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Jurassic World – Joint Review

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 11th June 2015
 
Director: Colin Trevorrow
 
Writer: Rick Jaffa - Amanda Silver - Derek Connolly - Colin Trevorrow [Screenplay] - Rick Jaffa - Amanda Silver [Story] based on characters by Michael Crichton
 
Cast: Chris Pratt - Bryce Dallas Howard - Ty Simpkins - Nick Robinson - Vincent D’Onofrio - Irrfan Khan - Jake Johnson - Judy Greer
 


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Posted June 17, 2015 by

 
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Jurassic World – Joint Review

Nick’s Perspective:

Twenty-two years on from Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece JURASSIC PARK and those dinosaurs still scare the life out of me! Last night I caught the exhilarating, frightening and down-right entertaining fourth instalment of the infamous franchise, JURASSIC WORLD. Colin Trevorrow has kept every bit of Spielberg brilliance alive with this feature, and made it just as memorable as the original.

After the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is now a fully functioning dinosaur theme park known as Jurassic World. Owned by the imaginary Mr Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) and run by the ambitious and figure-focused Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the worldwide attraction is always innovating in order to keep visitor numbers high. Behind the scenes, the “lab team” have been creating a new breed of dinosaur, expected to fascinate, excite and scare future visitors of Jurassic World. With Claire’s control team and velociraptor-trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) unaware of the complexity behind a new hybrid dinosaur, and an escape inevitable, how will they protect the island of visitors?

This believable development of a theme park, trying to hold onto its declining audience, draws parallels with the theme parks we know and love today, with the major difference of course being its pre-historic inhabitants.

Much like the original film, JURASSIC WORLD is complete with a younger man, woman and children leading foursome, which the viewer relates to in a variety of ways.

Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) plays Owen, the experienced trainer of the Velociraptor quadrant of the island, where they are intuitively teaching the raptors to listen to and work alongside humans, rather than killing them like we saw in the first few films (remember that terrifying kitchen scene in JURASSIC PARK?!). Owen, one of the few decent men left in the development of Jurassic World, understands the importance of the relationship between man and (genetically-created) dinosaur, rather than treating them like lab rats. Incorporating the sarcasm and wit of Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm and the dedicated heroics of Sam Neill’s Dr Alan Grant from the original feature, Chris Pratt undoubtedly plays the hero of this film, appearing as the majority of critics’ only strength of the film, which I personally disagree with. He truly showcases his potential to play a major part in the potential re-make of INDIANA JONES.

Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3, The Help) plays Claire, a determined and narrow-minded professional who hosts her two nephews Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) at the theme park for the weekend. Gray, the younger of the two boys, is fascinated by everything dinosaur and cannot wait to explore the theme park, while Zach is ready to move on from home life and start college to get away from his parents’ failing marriage. The relationship between these two develops throughout the film, as does Claire’s chemistry with the charming Owen.

The brothers bring a more knowledgeable young duo to the screen. With a better understanding of dinosaurs, their fear is less trivial than in JURASSIC PARK, and therefore we have less “What the Hell?!” moments to witness, such as when Lex Murphy shined the torch in that truck, but equally as scary scenes to endure.

When all is said and done about the story and the actors however, the main attractions of these films are undoubtedly the dinosaurs! In a modernised Jurassic world, the herbivores are every bit as beautiful as they originally were, but the destructive nature of the carnivores has been genetically modified, controlled and limited. As a Killer Whale or Dolphin jumps and performs for fish at Sea World, the Mosasaurus jumps for great white sharks. Flying reptiles are now kept in an aviary and velociraptors are named and trained by humans on a daily basis.

Once again, it is a blockbuster this year which deserves the IMAX Experience! By spending a few extra pounds, you are not just watching Jurassic World, but you are a part of it! Showcase Cinemas Bluewater has now given me two forms of escapism this year and I do not doubt that I will be escaping to the world of more superheroes or even terminators in the coming months.

Overall, JURASSIC WORLD was an edge of your seat, nail-biting and engulfing cinematic experience which transported me back to my childhood and left me longing for more. It has been very harshly criticised as being too cheesy and having a weak story, but personally, it takes everything great from the original film and simply modernises it for us. I’m sure Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond (The creator of Jurassic Park) would have been proud of the park’s development, to a certain extent, and I’m positive that Steven Spielberg (an executive producer of this film) is satisfied with the rejuvenation of his 90s classic!

Written By:

2b2b770

Nick Price
@RTWriteUps
Real-Time Write-Ups!
Freelance Contributor

 

Sedef’s Perspective:

So it’s finally here. This summer is characterised strongly by multiple returns to beloved cinematic universes. Jurassic World was definitely one of the bigger news items of the summer. In its opening week it absolutely smashed box office records and now sits comfortably at number 3 in the US box office charts. It even toppled the record set by the Avengers earlier in the year. I can sort of see why and how this happened. Jurassic Park, the first one I mean, framed the cinematic experience of a whole generation. It was one of the biggest feats in special effects of its time, most of us at the time had seen nothing like it before. Not least because for a lot of people in their late 20s early 30s, this was one of the first films they ever saw in a cinema – if not THE first. Sure, the sequels were a little disappointing. But fans, nostalgia lovers and in fact a whole new generation who love dinosaurs and / or special effects were overjoyed to hear that a “bigger and better” reimagining was on the way and counting down the days to the grand opening. And so, it’s here. Question is, does it live up to the hopes and dreams of the fans? Or will it fall short of what the world’s imaginations can produce?

So what is the film about? In a near future, the tragic fate of Jurassic Park is now forgotten and a new, bigger, better Jurassic World, full to the brim with new dinosaurs and new attractions is now open for business. It receives millions of visitors every day and running it and developing it are no mean feats. Simon Masrani is the owner and the park is run by Claire, who has devoted her life to the park and incidentally does not have much room for anything else besides. We arrive at the park at an important point in its life. A new attraction is about to be unveiled – a brand new dinosaur. A dinosaur guaranteed to shock and amaze, unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. However, as we all know by now, dabbling so unashamedly with the unknown comes at a price…

I would have gone into more details of the plot but I am pretty sure you already know it. And by this I do not mean that you have probably seen the film or have probably seen a trailer for it online. Herein lies one of the fundamental flaws of Jurassic World – we have seen it all before. Claire’s two nephews have come to visit her, they get lost in the park just as the dinosaur begins to rampage. There is a cynical “dinosaur whisperer” (your typical “man who knows the wild” type, all the characteristics we can easily associate with combined with an intimate knowledge and understanding of nature) in the shape of Chris Pratt. There is a “love-hate” romantic relationship between him and Claire (that we never really doubt will work out in the end) and they have, as an overarching objective to “reunite the family unit” – as was and still is the case in almost all the action movies dating from the 90’s.

In the background, we have Own (Pratt’s character) set against the greedy and money-grabbing Hoskins and, on some level to Masrani himself. The message here is pretty clear from the beginning too. Whether you are motivated by pure greed (Hoskins) or genuine commitment to growing a project (Masrani), if you mess with nature, if you try and play God and basically change the natural order of things for your own benefit, the results will be catastrophic. Again, a message art has been peddling out since the time of Mary Shelly and Frankenstein.

Now, despite all of this, fine, action movies are not best known for their deep and philosophical content. The film may well take some overly used themes and messages and re-use them for the nth time, but so long as they combine it with some cool special effects (and they do – the one thing the film does deliver in spectacular style is dinosaurs) and maybe something a little extra is what makes it work, right?

On that basis alone, I could easily have called Jurassic World “popcorn”, patted it on the head and let it slip away to the recesses of my mind but there was one thing that actually got on my nerves for the duration of this film – the women. The film is based on “reuniting the family unit”, the women must be defined above all by their relationship to motherhood. Claire is a successful CEO, it is true – or at least she seems to be. Under the surface she is clearly not competent, makes errors of judgement and does typically “oh so funny woman things” like trying to run through jungles in high heels and having perfectly coiffed hair through over half the film, despite having had multiple brushes with death involving chases and jumps into rivers. She finally “completes her objective” by getting together with Owen. Now part of a family unit of her own, she is a success. The debacle of the park, it is implied, means very little as our alpha couple walk off hand in hand into the sunset. Her sister, the mother of the two nephews, has some sort of good job, but is still largely defined as a mother and very little else. Apart from these two, female characters are very few and far between in any kind of capacity, those who do seem to have very little else to do except provide a spectacle of some sort. All in all, every single problem women had with action cinema back in the 90s is back with a vengeance and right on the heels of a film like Mad Max Fury Road, which is legitimately trying to do something about this last point, the failure of this film in this field shows even more…

So what can we say about Jurassic World? Sadly, it is little more than a shiny new re-hash of the first film. True the dinosaurs are bigger and better but as far as story-telling goes, the film has not advanced one jot. I would go as far as speculating that this, the fact that it has taken a lot of 90s tropes and tried to sell it in a 21st century film, is the main reason a not insignificant proportion of online reviews and WOM expresses so much displeasure with the film. Technical advances are all well and good, but as the folks in Jurassic World find out, punters want more than just “bigger dinosaurs”. Shame the film sticks so closely to dusty old clichés and does not take its own advice…

Written By:

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 18.55.20

Sedef Hekimgil
@Essie_Tweets
Essie Speaks
Full Contributor

 

Josh’s Perspective:

Grabstalgia.  Oh, that’s just a new word I made up to describe what happens when a piece of art doesn’t have a single aim, aside from grabbing and plucking those nostalgic strings of your memory.  In 1993, Jurassic Park became an instant classic; not necessarily because of a riveting, life-altering plot, but rather because of the fresh, carefully crafted grand spectacle it provided.  Until then, we knew nothing of dinosaurs in our movies, save for poorly rendered versions showing at our local museum’s theater or stop-motion beasts from yesterday’s earnest puppeteers.  Now, we’ve seen everything.  Jurassic World knows that, and plunges forward into “bigger and badder is better” territory.  After all, the next logical step (because there is a pile of cash to collect from this franchise) was to create a grander spectacle, and constantly remind us why we loved the first film.  That’s a neat strategy for a cash grab, but let’s be clear: if you’re looking to recreate that feeling of sheer awe from the original, you likely won’t find it.  If you’re looking for a grounded film, you won’t come close to a glimpse.  If you simply want to be entertained without consequence in the presence of the theater’s industrial air conditioner, Jurassic World was made for you.

The film is aptly made, appropriately sequenced and rendered, and provides likable, if not typical leads.  The problem, it appears, is that none of Jurassic World‘s characters have seen, and thus none have learned, from the original.  For all of the wanton loss of life and destruction of property we witnessed in the film’s first three installments, John Hammond’s original vision has somehow been seen to fruition.  In fact, the park has been open for some time.  Where there are myopic billionaires like Hammond, I suppose there are giant piles of cash ready to dump on problems and pay off vast numbers of people.  Speaking of myopic billionaires, a new “Hammond” has taken ownership of the park, in the name of Simon Masrani (Khan).  He’s a cool customer, and a modern CEO at that.  He’s hired a young woman to run his park, a young, rogue-ish fellow to train his raptors, has younger techs in prominent positions, and even flies his own helicopter.  What a guy!  He’s Elon Musk without the social responsibility (I imagine the role was pitched that way).

Sure, like the other films, we hear talk of ‘cautions’ and ‘safeguards’ with the park.  We hear about backup systems, genetic inhibitors, and other devices ready to quell the monstrous reincarnations known as dinosaurs at bay.  Just typing that bothers me, though, as it should the collective of theoretical ‘Jurassic’ investors.  Trying to keep nature, especially extinct nature, from being itself just doesn’t fly.  It simply begs for a righteous smattering of Murphy’s Law, the brother from another mother of Mother Nature.  By creating a new breed of dinoMasrani and his team of nearsighted nitwits have gone and taunted the both of them, and thus deserve a righteous smattering of karma.  Dubbed Indominus Rex (a name even the script scoffs at), this beautiful and horrific creature has more teeth, just like the investors ordered.  It also hasn’t paid nature’s dues, the tried and true steps every living creature has gone through to earn their place on our planet.  Through no fault of its’ own, the “I. Rex” is sufficiently underdeveloped, and thus cannot behave predictably.  Can you imagine what happens next?

Amidst the ensuing chaos, the young woman named Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who runs this massive park must figure out how to contain the already deadly I. Rex and bring her two visiting, meandering nephews (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) in from the park safely.  Luckily, she has Owen Grady at her disposal (Chris Pratt), and he trains velociraptors.  I’m quite serious.  His job, quite literally, is to form a bond with ancient killers in an attempt to; well, I can’t give it away, but you can easily figure it out.  So, the villains from the first film (raptors) are now our pals.  I hate to sound snarky, but let’s be real.  How many trainable reptiles can you name in today’s age?  What do you think the odds are of training one that went extinct and has a super tiny brain?  I suppose the plot needs this, or the finale wouldn’t come together, but come on.  This is only a simple step from the ‘laser raptors’ of Kung Fury.  At that point, what little science still remained from the genesis of Michael Crichton’s already far-fetched idea officially fades into the ether.

I find myself in a similar position to Clerks‘ resident gas station attendants/Star Wars skeptics.  Their perceptive concerns about innocent contractors caught in the crossfire may seem like a silly, irrelevant point to make about a sci-fi fantasy film, but it brings into focus the critical mass of characters and plot these films churn out.  If we hold comic films to a ‘death toll’ standard, chiding them for blase attitudes to human lives, shouldn’t we do the same for these Jurassic films?  Each subsequent sequel barely touches on the fallout of all previous entries.  Each film has bland characterizations of the individual in charge, as they create and spend, but never ask whether they should. A paraphrasing of Ian Malcolm’s line from the original has always been the right angle, but not a single person really listened to him, or reason.

That simple statement invites a litany of questions.  Who harbors responsibility for these animals and what comes of them?  For that matter, what became of the hundreds of dinosaurs from the first three films?  What has happened to Isla Sorna from The Lost World and Jurassic Park III?  How is the original visitor’s center from Jurassic Park still standing?  Does it serve a purpose to the plot other than to call attention to our strong nostalgic feelings for the original?  How can this park be sponsored by major companies, when they know full well the risk inherent in having their product connected to a possible catastrophe?  How can world governments not want to be involved in the safeguarding of this park?  How can a company like InGen still be in business?  Can someone blow the whistle there already and ‘Enron’ the bejesus out of them?  How unoriginal is it to have the archetypal “bad guy” be Vincent D’Onofrio?  Isn’t his presence enough to know he’s hiding something sinister?  By now, how are there not pteranodons and pterodactyls, last seen flying from Isla Sorna, not picking off swimmers on the Gulf Coast?

The unfortunate side effect of the glorious disease of nostalgia is the latitude we allow, thus the need for all of those questions of logic.  We hear John Williams’ Jurassic Park cues, and we forget that the film rushes head-long into a plot without catching us up to speed.  We see B.D. Wong reprising his role from the original, and we forgive his unabashedly broken moral compass.  We see set pieces from the original, and we forget to ask how that landmark still stands.  We see a huge dino battle and ignore the convenient ease with which the mosasaurus picks off its prey.  Reading my words, you might imagine plenty of glorious movie visions, and there are; in fact, I’ll credit Jurassic World by proclaiming it as the most impressive of the monster movies in terms of sheer scale.  I simply find myself frustrated with a franchise that acts like its’ own antagonists, and continues to deliver the same “gather people up, run away from dinosaurs” story line.  Every person with power in these films is corrupt or blind, and by the time morality catches up to them, salvage is impossible.  Director Colin Trevorrow, for all his accomplishments with the brilliant indie Safety Not Guaranteed, spends so much time honoring the original in every way that he may have forgotten to make his own film.

Generally, I’m not a complete buffoon, devoid of appreciating escapist joy at the theater.  I can forgive honest films that simply mean to be aimless summer fun.  As a monster movie, the results of Jurassic World are most impressive.  I understand why it exists, and why most crowds are drawn to its’ promise of awe, but the reasons are disappointing and cynical to me, yet somehow acceptable to the masses.  Crowds might not have wanted a new Jurassic film, per se, but they sure want homages, repackagings, and familiar blockbusters.  They might not even notice what’s wrong with the narrative.  Like the film’s teenager Zach, our heads are probably too buried in our phones to bother noticing the transfer of our money into Universal’s coffers.  Jurassic World is not a bad film, but nor is it a good one.  It is not a loud, garish disaster, but neither is it an intelligent, thoughtful film.  It simply exists to remind us that we loved a movie 22 years ago.  That’s great and all, but we already paid for our movie ticket once in 1993 (if not two, three, and four times), bought a VHS copy, bought the DVD, bought the Blu-Ray, and paid again to see it in 3-D upon re-release in 2013.  I would never ask a Jurassic film to stop dreaming like a child it once was, but I do expect the story to grow up, and attempt to break a film barrier like its’ forefather.

Written By:

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 20.59.08

Josh Adams
filmfanperspective.com
@TheFFPerspective
Freelance Contributor

 

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