Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World: Another Watchable Installment in a Franchise that Refuses to Go Extinct.

IMDB Story line: Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly. Steven Spielberg returns to produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, JURASSIC WORLD. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure from a draft of the screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly. Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley join the team as fellow producers.

I can still remember how awesome it was to be twelve, sitting in a dark movie theater watching Jurassic Park for the first time. There was nothing like it before, and the movie set a standard for storytelling, while combining special effects, that would shake (for better or worse) the movie industry forever. More than 20 years and two watchable (but not great) sequels later, I was pumped to see my old dinosaur friends again. After sitting through a barrage of special effects, well staged action sequences, and an overall enjoyable movie experience, I still left the the theater disappointed. While the movie surely made up for the flaws of the last two sequels (there were no silly raptor beating acrobatics, or annoyingly stupid characters making annoyingly stupid decision) it still lacked something that only the first movie has ever been able to capture completely – heart.

Before there was Jurassic Park, there were millions of children that loved dinosaurs because of the awe that they inspired. They loved them for their mystery, their power, and not because they could tear you into pieces. Spielberg understood this, and even in his less than great sequel, tried to capture this feeling of marvel, where even seasoned scientists couldn´t believe that they are seeing what they are seeing. Then of course there is running and screaming, but it felt more like a betrayal than the logical next step of an action movie. Flash forward to the new film, and the awe is gone. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. We live in a world where fanatics rule the media cycle. Where for some, dinosaurs walked right alongside man 6,000 years ago. And where for others, technology, GMOs, and particle accelerators are the new science. Digging for bones is old news. Astronomers are popular again, and few people seem to be looking down, unless it is to check their cell phones. So, how do you introduce a movie about dinosaurs to this generation? You make them products?

It´s not as if this idea of the rights of an extinct species had not already been hashed out in previous Jurassic Park movies, but we still managed to feel a compassion for these animals. Dr. Grant and Malcolm, as much as they disagreed with the park in theory, they marveled and respected it in reality. In this movie, there is no room for that. They are eye candy. None of the characters instills this heartfelt curiosity in what makes these animals tick, so neither do we. The obligatory kids come off as snobs, who are more excited to be there because they can afford to go. One of the main characters has even managed to “tame” the most ferocious of the species, the Velociraptor. These animals are now zoo pets, they are lame. Without this sense of wonder we are left with only that which the movie did do well: allowing us to enjoy the ride. Although the start was badly paced, once it gets going there are plenty of bumps, and scares, albeit with little suspense for we know the outcome – everyone will be home safe. This makes the movie interesting but it does not lend it´s way to a second viewing. At no point did I feel the fear of any of these characters (think: raptors in the kitchen), we don´t feel their motivation (think: parents searching for their lost child), because they are simply actors in a big video game.

Jurassic World will make millions at the box office, will spawn another sequel, and will put more millions into some bank accounts (I am not ashamed to have contributed to that). But will it instill the curiosity of searching for the unknown, learning, and digging, that the first film did? That is very doubtful. It will simply be the fifth installment in a “watchable” but utterly heartless film franchise, which should have gone extinct a long time ago.

Post by:
Phillihp Ray

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the movie but how many times are we going to open a park and be surprised when the dinosaurs escape. They have been escaping since 1993 in every movie, It's time to see them branch out on their own and reclaim the earth sort of like planet of the apes. I would like to see the aftermath of them being in a war with mankind.