My Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Welcome to my first movie review here on Omnia Online! Jurassic World broke numerous records on its opening weekend (including being the first movie ever to make more than $500 million in a single weekend), which makes it a great place to start. On top of this, I happened to see the movie twice in one week (thanks to my friends’ conflicting schedules) and really have a good perspective on it. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Having not seen the original Jurassic Park trilogy in over 10 years, I cannot make much commentary on how this new addition to the franchise compares with the originals. Instead, I will focus mainly on the strengths and weaknesses of the film as a stand alone work. First off, it goes without saying that the CGI dinosaurs were awesome! The action sequences were full of suspense and I really found myself enveloped in the story. The plot follows two kids, Zach (Ty Simpkins) and Gray (Nick Robinson), who visit their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) at her place of work: the Jurassic World theme park on Isla Nublar. The film deals primarily with the ramifications of the escape of a genetically engineered dinosaur hybrid called the Indominus Rex, which throws the park into chaos 22 years after the disastrous events of the first Jurassic Park movie. Luckily, ex-navy dude Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) has been recently hired by the establishment and sets out to put things back in order alongside Claire and the boys.
One of my favorite things about this film was how self-aware it was, which was necessary to support such an action-packed plot without being ridiculous. There are scenes throughout the movie that are obvious plot devices used to heighten the suspense and propel the action (for example, poor cellphone reception becomes a life threatening issue more than once). Usually scenes like this end up breaking the illusion of a film and causing the audience to be disappointed. However, the makers of Jurassic World managed to prevent this from happening by purposefully adding in comedic scenes that reminded the audience to enjoy the thrill, but not to take things too seriously. For example, Jake Johnson’s character, Lowery, is more or less a stand-in for the audience and makes several references to the original Jurassic Park while mocking the current corporate culture that permeates the new attraction. One of the best lines in the movie comes towards the beginning when Claire explains to some financial donors that kids today don’t appreciate living dinosaurs like they used to, creating the need to make larger, more frightening creatures. This is a metaphor for the film itself, which is being released in a time where 3D movies and CGI dinosaurs in and of themselves aren’t all that impressive. Instead, the franchise must turn to badass characters and epic dinosaur battles, as well as the totally original Indominus Rex to carry the film. But boy did this tactic pay off!
Jurassic World delivers in all the ways that a fan of dinosaurs and action films would hope for. The Godzilla-esque battles were epic, but backed up by enough plot and character drama that they ended up being more of a pay off than their counterparts in the actual 2014 Godzilla movie. The acting was excellent for the most part, though most of the characters were based off of quintessential movie stereotypes with a modern day twist (the corrupt military man, the parents going through a divorce, the girl obsessed emo boy, the over-organized work crazy single woman, the autistic boy, etc). However, the characters were real enough to make their plights both believable and relatable, which made the danger they faced all the more heart pounding. In comparison to what I remember from the first film, the danger in this movie was more concentrated. Instead of the characters being afraid for their lives at every turn, the Indominus Rex serves as the horror movie monster and is the source of nearly all the terror. This also allowed for different dinosaurs to interact both with each other and the various characters in ways that would not have been possible if the entire plot revolved around survival alone. Chris Pratt was especially awesome as the “alpha-male” leader of a pack of killer velociraptors.
Be wary of bringing young kids to the theatre as the film really dances on the edge of PG-13 and R. The violence used is not over the top, but also isn’t dumbed down to the point of making the danger less threatening or believable. Plenty of characters are killed (one in a particularly disturbing manner that was a bit reminiscent of the SeaWorld tragedy a few years back). Both times I saw this film, the theatre was relatively packed and there were a lot of children. The first time, most of the young kids in the crowd were screaming or in tears, whereas the second time, the children were mostly laughing and cheering. Obviously, it all depends on the child, but Jurassic World would definitely have been intense for me at a young age, so viewer discretion is advised.
Overall, I think that the film really earned its spot at the top of the box office for the week. It is absolutely one of the best films I have seen all year and throughly defeated Age of Ultron in my book. If you do end up going, don’t expect to get a complex plot with a lot of depth or extremely nuanced characters. The movie, like the park after which it is named, is a thrill ride that delivers exactly what it promises. There are plenty of over the top scenes that would take away from a more serious film, but the creators of Jurassic World understand and work with these silly elements in order to make us feel suspense throughout the adventure. This is not to say the movie is without any kind of deeper thought. Modern corporate culture and its effect on workplace ethics is explored as well as the idea that the dinosaurs are not merely monsters or attractions, but real animals (though when it comes to the Indominus, this idea is dropped quickly for understandable reasons). So, sit back, enjoy the action scenes as well as the comedic breaks, and try to ignore the fact that Bryce Dallas Howard ran through the jungle for hours in heels. I found the movie to be an epic ride and am looking forward to the sequel!