A Jurassic Review

It’s opening week and even a Friday morning matinee is nearly full of eager people awaiting the start of Jurassic World. You can scan the room and look for the people eager to be there, and then you can find the ones who were dragged by someone else (guilty, right here).

But let’s be honest about something. Who really expected an artistic, well-crafted plot with lovable and timeless characters to grace the screen?

If you did, then you may not have been to the movies since Jurassic Park was released in 1993. The truth is that summer blockbusters have always been a disappointment to most serious movie goers. The big releases of summer are usually spectacles meant to awe and woe teenagers who are at the mall with nothing better to do.

Instead of putting on your critic hat and going to Jurassic World, show up with reasonable expectations. On the surface, the film is quite good. It has those moments of suspense, characters are in grave danger, and the CGI brings to life dinosaurs that used to be the most boring subject in school.

There is no complexity in the characters and their motivations. The film lacks depth and you don’t have to worry about plot twists. There is a problem (a big dinosaur) and they are seeking a solution. Simple as that.

The plot and characters could use some work. For example, many might be uncomfortable with Bryce Dallas Howard’s character who never removes high heels throughout the film despite Chris Pratt telling her that she is ill prepared to track missing children in a jungle of dinosaurs while wearing heels.

You could see the later actions of Howard as saying that women can be strong and still embrace their femininity (we don’t need to shed high heels to be a success or show strength). Or you can see it as 100% impractical that anyone can full on sprint in high heels or that anyone would want to. My feet ached as I watched.

Howard’s character also experiences the shame of a woman without children. She is a corporate career climber and has her nephews visiting. Her sister seems to think one day Howard’s character will have children while the single woman expresses doubts. Why is childbearing an assumed role a women must take one day?

At the end of the film, it is Chris Pratt who fulfills the role as the eye candy for the film. In fact besides Howard, there is a general lack of women in the film. We have younger teenage boys who are quite adorable and will surely bring the Justin Bieber fans to the theater.

Pratt is the over charismatic, rough around the edges, but intelligent and sensitive towards the animals character needed to make this film for both men and women. The males are there for the action, but the women are there for Pratt. This says that the film itself does a good job of appealing to numerous audiences… with exception to the serious film fanatics out there.

For the casual movie goer, it’s like being at a zoo on steroids. The animals are bigger, scarier, and more fascinating. The themes of the film are glaring at you in the face like a gigantic dinosaur.

In fact, the themes are not far off from the original Jurassic Park (if you can remove the cob webs and think back 22 years, if you are old enough to do that). The only difference now is that they have rebuilt the theme park from the disaster that was the plot of the original film. They speak about the original park like a ghost and use whispers and tones of fear and darkness.

Besides making a statement about how humanity is doomed to repeat mistakes, we see a lot of critiques of corporatization. The park itself is a gigantic theme park with corporate labels everywhere. Howard’s character talks about market trends, expected sales, and business words beyond my understanding.

The owner of the park? He is more reminiscent of Tony Stark and not the old rich white man from the original film. So we even see changes in the demographics of the people who hold power.

If you missed the theme of war and military, you may have fallen asleep in your bucket of popcorn. Vincent D’Onofrio is there to portray the unlikeable human who wants to weaponize the dinosaurs to win wars and avoid human casualties.

So not only do we see what happens when we play god with genetics, but we also see humanity at its worst. We see crowds of people gawking at big dinosaurs while a corporation tries to stay up to date with their supply and demand, a demand that leads to the creation of a modified dinosaur who tries to kill everything. This is the first piece of pop culture to predict that humanity will destroy itself.

What does that sound like? Maybe like genetically modified foods in a grocery store that will be produced so long as there is a demand for cheap and easy foods? Maybe tobacco and alcohol products that damage human beings yet the companies can continue to produce and sell those products?

So who is the real enemy in Jurassic World? Corporations or the people who feed them?


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