Jurassic World Review
I LOVED Jurassic Park when I was a kid. I still do. It’s a thrilling movie, and probably the best creature feature I’ve ever seen. The characters are compelling, the story is well constructed, and the pacing is tight. The acting and directing are top notch, and the special effects and scares still hold up to this day. It’s one of Spielberg’s best movies, and he has many.
Although The Lost World and Jurassic Park III didn’t live up to their predecessor’s high standard, I still find them (mostly) enjoyable in their own ways. (Yes, even the maligned III. I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s a good movie; it’s far from it. It’s just entertaining as hell.)
Like I mentioned in my review of the new Mad Max, I’m very wary of sequels that come out more than a decade after the last movie. For the Jurassic Park franchise, it’s been 14 years. Michael Crichton, the book’s author, has since passed away, and Steven Speilberg did not direct Jurassic World (or III, the weakest one). However, as a fan of this series, Jurassic World was a must see for me. I went in with pretty low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is by no means a great movie, but it was enjoyable enough for what it was. It’s very stupid, of course, but it’s a fun movie. Like in my other reviews, I’ll list the pros and cons.
This movie was better than I expected, and has quite a few elements in its favor.
- Chris Pratt. He carries this movie, and is the only human character you really care about. His character has a lot of charm and charisma. He simultaneously plays the action hero and the lovable goofball quite well. Guardians of the Galaxy was no fluke.
- It’s funny. Jurassic World knows that it’s stupid, and pokes fun at itself on several occasions, but never to the point where it becomes farce. (Well, almost never. Raptor Squad?) There were quite a few genuine laughs in this movie, surprisingly. Most of them came courtesy of Pratt or the park’s nerdy fanboy technician.
- It’s inventive. The new rides and hologram attraction in the visitor center were quite interesting just as theme park attractions. The manner in which they’re used to survive dino attacks is even more clever. Especially the hologram, which I will not spoil here. There’s also a line of dialogue that accounts for why the dinosaurs at Jurassic Park/World don’t look like scientists now think they looked; namely, covered in feathers. It’s a clever way to update the mythos based on new scientific discovery.
- There were a couple of good, genuine scares. The new hybrid rex is consistently scary. Also, you get to really see the raptors at full speed. This was hinted at in the first movie, but the effects at the time were limited. Here, you get to see them in full sprint and it’s pretty nerve-wracking.
- The climactic battle is sufficiently thrilling, and corrects a mistake from III. If you wanted to see giant behemoths duke it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Though I enjoyed this film, there are some HUGE glaring problems which prevent it from being a great movie. I’ll try to list them without spoiling the movie. Well, maybe a few light spoilers.
- The characterization of the raptors and the T. rex is all wrong. This is actually my biggest complaint with all of the sequels, although The Lost World at least gets the T. rex characters right. In the first movie, the raptors are terrifying. In the second and third, they’re bumbling idiots. In World, at least they’re scary again, but they’ve been domesticated a bit. They vacillate between villains and heroes now. (Face palm.) The “raptor squad” was stupid, although not as stupid as it could have been.
- Inconsistencies between films. Mainly, the sizes and speeds of the dino specimens.
- Too much reliance on CGI. The CGI is mostly good, but in ten years it will probably look dated. The great thing about the first movie is that the closeup dinos were practical real world effects. They look real, even 22 years later, and they were able to elicit more realistic performances from the actors. In Jurassic World, you have a lot of the “actors looking at tennis balls” performances.
- There are too many subplots that go nowhere. I imagine some of these were introduced to set up another sequel, but they were unnecessary.
- Most of the human characters are useless. D’Onofrio’s villain was not fleshed out properly and his motivation was terrible. We spent lots of screen time getting to know the two kids, but they’re pretty useless. The actors are fine, the characters just weren’t written properly. Whereas you remember Lex and Tim from the first movie, I can’t even remember these kids’ names. And I just saw the movie two days ago.
- The love story is LITERALLY tacked on at the end. And it’s completely unnecessary and unbelievable.
- Steven Spielberg’s direction was sorely missed. Spielberg knows how to build tension and direct kids, both of which needed to be a little tighter in this movie.
Despite its many flaws, Jurassic World knows what it is: it’s a fun popcorn movie. Not art, entertainment. It succeeds as entertainment. If you already want to see it, you should. If you hated the other sequels, you’ll probably hate this one too.
Story: ★★ of 5
Action: ★★★★ of 5
Visuals: ★★★½ of 5
Overall: ★★★ of 5
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