Jurassic World: A lumbering, rambling franchise reboot, better left extinct

Jurassic World: A lumbering, rambling franchise reboot, better left extinct

Some things are better left extinct — the Jurassic Park franchise is one of those things. Or as Ian Malcolm might pronounce about Jurassic World: “That is one big pile of shit.”

Director and writer — one of four credited screenwriters — Colin Trevorrow, whose only other film credit was the low budget indie charmer Safety Not Guaranteed, proves that blockbuster tentpoles require directors with experience and a proven track record at the box office.

A lot of cinephiles shit on Michael Bay, but as a director, the man is a savant at framing larger than life CGI action sequences and milking (maybe too much) them for maximum intensity. In Jurassic World, Trevorrow treats the dinosaurs he’s inherited from Steven Spielberg (simply known as God in Hollywood) like an undiagnosed ADHD five year-old smashing his Matchbox cars together — it is one ugly collision after the other.

And logic? Ha! You can throw logic out the door once you take your seat in the theater.

The first Jurassic Park arrived in the summer of 1993 and it changed the way movies would be made forever. Turns out it wasn’t the dinosaurs we should have been afraid of — but the computer technology that made it possible for us to see a T-rex on the big screen for the first time. But Jurassic Park’s seamless blend of practical effects with CGI produced a demiurgic monster movie audiences had never experienced before.

Jurassic Park was a groundbreaking achievement in cinematic history. The same can’t be said for Jurassic World, a film that’s as scatter-brained as the spastic camera trying to keep up with all the wonder and awe of the 21st century Dino-Disneyland.

Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is a total dolt when it comes to running Jurassic World. She refers to the dinosaurs as “assets” and “attractions” — For Claire, the dinos of her “beloved” park/world/whatever are nothing more than barcodes designed to keep investors and paying customers happy.

Now, this is where Jurassic World could have made a serious satirical statement about the current trend of movie making in Hollywood and current big business practices: Humanity is dead; profit is the only thing that matters.

The writers toss in a few throwaway lines about the evils of corporate and military (more on this whack subplot later) machinations, but Trevorrow lacks the balls to fully explore the subject he pokes fun at from a cautious distance.

Did Steven Spielberg do this when he satirized the money-making machine personified by the beaches of Amity Island on the 4th of July in Jaws? Nope. Spielberg blew up a kid (the Kintner Boy) in a giant pool of blood to show who suffers when the holders of the gold are left in charge. That’s how you make a statement. That’s how you tell a visual narrative. Not one scene in Jurassic World comes close to the ingenuity or craftsmanship Spielberg displayed countless times in nearly all his films, including Jurassic Park.

Chris Pratt, stud of the moment, plays Owen Grady and he’s formed a human connection with the raptors. That’s right JP fans, the most intelligent and vicious dinosaur ever to live has been domesticated by Star Lord.

There’s also two annoying kids running around the park and their parents are getting divorced in Wisconsin (who cares?!) and apparently to keep a nuclear family intact these days you need to be terrorized by an Indominus Rex, the genetically engineered super-dinosaur that is the unimpressive antagonist of the movie.

Honestly, writing this review is so painful and upsetting, it makes me wish a T-rex would crash through my roof and rip me in half … but I haven’t gotten to the moronic subplot.

This ham-hocked, lame-brained “subplot” features a private military sociopath who’s camo-painted boner is to turn the raptors into dino-marines to fight ISIS in the Middle East.

“Imagine if we had these things in Tora Bora,” says poor Vincent D’Onofrio.

By the end of Jurassic World, this subplot is left unresolved, which in all sad and pathetic likelihood is the setup for the next installment in the franchise:  Jurassic War.

Jurassic World doesn’t just prove that dinosaurs are extinct, so is the industry’s once precious gift for quality storytelling.

Final Say:

Heineken?! Fuck that shit!

Bryan Kish

Bryan Kish writes reviews and articles for NID Magazine.