Jurassic World

⭐⭐½ based on 1 review.

tl;dr: Despite the clear advances in CGI, these dinosaurs have never felt less realistic. The only saving grace is a competent set of performances from Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas-Howard.




Jurassic World


Spoilers Ahead: My reviews are not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

Hyper-intelligent genetic mash-up monsters. Bloodthirsty pterosaurs. Supersized mosasaurs. Plot-armour tyrannosaurs. And a whole heap of fanboy-level "velociraptors" whose design has somehow regressed two whole movies in the intervening decade. (Even if Blue is a pretty cool-looking critter.) I think it's fair to say that the Jurassic franchise has jumped the proverbial shark (or should that be mosasaur?) and created something dumb enough to simultaneously make its own plot a ridiculous, vacuous excuse of a movie, and yet elevate the original simply by showing how bad things could/should have gone.

To be fair to the main stars here, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas-Howard give perfectly competent performances, considering their respective scripts and overarching story. Is it ridiculous that Claire so readily endangers the lives of everyone on the island? Sure. Is it stupid how much she ends up running around in high-heel shoes (in a jungle!)? Absolutely. Is the budding on-screen romance between the two characters in any way interesting or necessary? No. Are her niece and nephew a poor excuse to try and rip off the kids' arc in the first Jurassic Park? Transparently so, yes. But none of that was really under the actors' control, so given it all, they manage to make me vaguely care about their characters and almost like Pratt's utterly gullible "raptor" trainer. Most of the other characters, though, are just pastiches or stereotypes and can be safely ignored, which is a shame because there is some quality here: Omar Sy, Vincent D'Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, even Judy Greer.

But the biggest misstep here will forever be their decision to rewind to the old JP dinosaur designs, and then ramp up all of the teeth and claws and spikey bits to elevent, as if we've somehow fallen through a portal back to the '90s era of comic-book designs (which is all the more ironic considering the original movies were actually made during that aesthetic and still managed to do a better job of not bloody using it). One of the reasons that the OG films are so beloved is that they genuinely tried to stick with the science, but World seems to go out of its way to ignore the 20 years of additional understanding that we now have. This is handwaved away with a line about "the public want monsters, not birds" (or something, I imagine it was even less accurate than that) but that's frankly belittling. I think that the audience actually wants god damn dinosaurs, not whatever hell-spawn amphibians Hollywood has dreamed up. Though, if the leaked alternative plots are true, at least we didn't get TMNT-style dino-people running around shooting machine guns... 😬

Still, if we put aside that these are utterly atrocious dinosaurs for a moment, is it at least a decent monster movie? Eh... kinda? It has some fun moments. Despite the ridiculousness of both situations, the pterosaur attack is like The Birds on steroids and is surprisingly graphic, and I did chuckle when the mosasaur snaps up the big bad at the end. But the film wants us to weirdly sympathise with some of the dinosaurs, whilst painting others as bloodthirsty maniacs, which gives you a bit of whiplash. The big evils of the first trilogy are now tame attack dogs, and the god-king-level final boss of T-rex seems to be some kind of dinosaur antihero, turning up when our humans need him most to chomp down on anything else that might be a threat, before practically winking at Chris Pratt and walking away. It's bizarre, and not in a good way.

The result is a messy, fractured movie that seems to really want to tell a story about how capitalism is bad y'all, whilst absolutely trashing a beloved trilogy with subpar writing, direction, and plot, all in an incredibly transparent attempt to cash in on brand recognition and nostalgia – so, the worst elements of Hollywood's capitalist greed. And yet that irony seems utterly missed by anyone involved. Oh well 🤷‍♀️

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