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Jurassic World (2015)

| June 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

The message from Jurassic World is crystal clear: Man is an idiot.

That’s right, man is a thoughtless creature more dangerous than any dinosaur; a creature led by hubris and the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar. That, at least, is what you take with you when the movie is over. Perhaps this is a commentary on the current state of film in general, when studio executives are more interested in anything-for-a-buck then in creating something special. The difference is that when Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 fails at the box office, Paul Blart doesn’t eat the tourists.

Jurassic World is special however, a big, fun movie that owes more to in it’s plotting to Jaws 3 than to Jurassic Park.  This is the best of the Jurassic Park sequels, it has plotholes and leaves a few questions unanswered but the spectacle is engaging. This is a big, loud, fun summer movie, and that’s all we ask for.

A generation has passed since a handful of investors, hunters, paleontologists, technicians and one milksop lawyer ran screaming from genetically engineered dinosaurs. Now John Hammond’s flea circus has given birth to “Jurassic World” a dinosaur theme park that has been running for 10 years. Once, the park boasted a massive tourist turn-out but has, in recent years, witnessed a decline.  The solution: Get the on-site genetic scientists to breed mutated dinosaurs that are bigger, faster, louder, and cooler. Having learned nothing from the now-legendary stories about Jurassic Park, hubris has created dinosaurs that think, act and even evolve in a way that no one ever expected.

Cautiously optimistic however is Jurassic World’s operations manager Claire Dearing (Brice Dallas Howard) whose eyes reveal less confidence in the park’s security measures then she’s willing to reveal. We understand her trepidation, especially when we see that one of the aquatic attractions is roughly half the size of a Saturn 5 rocket.

The park is doing well, but everybody knows that the whole thing has to go belly up. And that’s when we get information about a nasty beast called The Indominus Rex, a genetically engineered T-Rex that adapts to its environment and learns as it goes along. It’s also just at the moment that the I-Rex starts causing trouble that Claire’s nephews Grey (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) come for a visit. She has no time for them, so they end up on their own and eventually deep in trouble.

When the boys go missing, she enlists the help of a Navy commando-turned-velociraptor trainer named Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) who persistently reminds us that “People never learn.” His abilities with the raptors are both touching and a bit corny. The movie has a nice subtext of favoring Animal Training over Animal Manipulation. His job is to get Claire and the boys to a safe place even though he is the first person to understand that the dinosaurs are learning and acting in ways that should never have happened in the first place.

What we ask for from a movie in this series is that it contain scenes that we will remember. Jurassic World is full of scene like that, especially a moment when the boys are touring in a plastic ball and end up getting knocked around like a pinball; or a pterodactyl attack on the tourists that leaves one poor woman with the most spectacular death scene since Temple of Doom; or any scene involving the I-Rex – who turns out to be a really great villain.  There are many characters who become a dino-meal in this movie.  Here’s a tip: If the character is played by an actor you’ve never seen before, chances are, he’s doomed!

How well you respond to Jurassic World will depend greatly on how you have responded to this series in general.  The stars are the dinosaurs, while the actors are there to run screaming in the foreground – nothing wrong with that.  Let’s face it, we come for the reptiles.  This is the best of the Jurassic Park sequels because it’s closest to the original in spirit, if not in originality.  Some bits are kind of cornball, but it doesn’t ruin the experience.  What’s maintained here is something the Spielberg created back in 1993, which is a mental space that we can put our brains in so that we can enjoy the movie without being distracted by it’s shortcoming.  In other words, it’s a perfect summer movie.  It stomps, it roars, and – like the dinosaurs themselves – it puts on a good show.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.