I last wrote that the previews for Jurassic World gave me hope. I had hope that this movie would generate a feeling of nostalgia, allowing me to relive perhaps the most magical time of my childhood. What it actually did was violently bludgeon my childhood with a barrage of overblown CG and godawful one-liners. To continue this full-scale attack on everything sacred, Target joined in the fun by releasing the entire raptor squad in action figure format. When I got my raptors home, however, careful inspection revealed that they had all been neutered of their RETRACTABLE CLAWS. That’s what makes a raptor a raptor, but I guess not in this brave new world. There is only one good thing to come out of this movie, and it’s the Jurassic Smash Blizzard at Dairy Queen. At least I can eat my feelings as I remember the good old days when animatronics could live in harmony with CG, and raptors were not robbed of their most notable trait.
Don’t get me wrong, Jurassic World is fast-moving and action-packed, all buzzwords that are affiliated with summer blockbusters. Mostly, though, it is just dumb. An over-reliance on CG negates any sense of the wonder that was so easily captured by the original. Plus the fact that there is absolutely no Dr. Ian Malcolm.
The plot is simple enough. Jurassic World, formerly Jurassic Park, overcame some initial hiccups and has been a successful dinosaur zoo for twenty-plus years. Times are changing, though, and good old-fashioned dinosaurs don’t cut it with the public anymore. This prompts JW scientists to cook up a brand new hybrid, contingent, of course, on corporate sponsorship. The resulting Indominus Rex (yes, really) is a mishmash of dinosaurs and non-dinosaurs alike, giving her massive size, opposable thumbs, and the ability to change color. Her fluency in raptor snarls reveals some shared DNA there, but no one seems too worried about the origin of those thumbs. Predictably, Indominus Rex outsmarts her captors and escapes her exhibit, terrorizing the other exhibit inhabitants and the staff alike as she makes her way to the park. Only Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the raptor whisperer, is able to hatch a plan so crazy that it just might work. There’s also a ridiculous subplot involving some government guy who wants Grady to help train raptors for war. Commence eye rolling now.
So, the storyline is lacking, but the characters drag this thing down even more. For one thing, there’s no Dr. Ian Malcolm, which I may have already mentioned, although someone can be seen reading his book on the monorail. The kids are annoying facsimiles of the originals. Apparently, all divorcing parents send their kids to dinosaur islands so custody details can be sorted out in private. Then there’s Aunt Claire. Much has been made of her non-sensible shoes, which she manages to extensively run around in without breaking a heel or an ankle. Nevermind the fact that it is impossible to empathize with this woman. She has no respect for the dinosaurs as living creatures, and her primary concern is money. She’s basically the opposite of the endearing, albeit naive John Hammond. Spared no expense. I’m basically at a loss for words when it comes to Owen Grady. Chris Pratt is hot right now, I get it, but this character is only tolerable because Chris Pratt plays him. All of his dialogue is in the form of one-liners. Basically, everything Grady says in the entire film is in the previews. Except when he and Claire randomly fall in love and he quips that they should “Probably stay together. For survival.” Saptastic.
SPOILERS AHEAD. What fully pushed me over the edge was the ending. Grady has somehow – presumably through advanced clicker-training – established himself as the raptor squad’s Alpha. OK. The raptors turn on him when they meet Indominus Rex and embrace her as their new Alpha. Better yet – this makes sense. When faced to choose between Alphas, Blue the Velociraptor restores her allegiance to Grady. Heartwarming. T-Rex is let out to combat Indominus Rex (?), and together, Blue, T.Rex, and Megaladon (?!?) save the day. Blue flees into the jungle, but not before sharing an emotional parting glance with her one and only true Alpha. You’re my boy, Blue. Errr, girl.
Jurassic Park came out at a time when theater-goers were ready to be scared, dazzled, and entertained. Today’s audiences are jaded by CG and pretty much wowed by nothing. We are the angsty teenagers at Jurassic World, unimpressed by the impressive and demanding monstrosities to fuel our growing need for “better” attractions. Hybrids are just combinations of what already exists, though, and Jurassic World proves to be nothing more than a hybrid of badly recycled movie material. Excuse me as I cry into my Blizzard.
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