Some Random Thoughts on Jurassic World

In no particular order. Spoiler warnings in effect.

150621Jurasic

  • There is a point at which running from killer dinosaurs in the jungle in heels crosses the line from “This character is a professional businesswoman who isn’t at ease with the wild nature of the animals she supervises” to “This character is a moron.” That point is: the very moment you start running from killer dinosaurs in the jungle in heels.
  • The only time Claire actually seems to know what she’s doing is when she’s coordinating things in the control room. This movie could have been much better if Owen had stayed out in the field doing what he’s good at and Claire had stayed in the control room doing what she’s good at. Or maybe have Claire in the field and Owen in the control room, each of them desperately trying to coach the other through a job they’re not prepared for. As it is, it feels too much like the script is saying: “Silly woman, stop trying to do a man’s job.”
  • Kids are annoying. Badly-behaved kids are even more annoying. Badly behaved kids who run away from the adults who are supposed to be taking care of them (even if those adults are doing a crummy job of it) are annoyinger still. That said, these particular kids were a tiny bit less annoying than they could have been. They were still pretty annoying, though.
  • The nods to the original Jurassic Park were for the most part nicely done and not too obtrusive. I have a fond nostalgia for the original movie (not so much the first two sequels), and I was touched.
  • That said, what made the original Jurassic Park work so well was that the dinosaurs were not characters. They were animals. They didn’t have motivations beyond the animal drives to hunt and defend their territory. The raptors’ stealthy pack hunting was the limit of their intellectual abilities. They were easy enough to understand; what made them scary was mass, speed, claws and teeth. It didn’t matter if you were smarter than a dinosaur. All the smarts in the world didn’t make you any bigger, faster, or less squishy. The sequels have turned the dinosaurs into characters and it has not served them well. Jurassic World is the worst yet in this regard. When a giant dinosaur starts just messing with the humans (decoy tactics, camouflage, velociraptor subversion), it becomes less scary because it’s entering a contest of smarts, not power, and that’s a fight Indominus rex can’t win, no matter what genes they spliced into that thing.
  • Either that dinosaur is bulletproof or In-Gen is recruiting straight from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Either way, bad move, guys.
  • Rolling fields full of Apatosaurs, Stegosaurs, and Triceratopses can still send me straight to six-year-old bliss land, and this movie delivers.
  • I’m of two minds about the Mosasaurus-ex-machina ending. On one hand, it was well set up and executed. On the other hand, after bringing the old T. rex onto the field, it feels like a Hail Mary too far.
  • If ever there was movie calling out for a “sudden but inevitable betrayal” joke, this was it. We got robbed.
  • Watching the trailers, I nursed a hope that Bryce Dallas Howard’s character was a grown-up Lexie from Jurassic Park. Nope.
  • The movie is better than The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 and feels like a worthy successor to the original. It’s still one competent professional woman, one hurricane, and one Samuel L. Jackson short of measuring up.

Image via comingsoon.net.

In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.

 

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