I really wish Doctor Ian Malcolm, (that's Jeff Goldblum to you), could have had a bit part, just so he could have looked earnestly at the park's latest horror and said 'You're going to need a bigger island'. You know, like that legendary line in Jaws.
So what's the deal? Located somewhere exotic near the coast of Costa Rica lies Jurassic World. The humble theme park of the 90s has been replaced with a slick, luxury resort providing self drive hamster balls for the (notably absent obese) tourists that visit to view the many more species present on the island. Here, the scientists have been let loose, creating hybrid 'designer dinos' to excite the flaccid and bland visitors that, in between mouthfuls of fast food, demand more terror with each visit.
Nothing like a good obvious serving of hubris for park co-ordinator Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to seem baffled and forlorn when their new Queen of Hyprids escapes. Oh no! What ever shall we do? Fortunately, there's a navy seal Owen (Chris Pratt) who happens to have an unexplained and odd passion for raptors. Half Doctor Doolittle, half Rambo, he's able to save everyone from an all out prehistoric assault.
This girl needs to be on the next Nike Ad #ThisGirlCan
I can't get over this character. I flipping LOVE Parks and Recreation and Andy is my favourite. 'Owen' is like that episode where April helps complete Andy's bucket list by filming a home-made action movie. I'm not tarring Chris Pratt's acting ability - he's great in Zero Dark Thirty -it's the unintentionally hilarious script.
Here's a short summary of some of my favourite Owen moments:
- He lives like Huckleberry Finn on the island's best mud hole.
- This image.
- He gives a respectful nod to a raptor, a kind of 'cheers' for not getting eaten.
- He covers himself in petrol then runs around with a flame thrower.
- His motorbike is as fast as a raptor.
- His idea of romance is extreme and clearly puts him off his A game, as he can't kiss.
Mudbloods, District 12, the Servants at Downtown Abbey - the underdogs and heroes are usually a good mix of folk who take sweet vengence on their elitist, inbred, web-toed, horse mouthed oppressors. Tut tut, that's not how to treat people.
Not in Jurassic World! An unexpected advocate of pure breeding. You can bet Crufts wouldn't except this Rex. With a name that sounds like a Catholic Mass, poor old Indominus is the Heinz 57 of the dinosaurs and the least scary set of pixels I've ever seen. She's an incredible (literally) mix of any species which has ever graced the planet. Need a beast who can disappear? No problem, it's half snake. How about one who hunts in packs? Yup - he's part raptor. What about glow in the dark? Look no further, it's part jellyfish. Can it breathe in outer space? Sure, why not, it's part alien... okay, maybe save that for the sequel.
Sadly, this cocktail Dinosaur is not as scary as a cup of pulsating water. It's like Cloverfield - once you see the monster it becomes a joke. Nothing is more terrifying than what we imagine - even Bambi understood that.
Sack the stylist. In the process of designing this park, the architect for Jurassic World made the sensible decision to house this Monster Lizard way up into the jungle, far away from the boat loads of tourists arriving.
Evidently, he then look a long 'working' lunch at the pub and finished up his day sticking the T-Rex immediately next to the food hall. I can see him now, bleary eyed, tie loose, friends calling him back to the bar. It's Friday, he's been working on this project for weeks. Yeah, that'll do. Hit submit and leave the office, good job done.
With her new people adjacent location, good old T-Rex sits back and patiently waits for the climax of the film where she bursts forth screaming 'Did you forget about me?!' Fortunately, she seems quick to forgive and after saving the day, is happy to schlep her way back to the feeding pen, dejected and tired. So tired, she hasn't even got the energy to munch up one of those pesky humans. So that's it. We're expected to believe that 20 years alone on the island has mellowed this previously terrifying cinematic creation. I don't know how long a T Rex lives, but it seems 20 is a bit young to be taking on retirement in such a bland fashion.
Perhaps I'm not giving director Colin Trevorrow credit for his subtle social commentary in the film. Let's not forget the whale/dino/shark that jumps out of its pool to splash and excite the audience. I notice it's keeper didn't take a flying dive off the end of it's mouth. Maybe they'd seen 'Blackfish' and decided that performing fish is still a vicious killer, silently plotting your end with every show they perform.
Like all good tragedies lessons have to be learnt. In ancient Greek Tragedies, hubris (excessive pride and arrogance) lead to the protagonists facing nemesis. Back in the day that was usually something more subtle than a 60ft high dinosaur.
So who suffers the deadly sins of nemesis?
- Greed: Masrani (Irrfan Khan) dies in his helicopter trying to save the day in an oddly 80s Action Hero kind of way.
- Wrath: Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio) the war-mongering-peace-hating military advisor is munched up.
- Sloth: fat tourists that haven't been doing enough cardio to escape the pterodactyls
- Pride: Claire discovers that love is greater than money oh, yeah ... and looking after a tonne of insanely dangerous animals.
- Lust: sleezy older brother and teenage Beiber wannabe, Zach (Nick Robinson) learns bro's before ho's.
Maybe this film is super post modern. There's an attempt to be ironic or self referential in a way that any hipster would be proud when the scientists say the reason they create these ever more ridiculous monsters is to satisfy the ever demanding public who come to the park. These morons, who turn up, numb to horror because they've been watching ISIS beheadings on YouTube while scanning Facebook - there's a roll of a scientists eye to know we're in on the joke. But we're not. We're treated like the morons they talk about with idiotic plot decisions, thin characters, predictable narrative and a march of set action sequences.
Jurassic Park was so awesome because it was a relatively simple idea written by a talented author Michael Criton, who like all good dystopian writers wanted to explore the consequences of human progress. Ostensible, what happens if you take generic engineering to the nth degree? Again, we can thank Jeff for a little pearl of wisdom.
There's no such hypothesis for Jurassic World. I've said it before, Chris Nolan has proven you can make commercially successful blockbuster movies that raise interesting ideas and still smash you in the face with action. Jurassic World assumes it's audience is still an amoeba in the prehistoric quagmire. So we're back to Dr Ian Malcolm, who's advice director Colin Trevorrow could have taken - just replace 'scientists' with 'CGI artists'.
Having said all that, this was a HUGELY entertaining way to spend an afternoon on a dreary Saturday and I'm pretty sure my son is going to love this when he's old enough to watch it.