“You just went and made a new Jurassic Park film? Probably not a good idea.”
I wasn’t really excited for Jurassic World. Well, actually, for several years I couldn’t wait for the next installment, but after seeing the first trailer for this new look into the long running dinosaur franchise, it was like pouring ice cold water onto that growing flame of anticipation. CG dinosaurs that looked worse than the original films, little kids in gyrospheres, and Steven Spielberg not directing. However that last complaint was fixed when I saw who the director was; Colin Trevorrow. He made one of my favorite films from 2012, a little indie film called “Safety Not Guaranteed.” I didn’t really get how someone who had only directed one small indie movie was getting such a huge responsibility, but I rolled with it. I had no plans to see the film until about 3 hours before I saw it, when a friend invited us all to go see it. Seeing as I had nothing better to do, I decided to go ahead and check it out. How bad could it be, right?
Well, first and foremost, I’m not hugely nostalgic for the original film. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t see it until about six years ago. I never had the opportunity to experience it for the first time on the big screen or as a kid, I saw it as a young tween on DVD. Not the best way, but, uh, life finds a way. I then watched the two sequels, fully comprehending how bad they were but still loving the original to this day. I think it really does hold up as a sci fi adventure classic, even without the childhood goggles on. It has good writing, likeable characters, and of course, practical effects that still hold up to this day. Jurassic World was, to say, lacking.
One of the most disappointing parts of Jurassic World was just how seemingly underwhelming it was. Even in the opening, the famous swelling music is used on a very obviously CGI shot of the entrance to the park, which just made me think “why not save that for some dinosaurs?” Then the film gets very meta by referencing how people aren’t impressed by dinosaurs and the whole thing has become a corporate sham, sponsored by too many different companies who all want their names in the park and that nothing in Jurassic World is real. Stick with what you know, I guess? Because it felt like the screenwriters were trying to send out a message in code. “We’re not to blame for this. Send money and food. Help us. Help us.” To explain, all of the dinosaurs are CG and not very convincing (which makes sense given that a character literally says “nothing in Jurassic World is real!”) Or the Starbucks restaurant, or the many cups of Starbucks coffee that clearly label the camera, or the Ben & Jerry’s, the IMAX theater, the Jimmy Buffet “MargarittaVille” restaurant, the Samsung Innovation Center (I’m not kidding) and the fact that Verizon Wireless is helping to fund the dinosaur.
Perhaps the most offensive part of this new film, however, is one of the characters working behind the scenes. He wears a Jurassic Park t shirt which one character says “isn’t that a little insensitive?” He acts as a bumbling goof the whole time and makes more meta complaints about the park. So much of it just feels like its mocking the fans of the original. This character was the most baffling part of the entire movie, and I cannot even begin to comprehend why he was in the film.
I guess no one learned anything from the millions of complaints from previous blockbusters so of course the main girl and Chris Pratt have a completely shoehorned in romantic subplot. The problem is none of these characters are developed at all. We have Chris Pratt, the ex-Navy man who loves cracking wise, sex jokes, pretending uptight girls are into him, speaks in folksy sayings, has a slight southern accent and fixes motorcycles in his trailer house. We have the annoying older brother, constantly wearing Beats (TM) headphones, texting out of boredom and checking out other girls, because apparently his girlfriend back home isn’t enough for him. The only problem with this is that they are GENETICALLY MADE DINOSAURS. I find it really hard to think that someone could be completely indifferent to this thing that is literally the peak of human engineering, and yet be completely indifferent to a 500 foot tall monster that can kill anything.
We also have the crying, overprotective mom who is supposed to be kind of crazy but sends her kids to a theme park full of carnivores, and the dad who has less lines of dialogue than Gordon Freeman. The younger brother is reduced to tears about how his parents are getting a divorce and I was just thinking “are we supposed to care about any of this? I didn’t see the parents do anything, I didn’t see them look angry at each other, all we saw was them saying goodbye at the airport.” However, the film simply tells us that they’re angry at each other and researched different lawyers. However this is only a 30 second scene that is promptly forgotten about and never brought up again. It feels as though they simply forgot to include it later in the film. Why this was included is simply mind boggling and makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
The main problem with this film isn’t even all of these shortcomings, its something else. It’s that we already have this movie. They already made it, and made it way better. Its called Aliens. You know, that little film from the 80’s? There’s a bunch of scary, deadly creatures in a heavily populated environment. One character thinks they should kill them all, and another thinks he should put others in danger, possibly killing them in order to try and exploit the creatures for personal gain. The main female character, sweaty and wearing a tank top then confronts the biggest leader of the deadly creatures so she can save the young child figure that she has grown strongly attached to. Which film did I just describe? Jurassic World or Aliens?
Look, I get it, pretty much everything sci-fi since the late 80’s has borrowed something from Aliens but come on, it was a carbon copy with too much extra nonsense added for the sake of making money off nostalgia and nothing else. And that is why I don’t think Jurassic World really needed to be made at all. Jurassic Park still exists and is way better in just about every way possible. Why make this? What need is there to see more of this? Is there really any? Are blockbusters at this point all about just cashing in on nostalgia instead of telling good stories? Maybe. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe I just wanted to see some cool dinosaurs.