Tweetable Takeaway: Jurassic World has plenty of good dino-chomping action, but not much plot or character work. Tweet
By: Wil Loper, Contributor
For everything Jurassic World may do wrong, you’ve got to give the movie credit for nailing down how the theme park would be had it actually opened after Jurassic Park. Creatures from millions of years ago? Sooner or later, the dinos would become par for the course, and they’d be taken for granted like any other attraction. There’s plenty of satisfying mayhem and chomping on display in this newest attraction called Jurassic World, and not quite enough interesting story or character. Still, it should provide enough entertainment to the average dinosaur-interested viewer.
Somehow eccentric millionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough in the first Jurassic film) has given his blessing to another rich guy to open and operate the dinosaur park. It’s up to Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to keep attendance up and approval ratings high. How to do that? Simple, just keep coming up with new attractions. Armed with genetic researchers, what better way to get your money’s worth than have them cook up a new dinosaur completely? Bigger, faster, more teeth, and arms that can actually reach things. Any warning signs along the way are ignored in favor of cash register sound effects. Before anyone can say “cha-ching,” the new dinosaur, dubbed Indominus Rex, escapes and starts heading toward the resort.
Before I. Rex can start turning tourists into T-bones, hunky velociraptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) is on the job. Owen happens to be one of the few characters deemed worthy to have a brain by the screenwriters, as he is the only character who consistently acts in a rational manner. Nearly everyone else makes judgment calls that make the creators of Paul Blart look like the inventors of electricity. There’s bending the screenplay to make a movie exist in the first place, and then there’s suspension of disbelief weaker than a paper bridge.
Or characters are just plain insane. A military man or contractor of some sort, Hoskins (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) wants to use dinosaurs for war. Hoskins sees Owen training raptors and sees an opportunity to drop them behind enemy lines. Perhaps if the movie took place before the invention of gunfire, this might make some sense. But in today’s warfare, of drones and long ranged fighting, throwing a dino on the front lines and telling it to attack the enemy probably won’t work the best. To up the tension, I believe was the filmmakers’ intent, Hoskins sees the rampaging Indominus Rex as a way to demonstrate why using trained dinosaurs in war would totally work.
It’s a decision that feels forced to make a bad guy in a movie where the dinosaurs do a pretty good job as the antagonists. Hoskins’ logic makes no sense, and it brings the movie down. Other characters behave egregiously as well. Throughout is a struggle between profits and people’s lives. There may be one truly awful character in a movie who believes profits are the way to go, but when nearly half the cast seems to think a huge dinosaur heading towards a park full of children isn’t that big a deal, head-smacking by audience members will commence.
The movie never lets too much time pass before another sequence of dinosaur attacks occurs. Popcorn flick aficionados will approve. But between the limp story, and terribly stupid characters who put themselves in bad situations, the movie feels longer than it is. A welcome cameo near the end refreshes the movie for a spell, and Chris Pratt keeps the movie enjoyable as he dashes off zingers and his sly smile. Audience members just may find themselves only paying attendance to enjoy the ride of Jurassic World once.
I give Jurassic World 3 velociraptors out of 5
Score: 3 out of 5