I too, have been really looking forward to Jurassic World and I have to say it lived up to the franchise’s legacy, albeit in quite an unexpected way. From the start, it is clear that the producers of Jurassic World understood that it was essentially an unattainable feat to create a film a decade later that would stand a chance against the original trilogy. Modern reboots and sequels very rarely do an original series justice – with the exception of the new Mad Max and The Dark Knight, to name a couple notable successes.
So instead of attempting to replicate the awe inspiring, wondrous land of Jurassic Park. They created Jurassic World, a gouache and brand dripping amusement park that is essentially the logical byproduct of a legacy of American capitalism mixed with the growing cynicism and apathy of the newer generations who have “seen it all before“. At several points in the film, the characters remark that the public has grown weary of ‘normal’ dinosaurs, as they have been on display for years, to justify the new hybrid dinosaurs they are creating. How can anybody seriously get bored of dinosaurs that quickly? Zoos are definitely still a thing and have been for centuries.
With this new setting comes an entirely different tone. The Jurassic Park of our youth is no longer, and attempting to replicate the old series would result in a soulless, contrived CGI hodgepodge of sorts. That childhood innocence has vanished, so the production team veered towards a more tongue in cheek approach to the series. And it works really, really well. Imagine a little kid playing with dinosaur models. If you look into that kids head while he’s immersed in his little role play game, you would find the plot and script to Jurassic World. “AND THEN THE T-REX FIGHTS THE BIGGER SCARIER T-REX AND THE RAPTORS COME AND THEY FIGHT TOGETHER IT WOULD BE SOOO COOL”.
Seriously, Chris Pratt is just reliving being a six year old, but with more cameras and a whole lot more money. Although I agree with the criticism that Pratt’s character, Owen Grady, feels “dull and flat“, but I think it contributes to one of the half-baked messages the film is trying to convey. It’s too stark a contrast to the brilliant characterization in the past films to be unintentional.
None of the characters are particularly multi dimensional or well developed like their predecessors, but I honestly don’t think they’re meant to – for old geezers like me that were little kids when the originals came out, its possible to take this as a nod to the growing tendency for action films to rely on expensive CGI and sensationalized violence instead of character or plot development.
Where the film lacks in profundity, it makes up for in seriously ridiculous plot points that just keep getting more absurd as the film progresses. Zach (Nick Robinson), the angsty nephew of protagonist Claire (Bryce Dallas Howards) is somehow always horny and the camera lingers on his pervy teen grin as he checks out a handful of girls in the first hour of the film.
Claire’s assistant gets tossed around like a rag doll by a pack of angry pterodactyls, then brutally chomped by the park’s own mosasaurus which is actually so awesome but so incredibly unlikely. But, without a doubt, the best thing about this film is the fact that Chris Pratt plays a velociraptor whisperer. A VELOCIRAPTOR WHISPERER. He gets to drive around with a pack of raptors on his really sleek motorcycle while they do his bidding because he’s a ‘good man’ and they’ve established some emotional bond with him. The raptors in the first film are shaking their heads at these new genetically modified sellouts.
And on top of all that (plus a total rip-off from Alien 3), the US military wants to buy the raptors for their weapons program. Honestly, how much more proof do you need that this movie is nothing more than one gigantic piss take? Perhaps the best scene, although fleeting, is when the pterodactyls attack the park. Its total mayhem and hysteria, but at one point, the camera focuses on a middle-aged man running away while trying to protect two elaborate cocktails in his hand.
If you’re looking for wonder and amazement, just rewatch the originals. Jurassic World brings something entirely new to the table, and besides the dinosaurs, it has essentially nothing to do with the original trilogy. It won’t make you well up with wonder, but it will certainly make you laugh your ass off. Nothing really makes any sense, but I’d go as far as to call it a modern absurdist masterpiece. There’s just no way you could make a new Jurassic Park and have it evoke the same blissful sensations as the original, but the production team behind Jurassic World has really revamped the series for modern (and likely, more cynical) audiences to the best of their abilities.