They did it. The crazy sons-a-bitches actually did it! What am I talking about? They opened the freaking park! After two failed attempts and hefty litigation, InGen never gave up and successfully opened that dream factory. But clearly, no one learned any real lessons here, did they? Much like the exchange in the Lost World…
It’s been close to fifteen years since we last saw a Jurassic Park flick. Some new ideas and fresh blood had to be injected into the franchise. During the planning stages, numerous pitches were tossed around with the most notable being weaponized dinosaurs. While that thankfully didn’t quite make it into this film, traces of it are still present.
The idea of showing the idea of the park coming to fruition, in an even more updated society, was definitely the right move for a follow up after all this time. In a day and age where corporations run everything, it was a clever reflection of the world that could have been turned into some very biting satire had the right writers and directors been involved. BUT I suppose satire isn’t for everyone. These days it seems to go over everyone’s head.
And I’m not trying to dismiss the script by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. They are a pretty good writing duo that wrote Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which are superb stories, in my opinion. But I know that sometimes, writers’ names can stay on a project even though their work has been torn to shreds. Not saying that happened here. Just covering all the bases, ok?
Colin Trevorrow was tapped by Spielberg to helm this soft reboot of the franchise, after he impressed the legendary director with his pitch for the flick. Hollywood seemed to think Trevorrow was on his way to being the next big director in Hollywood. But then his movie Book of Henry came out and suddenly his name became toxic. He was even once slated to direct Rise of Skywalker, and while I don’t think his previous film had anything to do with that, I’m sure it didn’t help matters either. Especially since Lucasfilm was now too afraid to do anything new. That’s right. I LOVE The Last Jedi. And I would defend it here and now, but I gotta talk about this dinosaur movie.
So since we haven’t had an action-star leading these films before, the writers finally decided to make one with Owen Grady, played by Chris Pratt. Pratt did not start his career as a hunky superstar. It was only after his turn as Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy did things turn around for the guy. And good for him on that too. He could have easily coasted in Hollywood as the loveable oaf character. I know the guy gets a lot of hate these days, but I still like him. I guess people have a problem with him because he loves Jesus or something. I don’t know. He can love whomever he wants… as long as it isn’t children. Hey, let’s move on, shall we?
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire presents herself as one half of a new John Hammond. Although she is all business, no imagination and wonder. She does a fine job here, however I think her career trajectory will see her following in her father’s footsteps. Sure, she is a far cry from the hideous chud he turned out to be, but she seems to have a knack for directing just as he does. Irrfan Khan as Masarani is the other side of that coin, being the man who wants the spectacle to be as grand as possible, no matter how stupid the means are to get there. Also, I feel like his ability to be a pilot was shoe-horned into being a way to kill him later. Just felt like it had no purpose but for that moment.
Vincent D’Onofrio plays the guy we expect him to: the asshole. But he does it so well. Fun fact: he and Arliss Howard, who played Peter Ludlow in the Lost World, were both in Full Metal Jacket and both played heads of InGen. They also uttered similar lines about owning the dinosaurs. B.D. Wong returns as Henry Wu, a character I think we had all but forgotten about. What a heel turn that guy made. Sure, we didn’t really know much about him in the first film. Maybe back then he was a different person. I guess a company forcing you to play Dr. Frankenstein would make anyone go a little mad.
While Judy Greer is briefly in the film, it’s a delight seeing her. In fact, I feel like I see her in everything now. And I think that’s why I’m developing a serious crush on her too. Jake Johnson as Lowery is the comic relief in the film and a delight as well. Everything about him feels like commentary attempting to be made. Who wouldn’t roll their eyes at “Verizon Wireless present Indominus Rex”? He was a proxy for us.
And once again, we have kids in this goddamn movie. Yet I can’t argue against them being there since there are kids all over the damn park. But what purpose do they serve to the plot? NONE. Finally, and you’ll have to excuse my language here, fuck Jimmy Fallon.
Throughout the film, we are treated to numerous little Easter eggs referencing other films. There was the scene recreation of the Gallimimus running through the field. The T-Rex smashing through the skeleton of a Spinosaurus. Lowery has a less-threatening Dennis Nedry vibe.The old visitor’s center stuff. I could go on and on, but you can find all this stuff for yourself. I can’t do everything for you.
I liked that we also got some chaos in the park. This happening also relates back to my previous statement that no one learned anything, because one would assume that precautions against THIS VERY INCIDENT would be in place. Sure, it’s a long shot. You’ve taken all these other necessary precautions, but still plan for that 1% chance since it’s still a possibility.
Then there’s the creation of the Indominus Rex. The first plausible question would be “why in god’s name would you do something like this?” Then you remember corporations and money and all that jazz and then it all makes sense. A corporation would ABSOLUTELY do this just to make an extra buck. And that monstrosity would absolutely break free and go on a rampage. It’s the most believable aspect of this entire movie. No way Jimmy Buffet is gonna be hanging out at this park.
The I-Rex was a pretty cool idea. This allows some creative freedom as to what this thing could be and to not be bogged down by decades of science fiction. As a side bar, I’m not done with this joke and I’m going to continue to go all in with it. Its intelligence really added some much needed intensity to the franchise because we couldn’t anticipate what it would do, at least I didn’t. I don’t like figuring things out about a movie. I’d rather enjoy the thrill of the moment. That said, we knew EXACTLY what was going to happen when soldiers went after it. It’s a film trope at this point. The obligatory soldier massacre.
When Grady was tasked to inspect the I-Rex, on one hand, I could believe he could deduce some of its tactics and reasoning. However, there was a time or two that I felt like he took a leap. Like how did he know the I-Rex, which after saying it again makes me think that is intentional like the “iPhone” but anyway, how did he know it KNEW where the tracker was. I suppose it would be a logical deduction, but not for him to come to. Maybe it’s the way the scene is framed. It nags at me.
I did enjoy the twist that the I-Rex was part raptor and turned the Grady’s quartet against him. I guess it should have been a given but whatever. It raised the stakes almost instantly. Took the wind out of their sails pretty quick. And let’s talk about the raptors, having someone train them and having a domineering relationship with them was an interesting choice.Throughout these films, we’re always reminded how raptors are intelligent. If that is true, then it doesn’t feel that far fetched that one could create a bond with one, much like Grady did with Blue. I think it adds something new and interesting to the film.
There also seemed to be mutual respect amongst dinosaurs against the I-Rex, which I liked. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The final showdown between the I-Rex and T-Rex is one of the biggest highlights of the film and the Mosasaurus delivering the final blow was a nice touch. It made the dinosaurs feel like more that forces of nature stomping around the park.
Let’s not forget to talk about that magnificent score by the talented chameleon Michael Giacchino. I know I lambasted the last composer for being a hack that just reused John Williams score. While Giachinno does sparingly use a reprise of John Williams original score, he also crafted his own equally compelling theme for this film that seemingly passes the torch while emulating the feel of a Williams score. I’m telling you the man is a musical genius. Even subtle touches like faint piano chords heard at the old visitor’s center scene are the work of someone who cares about the details.
While Jurassic World may not be the masterwork that Jurassic Park is known to be, I feel like it’s a fun thrill ride that takes us back to this world full of devious corporations and imagery creatures. What more could you ask for?