My wife and I saw Jurassic World last night, and I’m pleased to report that it is an entertaining popcorn action flick. I think that by now most moviegoers know what to expect from from the Jurassic Park film series, and they should be content overall with this installment.
I think it is fair to say that both the film’s storytelling and viewing experience is heavily CGI-centric. This is a film in which the dinosaurs (and then the movie magic that animates them on the silver screen) is the true star. And not surprisingly the creatures are well realized.
One thing that however did surprise just me a little, though, is by comparison recognizing just how good a job the 1993 film Jurassic Park did at rendering its dinosaurs. Maybe I’m just remembering the original film through the lens of expectations for the technology available at that time. But for both films (at least for me) the willing suspension of disbelief in the dinosaurs is, to roughly the same degree, a seamless experience due to the well crafted special effects. So it wasn’t as if two decades of CGI technology improvements made Jurassic World‘s dinosaurs appear significantly more “believable” to me. I think current CGI technology did however give the filmmakers more freedom to render whatever they wish, including this guy:
I won’t spoil as to the entire plot–you can read about that here if you wish.
I’ll just make a few more observations about the film:
I had a vague expectation going into the theater that I might be niggled a bit by the basic premise that such a theme park would or could ever be rebuilt after the disastrous events of the original film. (I never saw the two sequels to Jurassic Park, and best I can see it seems that this film ignores them–i.e., Jurassic World acknowledges the events of the just first film of the series.) As I snark in the title of this blog post: “Recreate Dinosaurs, Invite Public–What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” Sometimes the very premise of a film is just too implausible for me to buy into, and it interferes with my potential enjoyment of the film. Happily, that did not really happen here. It’s a little like watching a haunted house horror movie, in which you tacitly accept the conventions of the genre in order to enjoy the film:
A relatively minor gripe: as is now a standard trope for almost any sort of fantasy based action film, once again the military industrial complex is the the bad guy. This is also typically represented by a billionaire industrial mogul either contracted by the military or with ties to the military. It isn’t that we should be wary about the military industrial complex as Eisenhower (of all people) warned: I’m sure we should. It’s just that this device is so commonly recycled now in adventure films that it reflects an absence of creative thought and invention in storytelling. It’s probably the most credible villain that writers (meaning the producers that okay what actually gets made) can often come up with. It just lacks originality at this point–at least give us some twists with it. Give us something fresh please! (Here the billionaire industrialist is Asian Indian. I guess his ethnicity is supposed to be the “twist.” But that’s it.)
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard both do a fine job in the lead roles, and the supporting characters are all well acted as well. There’s a noticeable lack of romantic sparks between Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). But my wife observed that that actually worked out in an odd sort of way, given that there is evidently residual strain from a first date for which the couple failed to make a love connection (lol, remember the show of that name from the 80s and 90s?). They are thrown together by circumstances despite that, and make the best of it in order to survive.
Well anyway, Jurassic World was a fun date night movie. We had a good time chomping on popcorn and watching it in iMax 3D. If your expectations are at least moderate and you enjoyed the original film, you should have a good time with this picture.