Jurassic World, a Messy, but Wild Ride. (Movie Review)

Title: Jurassic World (2015)

Genre: Action,Adventure, Science Fiction

Starring: Chris Pratt, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio

Expectation Going In: Moderate (on the lower side)

Question I Asked Before the Movie: Can this newest Jurassic Park sequel bring back some of the magic from the first movie?

Minor Spoiler Warnings (I always limit my spoilers, but there may be a few small details)

I walked into Jurassic World rather unsure what I was going to get. The couple of trusted reviewers that saw it before me were mixed. I wondered where I would come out on the movie.  I love Jurassic Park (1993), it is still one of my all-time favorite movies. The film filled me with wonder and had so many iconic moments. The characters were likable overall, but not perfect. The humor flowed well with the action. The effects and directing was near perfection.  The sequels had their moments, but could never recapture the magic of that first film.

Jurassic World  was a much better attempt to revive the franchise. They added some star power like Pratt and D’Onofrio. Brought in the adorkable kid from Insidious and Iron Man 3, Ty Simpkins (That’s, right, I said adorkable, deal with it.) They had a quality special effects team. I thought, just maybe they could bring back a piece of my childhood and share it with a whole new generation. Maybe take it in a new direction, add some thought-provoking theories or something. In the end, I didn’t get any of that and it was disappointing.  However, the movie is far from a total loss. 

What I didn’t like.

I didn’t like most of the characters in this movie.  About 30 minutes in and I was kind of rooting for the evil dinosaurs. (Which is another issue, but I;ll get to that.) There were a few weakly developed female characters, a few cliche male characters as well. From the faceless business guy, to all out military guy (I thought this guy died in Avatar (2009), to unchecked science person.  Just a lot of one-dimensional characters, the key dinosaurs in this movie had more character development and that is a problem. I couldn’t relate to most of these people, they felt fake and overall cartoony.

The original Jurassic Park had humor which came from the flaws of the developed characters and how they interacted with one another.

Much of the humor in this film was just wedged in there to have humor. When you force something in attempt to be funny, often times it doesn’t work.  Also, sometimes a serious moment is okay with just being a serious moment. You don’t need to add comedy relief.  I won’t say all the humor fails, but a lot of it does.

They rely far too much on CGI and there were a few obvious times where it didn’t look good. (Most of the time, it worked, but the moments that it failed, it was bad.) The use of practical effects or physical props would have worked far better (Probably cheaper or just as costly to build too.)

Some of the ridiculous ideas in this movie would never happen. First off, they never tell us how this park is even possible after all the mishaps from the three previous movies. Then, while an initial crazy situation has gotten out of hand, they try something even more daring and even when that goes awry. Certain characters still think they can make their plans work out despite no evidence whatsoever supporting that theory.

This film is surreal. It is a fantasy situation gone awry. The first movie was trying to take a realistic approach to a surreal situation using crazy science.  This film uses much more crazy science and tries to act realistic, but winds up completely unreal at times. So much so that it is laughable.  If you are looking for realism, stay far away from this film.  Think of the recent Fast and Furious movies and just add dinosaurs instead of fast cars.

Finally, this movie has no magic or wonder to it, just terror.  The dinosaurs which were once beautiful, revered creatures, have largely become just bloodthirsty monsters.  In a couple points, it wasn’t about being an animal, it was about attacking and killing because that’s what they do. There were a few parts that this was so evident, it was sickening to me. What was the whole point of the original movie was torn down and burned.

What I liked

Believe it or not, there were actually moments I liked about the film.

Chris Pratt was once again awesome in his role as a dinosaur behavior specialist and raptor trainer. He was smart, at times heroic, and probably the best developed character in the movie. He was likable, the humor that did work often included him.

The two kids in this movie only pissed me off slightly. (I’m not a fan of kid actors in movies.) These kids were rather cartoony and cliched to open the movie. What I liked is that as the situation changed, so did some of the characters. On the surface, we feel we understand what these kids are about after 40 mins of film, but then they show us another aspect we didn’t see before. Their characters aren’t as shallow as we may initially perceived. The same can be said of one other character in the film. (The raptors…I’m only partially joking there.)

The raptors in this movie was still pretty awesome. They were menacing, but nothing like in the original. They had more personality than the original film however. I liked how they were wild cards throughout the movie. You just never quite know what’s up with them.

All of the dinosaurs in this film looked pretty awesome. It was clear that a lot of it was CGI, but overall the film was crisp in that nature. There was only one truly awful green screen moment that would have been immensely improved with dinobots.

The action scenes were pretty awesome. The final act of this movie is strong because of its action.  There are a couple of times in the end I’m still thinking “Oh, come on!” (Looking at you Legendary Films. What was that?)

In the end, I didn’t hate this film. It had plenty of flaws, but the action was overall enjoyable. Chris Pratt proved to me he has some range as an actor and not just in comedy roles. There was some character development overall. The raptors had more personality than any film before and I really liked that.

Did this movie bring back the magic from the original? No, not at all. It actually ruined some of the most awesome aspects of the original film. The heart and magic was nowhere to be found. All that was left was this soulless killing machine (and I don’t mean the dinosaurs.)

If you are wanting something profound and beautiful, then I’d recommend waiting for this one to rent. You won’t like it as much.

However, if you want a big dumb action film with dinosaurs running amok on an amusement park and dinosaurs eating people. An action film to just get out of the house for a couple hours. This movie should entertain you enough for that.

What did you think of Jurassic World?

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