DINO-MASH

A SUBTLE COMMENTARY ON CORPORATE CULTURE, JURASSIC WORLD IS BETTER THAN THE 1997 AND 2001 SEQUELS, IT JUST CAN’T MATCH JURASSIC PARK’S FRESH, DANGEROUS CHARM

Director: Colin Treverrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy, Ty Simpson, and Nick Robinson

Studio: Universal Pictures

Rated: PG

Running Time: 2Hrs, 5 Min

The one thing that I’ve always liked about the Jurassic Park franchise is that while it embraced the limitless wonder and creative potential of science, it refused to shy away from the dominance of human greed and how we usually allow the devils on our shoulders to poison even the best things we do (and the dinosaurs are pretty awesome too). In fact, I can think of no other film franchise that examines the duality of human nature better while making us buy bags and bags full of popcorn. While Jurassic World has its warts, it accommodates that scrutiny better than any of its predecessors.

Jurassic World is the most infamous theme park on the planet and an average day sees twenty thousand plus visitors desperate for a peek at its de-extinct inhabitants pile onto the island. Baby dinosaurs are saddled for the riding pleasure of children, massive waterparks house underwater beasts who jump and dive for the applause of the paying masses and Jurassic World’s corporate overlords are always looking for ways to keep interest-and attendance-high in a world where the collective attention span wanes quicker then the blink of an eye. Corporations sponsor new attractions cooked up in laboratories and thus enters Indominus Rex, a new breed of dinosaur that’s the result of a nightmarish genetic recipe designed to crank up the wow factor. But the wily Indominus isn’t content being a mere carnival attraction and she has plenty of tricks up her sleeve to outwit her clueless captors. Soon all of Jurassic World becomes a helpless smorgasbord for the rampaging and seemingly unstoppable Indominus.

Jurassic World uses the exact same plot as 1993’s Jurassic Park-humans make dinosaurs, human arrogance and hubris strikes and humans are soon running and screaming and subsequently being digested by said dinosaurs. Jurassic World borrows heavily from Jurassic Park’s plot, with a few twists. While corporate greed is well represented by the nonchalant attitude park overseers demonstrate towards both the animals and the guests (mere items on a spreadsheet) as well as taking the cost effective solutions before actually addressing any problem, there are also military researchers studying the possibility of weaponizing the dinosaur breeds more efficient at killing.

Chris Pratt displays even more roguish charm as Owen Grady, a former marine now working as a Raptor wrangler, than he did in his breakout role of Jason Quill in last summer’s blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy. Bryce Dallas Howard is convincing as cold, emotionally sterile and organization obsessed park director Claire Dearing, who embodies the corporate spirit of profits before people and that everything is just an asset to be managed. Everyone else is just exaggerated window dressing for the movie’s true stars, the CGI dinosaurs.

As stated before, the story is simple and straight forward, using the original Jurassic Park as a storytelling template (there’s even a pair of kids-one of them a dinosaur expert- with a family relation who get stranded in the park when all prehistoric hell breaks loose) but it pays almost token tribute to the original movies (BD Wong returns as geneticist Dr. Henry Hu but no other actors from the original movies make an appearance). There are some moments of genuine humour (usually when Pratt is on screen) but some of the film’s other attempts at levity felt forced and fall flat (it makes you really appreciate Jeff Goldblum’s manic spontaneity from the original). So does the eventual and obligatory romance between Pratt’s Grady and Howard’s Dearing.

I enjoyed Jurassic World, just not as much as I hoped I would. While I found it better then the previous Jurassic Park sequels (released in 1997 and 2001 respectively), I just can’t put it on par with the first movie, despite it’s gargantuan box office. When Jurassic Park invaded silver screens in 1993, the visual effects were a groundbreaking spectacle. Nothing like them had ever been seen before, but now they’re old hat (a curse that will likely doom the Avatar sequels). And Jurassic World seems to lack the menace that the original Park had, possibly because we’ve seen what it’s had to offer so many times. The film leaves an opening or two to for the inevitable sequel (green lit about twenty minutes after the first box office numbers trickled in) and here’s hoping the producers invest a little more effort into the story to help compensate for audience’s growing desensitivity to the special effects that make these movies so successful.

Shayne Kempton

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