Jurassic World is entertaining sequel to classic 90s film despite flat plot, characters

Connor Burke September 11, 2015 0

Expectations are a weird thing. Going into “Jurassic World” for the first time this summer, I had medium expectations for the film because none of the “Jurassic Park” sequels in the past turned out any good, and this film had been in various forms of development for about 12 years. After the film, I turned to all my friends with a large grin on my face and exclaimed, “Wow! That was pretty bad! I loved it!” I still hold this feeling about the film even after the second viewing. While it does not have stellar acting, memorable characters, or even a true plot, “Jurassic World” is a super entertaining film if you want a simple, fun viewing experience.
The film takes place about 22 years after “Jurassic Park,” and Richard Hammond’s dream has finally come true. Isla Nublar is now a SeaWorld-style amusement park with multiple attractions, all featuring genetic re-creations of dinosaurs both large and small. The technology is advanced enough so that visitors are completely safe from any dinosaur-related harm, and there is even an employee named Owen, played by Chris Pratt, who can train the vicious velociraptors. However, even with all of the advances and new attractions, attendance is at an all-time low. This leads the park’s operations manager Claire Dearing, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, to give a go-ahead to the genetics department to create their own dinosaur, the Indominus Rex. While Claire’s nephews are visiting the park for the first time, the Indominus breaks free from its cage. This in turn causes a massive breakout of nearly every dinosaur in the park, wreaking havoc on the entire park and all of its guests. It’s up to Owen, Claire and her nephews to try to get the Indominus Rex back in her cage and then escape the island without becoming mutant-dinosaur chow.
The main plot of the film as described above can be likened to a conveyor belt, going from a dinosaur attack scene to a scene that is created for the express purpose to evoke feelings of nostalgia for the original “Jurassic Park.” The conveyor belt style of the plot worked well as the movie progressed, but while thinking about it afterwards it felt a little cheap.
One scene in particular that elicited a response during the initial viewing but felt cheap and manipulative afterward was the reveal of the theme park during the beginning of the film. The scene opens with a monorail going through giant gates with the film’s logo emblazoned at the top. The camera then pans to show a sweeping shot of the futuristic, dinosaur and tourist filled park and all of the new attractions that Rich Hammond envisioned 20 years ago, and the music swells until the original John Williams theme is blasting throughout every speaker in the theatre. When first watching the movie, the combination of the nostalgic shot and Williams’ beautiful score is enough to bring a tear to the eyes of anyone who was a fan of “Jurassic Park.” However, when thinking about it in hindsight, the scene is very cheap. The filmmakers know that having very similar scenes to the original will cause fans and viewers to get so wrapped up in the nostalgia and dinosaur attacks that they won’t notice the paper-thin characters and plot.
All that being said, though, “Jurassic World” is a lot of fun to watch. The computer-generated dinosaurs look very real, and the movie generates a weird sense of glee mixed with horror whenever they attack the crowds of tourists. The Velociraptors that Owen trains throughout the film are the most memorable characters in the entire movie, alternating between the roles of heroes and villains in certain scenes. It really says something about a film when it’s much easier to name four non-speaking CGI reptiles (Blue, Charlie, Delta, and Echo) than naming more than four actual human characters.
The direction of this movie is well done, even if it is a little standard. Since it is only the second film Colin Trevorrow has ever directed (the first being the ridiculously entertaining 2012 sci-fi comedy “Safety Not Guaranteed”) there’s no distinct style, but it still feels like a movie that fits perfectly into the “Jurassic Park” series. All the actors follow the semi-bland but still good direction, which causes their performances to be semi-bland but good. You can tell Pratt is having a blast running from fake dinosaurs, Howard is a great career-obsessed stereotype, and Vincent D’Onofrio really hams it up as the head of Jurassic World’s internal security.
Overall, “Jurassic World” is technically a bad movie, but a super enjoyable watch. The plot only exists to lead into entertaining dinosaur attacks, the human characters are bland enough to take a backseat to the cool CGI dinosaurs, and the nostalgic elements, while very pandering and manipulative, are neat while you watch the film. So, if you want to see “Jurassic World,” definitely do. Just don’t think too much about the movie afterward.

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