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Monday, June 15, 2015

Movie Review- Jurassic World

Dr. Malcolm was right. They slapped it on a lunch box, bag, whatever.



Introduction

It was just two years ago that I did a review for the twenty year anniversary 3D spectacular of the original Jurassic Park. I remember stating that it was the ultimate Summer movie. Now more than ever, I still stand by that statement. Some have come close (The Matrix, Marvel's The Avengers, Mad Max: Fury Road) yet, when it comes to that child like sense of awe, the feeling is so much rarer these days. I admit that I'm slowly nearing the grayness and body hair of an old man but, something's missing. Nothing excites me (movie wise) anymore like Lord of the Rings and Jurassic Park did. Its sequels, The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, were fun Summer movies but, they didn't capture the imagination of the entire planet like the original did. Maybe it's just because I've seen everything. Maybe it's because everything now is presented like what Jeff Goldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm warned us about in 1993 saying, "You patented it, and packaged it and, slapped it on a plastic lunch box and now, you're selling it. You want to sell it." Product has taken its place above art. It's truly sad to see. Sure, my kids will enjoy the newest Ninja Turtles movie but afterwards, they'll totally forget about it. They're more glued to the screen while watching a non special- edition version of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. I see them reenacting moments and characters from the classics more than the currents. If that isn't statement enough on the entertainment industry of today, then I don't know what is.

Jurassic World

The long awaited sequel to Jurassic Park III is finally here, fourteen years later. Even though this franchise is a guaranteed money maker, Jurassic World (originally Jurassic Park 4) has taken that long because of rewrites, delays, changing of directors & cast, studio reluctance, and even, rumors. What we are partially subjected to for the film's first act, is exactly what Dr. Malcolm so eloquently warned us about so long ago. Though intentionally done that way, the start of the film is overrun with commercialism to show corporate excess. I'm fine with a political statement that connects directly to the events of the film but, you have to know when to stop. We all came to see the dinosaurs, not an episode of The Daily Show. The film pokes fun at itself yet, the damage has been done. Another big mistake, is the same old addition of child characters, that are going through the same old set of family problems, taking up the same old amount of time. I get it. They want kids in the movie to appeal to kid viewers. But how's about doing something a little different with them instead of taking time away from the main attraction for another pointless cliche? They feel as forced upon us as John Williams' original J.P. score does. Just because the music is playing, doesn't mean it's Jurassic Park. All is not wasted though. Once you're through the b.s., a good movie starts to present itself. Chris Pratt (G.O.T.G.) is one of them. In such a short time, this once unknown actor (who's been around for over a decade) has proven that he can command a leading role. He's got that quiet ruggedness that harkens back to the old fashioned hero. He's not always quiet though. He can be funny as hell as well. He's like the Muldoon character from the first film. You wanted to see more screen time with that guy and now, you get to with Pratt. Well, except when the brats are being shown that is. What they should have done, was had Pratt escort the kids around the park so that we could have gotten more of him, and more of the dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs look great, mostly. There's a couple that I thought were less than fully rendered but, I'll let you guess as to which ones they are. The main dino for this one, is the Indominus Rex; A sleeker version of the Tyrannosaurus, and more clever. What works with it, is that it isn't shown but for bits & pieces for most of the film. You know, the slow build. All of the other dinos play the role of cameo, except for the Raptors. They are as awesome as always. Why hasn't the studio realized yet that they could make bank off of a film centered completely around them? The Raptors add to a PG-13 rated film that has a decent amount of bloody scenes. There's even a scene where the camera gets showered in blood. That sense of awe that I mentioned earlier, is not really present this time around, with the exception of some obvious and subtle nods to the original film. Like the original, the costars each have their own personalities to keep things interesting. Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village), Vincent D'Onofrio (The Cell), and Jake Johnson (Let's Be Cops), are the most notable. Once Howard gets out of the control room, she gets to play the role of naive leader, like a pro. D'Onofrio makes character acting look so easy, as a semi-villain. Johnson is the film's other comedic relief guy, who's like a combination of the Nedry (Wayne Knight), Malcolm, and Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson), characters from part one. He also would have been more fun in a larger role instead of you know what.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Jurassic World

The Good- The tri-monster team up. Take that, Pacific Rim!
The Bad- They bring one character back from the original and it's the guy (B.D. Wong) who had been in only one scene! No real time to explore the park. Just dealing with the situation at hand.
The Ugly- There's absolutely no mention as to the events from parts 2 & 3, like they never happened. Those sequels weren't wasted crap like say X-Men: The Last Stand was so, why the omission? I need answers!

Final Thoughts on Jurassic World

Despite its many problems, Jurassic World is a fun Summer blockbuster that is worth seeing just for the Raptor scenes alone. For the next film, I hope that they ditch the kids, have more 'Pratt'falls, and bring back some classic characters. Unlike with the Fast & Furious franchise, they don't need to constantly one-up the previous films by going so far over the top, that the franchise looks nothing like it once did. These movies have freaking dinosaurs! That sells itself.
Rating- 7 out of 10
Running Time- 124 minutes
Science Fiction (for now)/Action/Adventure

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