest genetically-modified Frankenstein dinosaur (named Indominus) is running loose and delivering the dino-mayhem that everybody came to the movie to see.

To give Jurassic World credit, it doesn't linger too much on exposition and assumes that the audience knows the basic premise of how these giant lizards were revived (or doesn't really care).  But that just means that the movie can get to the expected child-in-jeopardy scenes that much quicker while also loading on as many monster-movie cliches as possible and throwing in the requisite cardboard cutout bad guys to try and trip up our heroes at every corner.  Chris Pratt does give the movie some life, even if his character is not that inspired as the dinosaur whisperer who understands that these creatures have feelings too and that you can't go tinkering with science without consequences and so on and so forth.  If only the Guardians of the Galaxy writers had stopped by and given him a better script to work with, or maybe if they had brought back Jeff Golblum for some good verbal sparring.

Jurassic World also throws in plenty of homages to the original film (and other monster movies), including revisiting the location of the 1993 movie's final battle.  It even brings in its own version of the original T-Rex, this time playing the role of the good guy Godzilla come to stomp down the bad guy monsters which are running amok.  But don't look at this as inspiration or respectful reverences to the genre as it is just as calculating as the whole movie franchise has been since the beginning.

Interestingly enough, movies like this love to give us the money/greed-driven villains who push science too far and ultimately receive their comeuppance.  Yet the audience remains oblivious to the fact that the constant push by the studios to create bigger, better, more jaw-droppingly mindless entertainment is the real world version of the same thing.  Of course the studio execs know that the retribution the antagonists face in their films are the fairy-tale endings their audiences expect to see, while in the real world the only consequences these movie moguls face is reaping the profits of their excesses as they rake in the box office receipts (Jurassic World is currently on target to pass Avatar as the the highest grossing film of all time).

Buy the Jurassic Park Movies on Blu-ray and DVD from

No comments:

Post a Comment