Jurassic World: #1 Blockbuster

photo credit: Jurassic Park via photopin (license)

photo credit: Jurassic Park via photopin (license)

Jurassic World is everything it needs to be. While that may not sound like the beginning of a glowing review however it is an important start. Over twenty-two years since the first installment opened big in the summer of 93 we have a genuine sequel. This latest version, though reminiscent of the original brings back the long lost idea of a summer blockbuster. Casting was great and the tone was perfect yet we should begin with my opening comment.

A film can have an excellent screenplay, soundtrack, character/actor chemistry, story, or action etc. Very few have all the elements wrapped in one package. Jurassic World is not one of those films. It is however a perfect blockbuster. That phrase stands for the lines that would form circling the one-screen theaters showing the major releases of the time. Such line formers would include 1973’s The Exorcist, 1975’s Jaws, and 1977’s Star Wars. The pattern is evident yet in our modern Internet streaming world this film came within an inch of matching those block-wrapping lines. I would have to claim that it was not the multiplex that broke the blockbuster but the World Wide Web. The convenience of a download or stream beats waiting in line any day of the week. Some intrepid souls still camp out donned in their favorite characters’ attire for films like Star Wars: Phantom Menace and Lord of the Rings.

Let us assume for a minute that you did indeed make it to the highest grossing film of all time. Once seated in the audience with the dimming lights giving way to the John Williams-esc score, you knew something special was about to happen. We open on the obligatory plot, which contrived a purpose for us to visit the island. Once again we are presented with 2 young children to be placed in harms way. These ruffians lead us on mission of brotherly love that no one cares about as we are waiting for a giant reptile to crash through a paddock and eat some of the happy families in line for rides. (A dream many of us have had while at the end of a long Disney line)

Given the fact that this is a fully functional theme park which is genuinely impressive, makes Jurassic World appear like the logical second movie in the series. When we left John Hammond he had a dream that was eaten alive by a triumphant T-Rex. In this flick his plans for a genetic marvels theme park has been realized. And like all theme parks every so often they have to introduce new attractions to boost ticket sales. Now we have are premise, “the new attraction gets loose”. Bryce Dallas Howard our female lead is dressed in white head to toe like her predecessor from the first installment (only one of many Easter eggs). She too has a dream to head a successful collection of non-violent organic based attractions. Her fault unlike “spares no expense” John Hammond is her obsession with finances.

Bryce’s counterpart and new world wide leading man is Chris “good things come to those who wait” Pratt. Pratt takes over for Sam Neill and forgive the pun but evolves the part beautifully. He does a lot of hand acting instructing dinosaurs to halt and people to proceed but it works. He is a wonderful mix of masculinity and hilarity. He did do his best Harrison Ford impression (I have decided to be fine with that and the inevitable take over the Indiana Jones franchise). He lacked the awe that the dinosaurs’’ inspired in Dr. Alan Grant but that is part of the point of the film. Dinosaurs have become old hat. The kids are used to it and they seem to hold the same thrill as the “Small World Ride” hence Bryce Dallas Howard’s approval of the new Dino. The scientists as usual subvert the purpose and to avoid spoilers they do exactly what money hungry people do. As mentioned, it is reminiscent of Wayne Knight’s greedy nerd portrayal creating a park wide crash and leading to the eating of Sam Jackson.

This time Vincent D’Onofrio and original Jurassic scientist BD Wong conspire to make a fortune through genetic testing/ splicing (oh yes kiddies there can be a sequel). One of them meets a fairly interesting end as the last twenty minutes of the film are among the best 20 any summer has ever seen. Our old friend T-Rex returns for a surprise visit along with some brave raptors to form a glorious conclusion to the action. The inevitable face off with the new Frankenstein’s monster “Indominus Rex” is to put it simply, Satisfying!!! Also there is a “Deep Blue Sea” finally that I found to be glorious. Anyone who has seen that flick knows what I mean.

I usually like to discuss some meaning in every film critique so here is the part to skip if you lack the vision of a true movie fan. Jurassic World comments again on man’s desire to control nature. Each time we try this in life or film the humans lose, and miserably. Now here is a stretch so stay with me the Indominus / T-Rex battle royal represents natures triumph over the manufactured. I will leave it at that for those yet to see the film. Just keep it in mind.

To close here are some Easter eggs to look for:

  • The sign that fell around the T-Rex in J1
  • The Jeep from the original
  • The Amber
  • The DNA cartoon
  • The Jaws connection
  • The opening gate
  • The night vision glasses
  • The flare- T-Rex situation
  • The Goat

 

Stay Glued to the Screen

Neil Carroll

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