JURASSIC WORLD

  I liked it better the first time, when it was called DAY OF THE DOLPHIN. Seriously, it’s a tentpole, nothing more. Uninspired product you’ve already seen, right down to the fight sequences (humans imperiled by dinosaurs who at the very last second are eaten by larger dinosaurs) and the scares (the old monster’s-face-inches-away bit). There’s too much talking, and when they do, it’s ethics for 9th-graders — animal rights, gene splicing — married to a subplot about Military Industrial Complex baddies (Cf. …DOLPHIN). Spielberg only produced this time, but his sticky-sweet fingers are all over the movie, right down to the standard issue cheerful mophead and his sullen but goodhearted teen heartthrob brother, kids on a thrilling adventure that’s never too scary for a “humorous” one-liner. (Bryce Dallas Howard is also cursed with having to make with the jokes while in the middle of mortal terror.) Also, out of nowhere, a looming divorce backstory pops up for a few unearned tears and is never alluded to again. That scene, like those between Howard and Chris Pratt, keeps shifting tone, to confusing effect; the humans don’t seem any more warmblooded than the dinosaurs. [I know. Dinosaurs are no longer universally believed to have been coldblooded. The line was too good to resist.] So anyway, how about those dinosaurs? One of the movie’s main themes is Jurassic World’s need to come up with a bigger, fiercer animal (created in a lab) because the initial thrills of Jurassic Park had become passé. The problem is, that “bigger, fiercer animal” isn’t as fearsome as it should be; it’s just a little larger than the other raptors and such, which sometimes lumber like mechanical models and other times seem more natural. Also,the crowd scenes are clumsy and ridiculous (in the midst of massacre, the stars don’t get a scratch), in much the same way as in Spielberg’s WAR OF THE WORLDS. And while Michael Giacchino scores a lot of big movies, he’s no John Williams; there isn’t a musical moment that registers here. Or any kind of moment, really. — Jeff Schultz

The original JURASSIC PARK movie was something we had never seen before. There was wonder and amazement. It was scary, thrilling and spectacular. JURASSIC WORLD? Uh, not so much. It’s cool. It’s fun. I enjoyed the whole thing. The dinosaur effects were better, but how could they not be given advances in technology. The filmmakers didn’t ignore its history, and without spoiling anything, wove it into the storyline. But there are problems here. The overarching theme is that the military industrial complex is evil and out for profit and we should be wary of it. Thank you. Dwight Eisenhower as screenwriter. That didn’t stop the producers from loading the film with product placement. It rivals the last Transformers movie in that respect. So I was feeling mixed messages to say the least. The two kids fit too easily into stereotypes. The younger is way too into dinosaurs given his apparent age. The older is ruled too much by his hormones. They are paper thin characters. It was also way too easy to guess what was going to happen and who was going to die. To use a baseball analogy, they were telegraphing their pitches. All that said, I really like Chris Pratt. How could you not. He is the new version of Harrison Ford. Likable, good looking, decent actor. He will be this generation’s action hero. Given its record opening weekend box office, I know we’re going to get a sequel. The big creative question is, why? — Alan Yudman
 

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