‘Jurassic World’…what can I say, it’s a movie. There are a lot of things that can be said about the film, despite its huge success in the box office. In one hand, it’s a great movie based on the simple fact that it made money. On another hand, it, they had hamster balls…for people.
I’m a huge fan of the franchise in which I both praise the first one (which inspired myself and a generation of people to pick up a shovel and find dinosaurs to be pumped back into sequels) and loathe ‘Lost World: Jurassic Park’ and ‘Jurassic Park III’ entirely. Now after two bad sequels and a trailer full of bad CG dinos, hamster balls, and tamed raptors that follow Chris Pratt‘s (Guardians of the Galaxy and Parks and Recreation) commands. I don’t care if he’s Star-Lord! Nobody tames a raptor! With that being said; I went in, sat down, ate a theater pretzel, and pretty much got what I expected.
Now without giving away too many spoilers (even though the film now has been out for a bit), save for those evident in the trailers released. Here are my thoughts that are broken down into three rough categories.
- They made another park …for people to die in.
- Raptors Talking.
- Real/Fake Dinosaurs (or lack thereof)
They made another park…for people to die in.
Last time that I checked, all of the islands were under quarantine after Spielberg’s ‘Godzilla’ moment in Lost World in which T-Rex was let loose in San Diego. Also there was a no fly zone and a military blockade to enforce said quarantine. So after nearly dozens of people dead (mostly all of them with guns) the islands were more of an issue for both national and international security and the fact that everything on the island either eats people or mutilates them horribly…so why not build another theme park for kids right? This way we can get three times the amount of child endangerment (which is basically a standard with these types of ‘theme parks’ now). Yep…so screw the quarantine, it’s completely plausible that our government and possibly the UN would be totally fine with this because some oil tycoon basically said, “Eff you people trying to keep us safe from being torn apart and made into dino feces…I wanna build a park. Because I’m eccentric and like to fly helicopters. So I’m gonna make another park kay?” Also those same people just kinda nodded and said, “Yeah, sure.” It’s like they just got tired of keeping the dinosaurs from eating people. Just keep shipping more boats full of kids! This is totally cool and this guy has his s**t together. I mean he flies his own helicopter!
Now let say we can think of a plausible reason that everyone just…forgot a T-Rex loose in San Diego that killed dozens of people, injured countless more ramming into buses and storefronts (it even ate some kids poor dog), and even decided that instead of keeping dinosaurs from reaching us, we should now instead ship ourselves to them! Hey, it’ll save them a boat trip right?
That still leaves us with…raptors talking. Now I thought we were going to get over this hump after the third movie. I know a lot of us forgot or rather chose to forget Dr. Alan Grant’s ‘Raptor Flute’ fiasco. With the raptors clicking and hissing at each other to mimic ‘talking’ to re-enforce that they’re smart. Like we forgot them opening doors and outsmarting hunters in the first film? Sadly, with this film that wasn’t enough. There was indeed raptors talking to each other in this film and it’s not just raptor talking, it’s raptors talking en mass! I even painfully rewatched ‘Jurassic Park III’ to see how much and the ‘Raptor Talk’ in film is nearly THREE TIMES as long then it is in the third movie. THREE TIMES!!!! And it’s not just talking with each other, they’ll talk to anyone with an ear to lend. Other dinosaurs, Chris Pratt’s character, and after a certain point I just thought I was watching ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ and Blue’s (one of Pratt’s pet raptors) narration was going to fill our ears at any moment. Now without spoiling too much, these raptors aren’t the only dinos to chat it up (great job guys). It’s like they’re getting one of the worst parts of the worst sequel and then expanding on it (good times).
Real/Fake Dinosaurs (or lack thereof)
When ‘Jurassic Park’ first came out, it did two things. The first wass that it gave you CG dinosaurs that you could believe were real and it gave you animatronic dinosaurs that you swore were real. Every eye blink, every roar, subtle head turn, or heaving mass struggling to draw breath into itself was magical. It’s what honestly made the franchise, a Jurassic Park movie without Stan Winston Studios/Legacy Effects animatronics and effects just doesn’t feel like a Jurassic Park film. Even the two sequels at their worst, still look great just because they have two giant T-Rexes ripping apart a car (a REAL CAR) and flinging a REAL MAN into the air IN THEIR MOUTHS!!! Or a giant spinosaurus destroying a REAL BOAT and heaving everything in the water as things are set ablaze. You cut out the scenes with that kid watching Barney and bumbling with the phone (because one kid in a Jurassic Park film wasn’t enough right Spielberg?) and you have an amazing piece of cinema! Or when Sarah spies the baby stegosaurus? Or when Alan, Lex, and Tim feed a giant brachiosaurus? Or when we see the first ‘clear’ animatronic dinosaur in film, a sick triceratops in all it’s glory. It was so real looking in fact, there were literally people making pleads on twitter because they thought someone killed a dinosaur (yes, that’s a real thing that happened). WHERE WAS ALL OF THIS IN ‘JURASSIC WORLD’?
I mean, we got what? A sick apatosaur (and not even a good one)? In the trailer there was a seam line…A SEAM LINE on it’s head!
And what I can only describe as Disney cow eyes to what? Cater to the kids? Seriously, it’s a ‘DINOSAUR’ movie. You don’t need to dumb it down, cute it up, or KEEP INCLUDING KIDS in a dinosaur movie for children to want them to watch it. I mean the brachiosaur didn’t have these blatant Disney eyes did it? Or the sick triceratops? Even the baby stegosaurus or T-Rex weren’t sporting those big ol’ doe eyes and I had more emotional attachment to them then that forced and prolonged apatosaurus’ death scene whose woes of pain sounded like someone’s grandmother trying to eat oatmeal.
But from what I can tell this and maybe one Indominus Rex jaw scene were the only real tangible animatronics in the whole film. Everything else seems to be a mix of bad CG or CG mapping of actual animatronics. Which is pretty sad because the method can be used brilliantly as seen in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ or on the other hand horribly in ‘The Thing’ prequel. This sadly falls into the later. Let’s also address the CG for a moment, Industrial Light & Magic was credited with the CG this go around…but why didn’t it look the same? It felt as if all the models for all the dinosaurs got changed, which was something to note due to that it was these first CG models which first set the standard back in 1993, but everything now looked different this time.
It not only looked too CG, it didn’t even look like the same CG! It strikes me as odd that if you chose early on in the development of the film to not include hardly any practical effects (or real/fake dinosaurs in the forms of animatronics), then you would bring your ‘A’ game when it comes with the CGI right? Sadly this wasn’t the case and with a dinosaur movie sporting sad CG, I lost my interest early on into the film. Now it should be noted, it was a fun CG dinosaur movie. It’s just not a good Jurassic Park CG movie.
Now here’s my verdict on ‘Jurassic World’. With a majority of plot holes and ‘kicking the raptor’ moments (Jurassic Park’s equivalent of jumping the shark, thanks to ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’), I will agree that this film was the better of the sequels. Had they included practical effects and animatronic giant dinosaur heads that ripped apart cars, smashing horns, and tails into real life props instead of trying to do their best Shakespeare death scene with the apatosaur…it would have easily been my favorite movie of this summer. But with a dinosaur movie showing lackluster dinosaurs and if your not obligated to take your twelve old out to the movies…I would say that you can skip this one until it’s either at the $5 theater, hits cable, or catch it at a drive-in where a lot of the CG and compositing can be covered up though the loss of film quality. There were a few fun moments though, which included a ‘Tag Team’ scene, but if this alone constitutes a great film then by this logic ‘Transformers: Extinction’ was also a great film if only because Optimus Prime got to ride a giant metal T-Rex (aka Grimlock). In fact ‘Transformers: Extinction’ was five times a better movie then ‘Jurassic World’ in my opinion, because we got to see Autobots riding the Dinobots. Right? Right?
There’s one light at the end of the tunnel and that is this film might launch more interest and dinosaur films. Sadly is already being tainted as talks of the sequels to ‘Jurassic World’ are already beginning to stir which might include raptors in Iraq…yeah…raptors in Iraq.
If this is the case, then ‘Jurassic World’ may have done more harm then good. Here’s to the faint hope that this is merely a rumor and if we get any further Jurassic Park movies, they will have more of the things we loved. Visits to the old park and its ruins, plus raptors that actually ate people (not watered down versions of them acting as grumpy guard dogs). Also…NO MORE CHILD ENDANGERMENT. And perhaps most importantly…the CGI animation and Stan Winston animatronics that made the first trip to the park so magical…a magic which has still eluded these sequels.
by ‘YKW!’ Writer Joshua Ballze of Jurassic Con