Jurassic World: Larger than Life, But Needs Some Bite

 

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I’ll admit that while I like sci-fi shows and the occasional horror movie, creature features aren’t usually on my radar. I came into Jurassic World as a casual fan of the franchise, having only seen Jurassic Park and vlogs that ripped the sequels apart. Critics are divided on whether or not this is a good movie, so I wanted to see it to form my own opinion on it.

Right off the bat, I’ll say that this movie isn’t perfect, so for this review, I’ll look into the good, the bad, and the overall feel of the film.

The Good

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The scale of the movie is amazing. The first scene shows some kind of dinosaur hatching from an egg and the establishing shot of the island is breathtaking. Then, it takes you into the jungle just like in the original movie, but also includes scenes from the park.

I also liked that they got actors like Chris Pratt (from Parks and Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Lego Movie), Bryce Dallas Howard (from Lady in the Water and Terminator Salvation), Vincent D’Onofrio (better known as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin from Marvel’s Daredevil), and Katie McGrath (Morgana from Merlin and Lucy from Dracula) to be in this movie. Dr. Henry Wu from the original movie plays a larger role here as head of the genetics lab.

As far as characters go, I love Chris Pratt’s character Owen. He was a proto-Indiana Jones (which makes sense because Pratt is rumored to be starring in an Indiana Jones remake sooner or later) with a cool head and a carefree style. Owen is a raptor trainer and he has a great affection for his raptor pack.

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I liked Claire’s development from being the cold-hearted park coordinator to caring for the dinosaurs to being brave enough to get Rexie (as the original T-Rex from Jurassic Park is called) out of her cage to take on the iRex. The part where she tied up her shirt to look like Ellie from the original movie was a nice call back.

I liked Lowery, the nerdy guy (played by Jake Johnson from New Girl). He seems to represent the fans of the classic movie, pointing out all the things that the fans of the original would also call this movie out on, like the wrongness about creating the Indominous Rex (heceforth called iRex for short).

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I loved the part where Gray and Zach find themselves in the original Jurassic Park and used the jeeps from the original movie for their escape. There are a lot of nice call-backs to the original that I’m sure diehard fans will like.

I also liked that Barry, the only black guy in this movie, did not get killed. I just wish he did more in the movie. But for what it’s worth, he was good.

Speaking of, the dinosaurs were, for the most part, amazing characters. It was amazing to see dinosaurs being used in a petting zoo and a show with a mosasaurus that shows her eating a shark (hello, Jaws shout-out!). The iRex is also a very believable villain and it’s implied there is some human genomes in her.

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The breakout dinos, though, were Owen’s raptor pack: Blue, Charlie, Delta, and Echo. They started out as the intimidating mad dog back, barely capable of listening to anyone other than Owen, and then turning on the humans under the influence of the iRex. However, the bond that Owen has with them causes them to turn against the iRex.

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Finally, the climax of the movie was awesome. Rexie taking on the iRex, Blue joining in on the fight, and  the mosasaurus finishing the iRex off. I was grinning as soon as I saw Claire opening Rexie’s cage and rooted for Rexie as she fought the iRex. The only thing that would’ve made this better is if Rexie dealt the killing blow and pushed the iRex into the mosasaurus tank. But that’s just me.

 

 

The Bad

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I hate to say this, but the CG is awful in this movie. I was so hoping that they would use the practical effects more, but since I never see the major characters of the film actually being hit by the dinosaurs as they’re running, I knew that it was green screen. The only scene where the dinosaurs felt real was when Chris Pratt was touching a dinosaur that the iRex killed. I also didn’t like how the dimorphodons looked because I swear they could’ve been mistaken for dinosaur hybrids themselves. Granted, I’m not a dinosaur expert, so what do I know?

I was also disappointed with how the iRex actually looked. I expected her to be way big and to have wings, maybe. I didn’t expect some kind of chimera fantasy creature, but from how everyone described her, the result that came out was sadly less than stellar. In fact, I actually hoped she would look like this stark white dimorphodon or something. It was really hard to see her being as stark white as she is described. I couldn’t differentiate from the different raptors, either.

Also, it was really hard for me to believe that Claire could’ve been running in heels for all that time. She must have feet of steel or something because I can barely walk in my favorite pair of pumps, let alone run away from rampaging dinosaurs.

My biggest problem with the movie, however, was how they wrote their human characters. The dinosaurs were awesome, but the characters could’ve been a lot more likeable. The only characters I liked straight off the bat were Owen and Lowery. Owen was a great character in the film, but the subplot of his relationship with Claire was pretty contrived. I also didn’t like that Lowery ended up not getting the girl.

I love Vincent D’Onofrio, don’t get me wrong, but the writing for his character was very reminiscent of Avatar. It’s so obvious that he’s gonna be the villain and in what world would militarizing dinosaurs be considered a logically sound idea?! I kept praying that he gets killed in the movie and actually felt relieved when it happened, although his death was particularly gruesome.

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My least favorite death, however, was Zara (played by Katie McGrath). Granted, her character didn’t really do much outside of being a beleaguered assistant/babysitter, but I’m a fan of Katie McGrath and cringed as she was killed by the pteranodon and the mosasaurus.

There were also subplots brought up that went nowhere, particularly the fact that Gray and Zach’s parents are getting divorced. They didn’t seem to be having problems at the beginning and they seemed alright at the end.  For that matter, why didn’t the parents go with the kids to begin with? The whole “spending time with kids to inspire the career woman to have a man and babies” is one of my least favorite cliches. I pretty much rolled my eyes at the Owen and Claire romantic subplot because it didn’t feel real to me.

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I also didn’t like Zach until he actually started caring for his brother. I hated that he was always checking out girls when it’s established in the beginning that he has a girl at home. He acts whiny and stupid and looks too much like a Justin Bieber wannabe. Gray was okay, though.

 

And the rest

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I will give this movie points for keeping my mother awake, as she usually falls asleep while watching movies. She also finds Chris Pratt attractive and I’m definitely crushing on him myself after this movie. (Still love you, James Marsters!) I will give this movie points for being entertaining and engaging, with lots of call backs to the original movie and some subtle take-thats at the less-than-stellar sequels. I also liked that there cameos from people like Jimmy Buffet (seen hauling margaritas in the pteranodon rampage scene) and that the product placement got some take thats (stores being smashed up and some snark from Lowery).

I also felt that the set up for the iRex felt like a commentary on blockbuster movies as a whole. People will want bigger, scarier monsters  and corporations love cashing in on trends to the point that the soul of the story can get lost in the process.
Overall, the whole thing felt like a semi-B movie rather than a blockbuster due to the way they paid more attention to the dinosaurs as opposed to the human characters. However, I honestly would recommend going out to theaters and seeing it for yourself. You’ll definitely enjoy the ride. I saw the movie in 3D and it was definitely awesome, but not what I consider necessary.

 

If you want me to review any other movies currently in theaters, please like my Facebook page and comment which movie you’d like me to see and critique!

All images in this blog post are copyright of Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios and are used for editorial purposes only.

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