“Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.”
Having never seen any of the previous movies in this series until this week, I was pretty ambivalent about the idea of another Jurassic Park movie. But after binging on the previous three movies and really enjoying all of them, I was all of a sudden not excited about Jurassic World, but worried. I was ready to suspend plenty of disbelief. After all, this is a monster movie about dinosaurs being brought back to life, who end up rampaging through a theme park full of holidaying families. But the trailers that showed Chris Pratt’s character hanging out with tame velociraptors seemed like it was pushing things a little too far. However, the largest opening weekend in movie history is a hard thing to ignore, so I had put my concerns aside, and see Jurassic World.
20 years after the events of the first movie, John Hammond’s dream has finally come true, and a dinosaur filled theme park is now a reality. The only problem is, it’s been a reality for a decade and people have become bored with the regular old dinosaurs on display. So, scientists at the park have created a new one. Splicing genes from different breeds, they’ve bred the Indominus Rex. Bigger, faster, smarter and teethier than anything that ever actually existed. Once again, as in every entry in this movie franchise, science and big business have run amuck and the good natured naturalists will have to clean up the mess.
Meanwhile, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) have been sent to the theme park to stay with their aunt, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who also happens to run the joint. An uptight, numbers obsessed businesswoman, she quickly palms her nephews off on to a lackey, before getting back to the important business of making money. But maybe she’ll learn along the way that money and professional success aren’t everything. And maybe she’ll be helped along in learning that by hunky raptor trainer, Owen (Chris Pratt).
Jurassic World is full of allusions and references to the original, and to me, they were some of the weakest, clunkiest moments. A common problem with reboots and sequels made long after the original is that the new generation of film makers grew up loving the older versions. More often than not, this reverence leads to too much self aware back slapping about how much they get the original, how much they love the original and how much they want the audience to know that.
A hipster wearing a vintage t-shirt with the logo from the original park isn’t enough. Two characters have to have a conversation about the fact that he’s wearing a vintage t-shirt with the logo from the original park. The character of Claire wears all white, an obvious homage to the John Hammond character from the 1993 movie. But the thing is, a little old, white haired man dressed in a white linen suit seems normal. The ridiculous outfit they have Claire in just stands out as ridiculous within this world.
But, in the end, this is a monster movie about dinosaurs being brought back to life, who end up rampaging through a theme park full of holidaying families. So, it’s kind of hard to cock that up. And as ludicrous as the idea of Chris Pratt’s character being friends with raptors is, Jurassic World still delivers a monster movie about dinosaurs being brought back to life, who end up rampaging through a theme park full of holidaying families. And for the most part, it looks pretty good doing it.