Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson, B.D. Wong, Judy Greer, Irrfan Khan
Rated: PG-13 (intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril)
A new theme park, built on the original site of Jurassic Park, creates a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, which escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.
By Matt Greene
My 2-year-old is just beginning to grasp the English language. One of my favorite phrases of hers is, instead of “I don’t like it”, she proudly proclaims “I CAN’T like it.” This saying can help with referring to situations in which, no matter how hard you try, you simply are unable to enjoy something. This perfectly encapsulates my feelings for Jurassic World, the uneven follow-up to one of the greatest blockbusters ever. With weak writing and thin characters, I simply can’t fully relish in the decent thrills, marginal humor and slight wonder.
The story follows the formula to-a-tee: naïve awe, something goes wrong, people die. The film tries to pinpoint this, openly commenting on how jaded audiences are no longer impressed with seeing dinosaurs; they must be bigger, cooler, and have more teeth. This provides for some fun science-vs-business dialogue and cool chaotic amusement park set-pieces, providing some truly great Jurassic moments. Unfortunately in the end, JW is less like a film and more like Universal trying to boost ticket sales for their theme parks, with laughable dialogue and way too many characters to invest in.
The failures here are not from lack of trying, but recapturing the magic of the 1993 classic is proving to be almost impossible. The references to that first film are nice, but it only serves as a reminder that we aren’t watching that original masterpiece. In JW, the effects are less-convincing, the animatronics are all-but non-existent, and the emotions feel cheaper. So while it may be entertaining enough for a first viewing, it won’t be an enduring classic. And I can’t like it.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
Here’s a truncated list of the things 1993’s “Jurassic Park” did extraordinarily well, making it among the best blockbusters of all-time: cinematically original premise, groundbreaking special effects, characters that are full of life, dialogue that eschews genre-typical stupidity, and great acting that sold the high-concept elements with ease. “Jurassic World” does none of this. It’s probably better than the other two Jurassic sequels, but that’s like saying liver tastes better fresh rather than out a can. I don’t want liver; I want prime rib, or at least a hamburger.
Maybe the most impressive aspect of “Jurassic Park” is how the film was able to give it purpose. The film is about chaos theory. “Jurassic World” has a purpose too. It explores what happens when greed pushes aside more vested concerns, including safety and quality of product. Set over twenty years after “Park”, “World” sees the park as an established venue trying to up the ante. Throwing common sense aside they invent a new super-dinosaur who turns into a killing machine. It’s the same story that “Jaws 3”, another Spielberg-sequel, crashed and burned with.
The problem with this purpose is precisely that it is fulfilled. “World” embodies this very mindset. It casts away any sense of quality in favor of money. Amblin Entertainment knew this movie would make money with or without screenplay rewrites. There isn’t a hint of effort from the team of people making the film.
The characters are impressively dull, the plot mindlessly boring, and the special effects are worse than that of “Park” 22 years ago. Yet all of those take a backseat to the hackneyed dialogue these poor actors have to spill. “Jurassic World” is hardly a notch above terrible.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars