Jurassic World Review #2: New Dinosaur, Same Old Story
Jurassic World has its bells and whistles, slick special effects, blood thirsty dinosaurs, and the always entertaining Chris Pratt. Unfortunately the good does not outweigh the bad. The film is essentially the same as the others in the series. It's pure formula. There's absolutely nothing new in the characters, story, or execution. You have the kids in distress, the plucky female heroine, the dashing male savior, the arrogant military guys, the nerdy scientist, and of course, the unwitting billionaire funding the chaos. It's a monster movie without an intelligent script. I kept thinking how much better last year's reimagining of Godzilla was. That film had the thrills and eye candy, but actually took its audience seriously and delivered a sensible plot.
Twenty years later, Jurassic World is a fully realized Disney-like theme park for dinosaurs, where tots can even take rides on a baby triceratops. The story begins with two brothers (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) heading to Jurassic World on Isla Nubar. The boys are supposed to be spending quality time with their aunt, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard); but she's too busy showing the park's billionaire owner (Irrfan Khan) their newest attraction. Drumroll please, Indominus Rex, a genetically engineered beast destined to line their pockets for years to come. The creature, an unholy mixture of dino terror with boosted intelligence, soon escapes its enclosure and the carnage begins.
Chris Pratt co-stars as Owen, a former military man who's been training a pack of raptors from birth. He's enlisted by Claire to help rescue her nephews, who predictably have gotten lost in the calamity. As the situation devolves to a human snack buffet, Owen's cocky boss (Vincent D'Onofrio), decides it's time to see the raptors in action. He calls in an elite military unit that teams with Owen and the raptors to hunt down the escaped Indominus Rex.
Jurassic World should work as a popcorn movie. It doesn't because the characters behave so irrationally. I liken it to teenagers in a slasher film running through the pitch black woods. The characters, who are supposed to be extremely intelligent and successful people, offer their innards to the dinos like hor d'oeuvres. There is a suspension of disbelief that an audience needs, but it becomes downright silly and nonsensical here.
If your only reason for watching this film is to see CGI dinosaurs eat people, then you'll get your money's worth. If you were hoping for a decent story to go along with the action, then you're better served renting Godzilla. Chris Pratt pulls off the macho Owen with his likeable demeanor, but I got tired of Bryce Dallas Howard very quickly. She's a decent enough actress, it's the lackluster script that's to blame. I won't list all the screenwriters attributed to Jurassic World, but you'd think so many people would have been able to cobble together a more lucid plot.