PRATT AND OTHER STORIES: The “Jurassic World” Review

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down when I found out that the Jurassic saga was far from over. I mean, I was perfectly happy when we finished off with the good ‘ol Spinosaurus and the return of good ‘ol Allan Grant. In fact, the Universal Studios J Park rides seem to conclude properly enough.

But people need money, and movies need to survive, and I guess that’s probably why Jurassic World exists. I could be wrong, I could be right… we’ll never really know.

Enough about the preludes and let’s get to the meat of the thing.

Premise: Jurassic Park has become ‘Jurassic World’, an almost meta incarnation of Universal Studios meets the Ancient Zoo. In this alternate universe, dinosaurs are as big a bore as elephants, triceratops are the cows of the dino kingdom and all of this has become perfectly normal. In a quest to top their previous offerings, the JWorld scientists create a hybrid dinosaur aptly named as the Indominous rex, meant to be an attraction that rivals the iconic T-Rex.

Bryce Howard of Mad Men fame plays Jurassic World’s white-wearing workaholic Op Manager, while Chris Pratt stars as the ‘Raptor Whisperer’, a Navy trained behavioral expert turned dino zookeeper. B.D. Wong returns to reprise his role as Jurassic scientist Henry Wong, while newcomers Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkin play this generation’s Tim and Lex.

THOUGHTS

On the Players:   Pratt comes off as the lifeblood of Jurassic World, but he doesn’t even show up until twenty minutes into the movie. Dallas Howard’s character waves the feminist flag proud with her heel-running skills, but let’s be real: many of her traits are unfortunately quite negative (workaholic equals automatic bitchy? really?). Some of us probably spent more time debating whether she really did have heels on during most of those scenes (I like to think she did).

Overall, I’m disappointed with the female presence in this movie. Surely, the previous ones never did do much justice to the woman, but they always had a substantial female to really round out the cast (Ellie Sattler, Sara Harding…). This one did have its share of female characters, but none seemed to really fill that same role. Besides Howard, the other women that show up play supporting parts that don’t give them much work (Lauren Lapkus as the object of Jake Johnson’s affection, the unnamed girls that teenaged Zach pines for..). I was kind of hoping Gray could be a girl! Girls can like dinosaurs too, you know.

Forgive me if I end up sounding a bit too.. feminist here, but this has always been one of my biggest gripes with the Jurassic Park franchise. Hey, at least they made their share of changes… I guess?

Now, back to the rest of the players:

Chris Pratt brings his Star Lord charm to the dino world and it’s fun. Not since Ian Malcolm has this franchise been graced with a character that mixes likability with a very unorthodox brand of badass-ery (is that even a word?). The best part about Pratt is that despite his incredible post-Parks makeover, he’s still the same guy– and man, are we lucky to have him.

This generation’s Tim and Lex are an eerie reflection of what the youth has become. Millennial Zach spends too much time on his phone, he’s got earphones on, he checks girls out. I first dismissed him off as a very one dimensional character, but then reflecting on his characteristics, I began to notice that he’s been molded to reflect a very timely picture of just what teens are like today.

Gray, on the other hand, seems like he’s been stuck in the nineties. Kids like him grew up on iPhones and colored on iPads, and yet he’s been made to be the idealistic dino lover with no gadget in hand. Remind me again how that’s possible?

On the Plot:  As someone who grew up on the first three Jurassic Park movies, I had come to accept the conclusion that the theme park wasn’t gonna happen. Apparently, Jurassic World is the Jurassic Park’s Terminator Genisys, I guess?

It was nice to see something come alive, and the throwbacks to the nineties movies were.. well placed. But there really wasn’t much meat that made the story something worth looking out for.

On the Dinos: Several notable dinos make their cameos in theme park scenes, but the stars of the show have now become the raptors. From kitchen-stalking big heads, they’re now domesticated dino warriors willing to fight for their ‘buddy’ Owen (Chris Pratt).

The Indominous Rex is meant to be the big baddie in this movie, but what’s there to him (or her?) Nothing more than hybrid DNA and an apparent ability to become invisible? NAAAH.

PSA to those that haven’t seen the film: just watch for the dino battles and you’ll see the dinosaurs that deserve to be watched.

OVERALL: Throwbacks, Chris Pratt, and some badass (now on the side of good) ancient reptiles? Jurassic World is no campy camp fest, but an okay film sprinkled with the right proportions of pseudo plot and well placed CGI.  Three out of five!

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