Movie Review: A.C. Hall
Movie audiences are jaded. We have watched the unreal become real and the unimaginable come to life so many times on the movie screen that it’s not as easy to be thrilled and amazed as it once was. After the brilliance of the original, the Jurassic Park franchise has struggled to recapture the wonder and awe of it’s first film. Even after fourteen years, this struggle remains, as Jurassic World can’t quite deliver the magic feeling that made the first Jurassic Park movie so special. This is a flawed movie on several levels. But make no mistake, when it gets down to the dinosaur carnage, Jurassic World is an absolute blast.
Of course, waiting for that wonderful dino carnage to begin is one of the biggest issues with Jurassic World. This movie takes an outrageous amount of time getting started. I understand the need for build up, but the build up here goes on for twice as long as needed.
Another issue is the fact that the story of Jurassic World is built upon dumb ideas perpetrated by very dumb people. When my ten-year-old nephews are pointing out countless logic flaws in the plot on the car ride home, you know you’ve made some storytelling errors. There are very few moments in the plot of this movie that aren’t clouded with a thick vapor of stupidity. The scientists using dangerous genetic tricks to make a new super murderous dinosaur, the managers of the park trying to save money instead of lives, and then of course there’s the villain.
Let me say this. There are giant murderous dinosaurs on the loose. That is villain enough. The introduction of a sleazy private military contractor looking to utilize killer dinosaurs for combat roles is at the heart of this film’s stupidity. The movie could’ve been thirty minutes shorter and a whole lot better with the removal of this character and his inane plot. This storyline really muddled the film and dragged down the overall quality.
So those are a lot of gripes, I know, but thankfully Jurassic World does one big thing right. It unleashes a chaotic dinosaur apocalypse that is among the funnest things I’ve watched in a movie all year. From the new super murderous indominus rex to bloodthirsty pterodactyls, when this movie flips the carnage switch it does so with gusto. Scene after scene of action packed dino violence make the back half of this film a real joy to behold. For all that they got wrong, the filmmakers absolutely nailed the dinosaur action.
Hot new star Chris Pratt and co-star Bryce Dallas Howard are both passable as the film’s leads. Both feel more like generic archetypes than actual characters, though. The two brothers lost on the island provide a bit more depth, but even their overly developed back story struggles to connect emotionally with the audience. The movie has a couple of great personalities in the flamboyant billionaire park owner and the nerdy dino loving technology geek, but sadly they don’t get very much screen time or moments to shine.
People don’t go to see movies like Jurassic World for award worthy performances or thought provoking plots, I understand that. But the flaws in this film are pretty major. It takes the promise of this great franchise and buries it beneath bad writing, bad characters, and bad pacing. Having to dig through all of that to get to the film’s good qualities is a real drag, but when you arrive to the promised dinosaur havoc it’s nothing but fun and good times. So while the lows are pretty low, the highs are pretty high, making this a summer blockbuster that I still think is worth checking out in the theaters. It may take a good forty minutes to get to anything worth watching, but when it gets there it really delivers.
One final note. This is a violent film. There isn’t a lot of blood and guts, but there are countless deaths and mutilations at the hands of rampaging dinosaurs. Some of that is to be expected in this type of film, but the level and amount of violence was quite a bit higher than what I was expecting, so keep that in mind before heading to the theater.
THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS
This movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril