Movie: Jurassic World
My Rating: 3 stars
I’m not immune to these big, summer blockbusters. And, I’ve recently had a little time off work, so I decided to hit the theaters to check out some of them. This is always a slightly weird experience—going to the movies in daylight hours with all the other weirdos with nothing better to do. You can run across plenty of unsavory characters. But, this time was a little better. Rather than sitting in a theater with the normal, lone, middle-aged men in trench coats, I got to share this movie-going experience with some regular people—a few couples, and a grandma/grandson date. I guess it’s because this is more of a mainstream movie . . . with dinosaurs! At least it made me feel a little better about an experience that is normally pretty antisocial.
But, let’s talk about the movie. You guys already know that my standards for an entertaining film are pretty low. So, of course I liked this one. (Especially since I shelled out for the 3D IMAX experience). I have fond memories of being terrified by the original movie as a middle-schooler in the 90s. My brother had all the licensed action figures. I started wearing safari-wear. And, I think I even remember filming a home-movie reenactment for a class assignment. (Not sure what kind of class that would have been). And, this movie really plays hard on the nostalgia factor. It tosses us memorable, little references to the original just often enough to make the viewer feel that thrill of recognition. And, that kind of thing is box-office gold. We get glimpses of the old gates and architecture, the jeeps and night vision goggles, and even some familiar flare work. And, I’m a total sucker for that kind of gimmick. I was charmed.
But in addition to those rewarding, little, artistic flourishes, this movie is pretty fun too. Sure, it’s a little cheesy. Sure there are a few glaring plot holes. And yeah, the story makes the female lead look like a chicken running around with her head cut off. (Let a man handle this, babe). Although I do take umbrage with all those critics who complained about Bryce Dallas Howard wearing heels throughout the story. She clearly got surprised with this disaster while she was at work. It’s not like she decided to go on safari dressed like that. But, I did think that this movie was very excitingly paced. There are multiple bad-guys. Multiple savage, wild beasts to worry about. And, some very poor decision-making on the part of a teenage boy that would bring the characters into contact with all of these dangers.
And, the disasters are pretty wild. There’s plenty of CGI to bring the different dinosaurs to life, but the studio also decided to go back to using a few practical effects too. And, I really liked that. It added some real-world dimension to shots that would have previously looked like a video game. I like that the movie threw some new dinosaurs our way. We get some pterodactyls this time around. And, who can say no to a little pachycephalosaurus action? They’re definitely the assholes of the dinosaur kingdom, and I love them for it. I did notice a few design changes in the dinosaurs. For instance, the velociraptors look much less vicious this time around. But, I guess they’re supposed to be sympathetic supporting characters (under the sway of Chris Pratt’s hypnotic, rippling muscles). So I can understand that decision. I would have liked to see more of the new dinosaur they introduced—the indominus rex—the vector of death that will come to kill us all. But, maybe they were avoiding giving us too close of a look at her so that she would remain scary. A lot of time, the spell is broken once the audience gets too close a look at a CGI movie monster. So, that was probably a wise editorial choice as well.
I had a good time at this movie, and I’m not too cool to admit it. And, I really think seeing it in 3D really enhanced my experience. I felt the action more, and maybe even some of the scale they were trying to convey. This movie is a little older now, so you may have a hard time finding it in a theater. But if you do, don’t hesitate to enjoy it that way. Now, I don’t want to hear any lip from the movie snobs out there. This was never supposed to be an artistic masterpiece. It’s just a fluffy, summer thriller. And, I think it’s a pretty successful one.