Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Based on: Michael Crichton‘s book (plus sequel)
Sequel to: Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Katie McGrath
Seen on: 21.6.2015
Years after the events at Jurassic Park, Jurassic World has opened – a theme park with actual dinosaurs. And things are going very well. A lot of that success is due to Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who manages the park, is looking after investors and generally is always looking for ways to expand and to ameliorate. This weekend, she is visited by her two nephews Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), but she also has to make sure that the park’s anticipated newest attraction – a new crossbreed of dinosaur – gets ready to be marketable. But then everything goes wrong and Claire has to team up with Owen (Chris Pratt) to avoid an even bigger disaster. Oh, and save her nephews.
I love the old movies and have loved them ever since I was a kid. So I was really looking forward to Jurassic World. But it manages the absolutely unthinkable: it makes dinosaurs boring. I am still unsure how they managed that particular feat, but it happened.
We certainly can not fault the special effects for my exasperation at the film. The dinosaurs looked beautiful and they even threw in at least a kinda explanation for the fact that the dinosaurs we get to see her have been overtaken and overhauled by modern science. Would it have been nice to get dinosaurs that were actually accurate according to newest scientific findings? Yes. But I could also go along with the “people don’t want realism; also we needed to much frog DNA spliced in with what we found, so we lost the feathers” explanation.
But with that explanation we already get the first instance of the movie working against itself: the script constantly criticizes that people are not happy anymore with realism: realistic dinosaurs wouldn’t be enough to entertain the public. They want it bigger and more dangerous and the stakes need to be continuously upped, just to get through to the entertainment-addled brains of people. But just as it’s the park owner’s wish to teach humility in the face of nature by having a park full of dinosaurs that don’t actually existed in nature until humans created them, the film might be preaching that people seek too much thrills, but at the same time, it provides not only a dinosaur that’s bigger and badder than all the rest but that has special skills (that are pretty laughable, create more plot holes that they close, and are each only ever used once by the animal and the plot before forgotten again). So the movie is effectively judging the audience for wanting what it itself is providing. Well fuck you for that.
Add to that sanctimonious BS that the film is just plain sexist. Claire’s assistant Zara’s (Katie McGrath) death is celebrated unlike any other in the film, it feels like punishment for her disinterest in babysitting the boys. [But why should she be interested? It’s certainly not her job.] Claire’s high-heeled shoes – an absolute necessity for a woman in a corporate job in the USA – are a constant point of ridicule, although they barely slow her down or make her less effective in the changed circumstances. When Claire talks about if she’ll ever have children, she is corrected to when, because a woman not wanting children is unthinkable. And when Claire saves Owen’s life, her nephews think that’s completely awesome – of Owen and promptly don’t want to leave his side. [If the film had been cleverer about these things, I might have given it the benefit of the doubt: that scene could have served as an intelligent way of pointing out how the patriarchy always twists women’s achievements in favor of men. But it would have to be a different film for that.]
There is only one moment where the film defies sexist expectations and that is when the woman in the control room (Lauren Lapkus) tells her colleague – who already wanted to claim her in victorious trophy-collecting that she has a boyfriend.
But generally speaking, I just found the film completely disappointing: a ridiculous plot with none of the charm of the original film, but a lot more boredom.