‘Jurassic World’ is bronto-dumb

by Trevan McGee on June 12, 2015

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Minor Rock Fist Down]

Jurassic Park was and is a cornerstone movie for many who saw it as their first summer blockbuster, caught the various repeats on network TV during holidays and grew up with a fascination for dinosaurs – in other words, everyone. It also represented Steven Spielberg in full Blockbuster Mode, creating a story with a lot of forward momentum and action, that also had some fantastic character development and memorable performances.

Jurassic World is a bad impression of a Spielberg film. It rips off all of the bombast, but manages to capture none of the likability of the first one, instead resorting to basic fan service and overt nods to the original. Maybe worst of all, Jurassic World is stupid. Brontosaurus stupid. The kind of stupid that doesn’t hold up to simple questions like, “Why would you genetically engineer a super dinosaur and not tell anyone what it’s made out of?” or “How does an island amusement park not have an evacuation procedure in case of disaster, which we clearly know can and will happen?”

Chris Pratt plays Owen, a former Navy man/animal-lover who takes it upon himself to train velociraptors. Pratt is expectedly likable, but doesn’t have a lot to do. He’s never given enough room to be funny and, as he’s already mentioned on late-night talk shows, has three facial expressions throughout the whole movie. Jurassic World‘s true star (aside from the dinosaurs) is Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays Claire, an uptight businesswoman who would rather broker dinosaur sponsorships – corporate sponsorships of dinosaurs – than hanging out with her dumb nephews. Who has time for family when you’re a busy business lady in a power suit? Not this gal. Ditto goes for romance, as she dated Owen – OK, one date, but then decided not to go any further because she wrote an itinerary for their date. What gives?

Ugh. Those are the tired plot devices on hand here. Add in a little military-industrial complex subplot that revolves around using raptors in a combat zone and you’ve got the plot to Jurassic World. It’s clearly not going to win any awards for story, but it can still be an impressive spectacle. To its credit, there are a lot more dinosaurs in Jurassic World, but they’re all computer generated and range from passable to bad. The 3D draws even more attention to the unrealistic colors, vibrance and detail of the CG.

In a movie about an amusement park populated by genetically engineered dinosaurs, that premise should be the biggest suspension of belief – that someone would crack the genetic cloning code, successfully create long-extinct species from scratch and then use that miracle tech to start a Disney World – that should be the biggest thing the audience has to look back. In Jurassic World it’s the third, maybe fourth most preposterous thing in the movie.

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