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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jurassic World 2015 * * 1/2 Stars

Jurassic WorldDirector: Colin Trevorrow
Year: 2015
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins

Written by Cole Pollyea

In 1993, director Steven Spielberg released his beloved Jurassic Park to highly receptive audiences who marveled at the impressive yet sophisticated special effects and the intelligent style of storytelling. With the latest entry in the series, Jurassic World, many of these filmmaking characteristics were abandoned and replaced with a big budget, an unnecessarily long running time, and eye-popping visual effects. Still though, it’s very easy to imagine a family enjoying this 124 minute exercise, as Jurassic World is a quintessential summer popcorn movie.

Making an effort to weave in family dynamics, the story of this gargantuan theme park, named Jurassic World, focuses on family members who all have some affiliation with the theme park, and then on some of the people employed by the park. Two brothers, ages 16 and 12 (whereabouts) have just been treated to a trip to their aunt’s pride and joy workplace, Jurassic World. Zach, the eldest, is not thrilled about leaving his girlfriend (and appears to be pretty sour about life in general), but is forced to take care of his brother, Gray, who is ecstatic about seeing the dinosaurs. Their aunt, a woman of high authority in the behind-the-scenes roles of the park, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is a hotshot professional more dazzled by the park’s profit than the actual living phenomenon that she has helped create. When the park’s latest creation (for higher ratings and more visitors), a gigantic t-rex mutant, breaks loose and puts all of the main characters and the theme park’s reputation in peril, a down-to-earth mechanic/zookeeper of the velociraptors (Chris Pratt) is employed to save the day.

The ways in which Jurassic World excels can be prescribed to one word: fun. It can be just that at times, and it looks like everyone involved in the filming had a rip- roaring time making it. Editing must have especially been a blast, because one loses count just how many times jaws drop during the exemplary CGI action scenes and birds-eye-view shots of the theme park. It’s one genre of escapism that no doubt appeals to a family with kids who can handle a little dinosaur gore.

The fundamental problem with this movie, however, lies in the writing, and spreads from there to the acting. It’s clear that the filmmakers had a number of important themes concerning corporation-takeover in our economy to condense into the screenplay, but the problem is that it is so spoon-fed that it makes its audience sick. It was quite often that I wanted the actors to quit reading their brutal lines and just improvise! What’s more, it plays on audience’s emotions like a violin, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink—that includes a genuinely unbelievable single-tear- rolling-down-the-cheek scene. There were a number of problems with the development of the conflict as well, including both the fact that the “best structural engineers in the world” were seen stuffing their faces with potato chips in the middle of their sentences and the fact that there were more armed soldiers than intelligent scientists in what was supposed to be a laboratory for the biggest theme park in the country! Some of the antagonists were ludicrous as well, as were the many instances in which the main characters lives’ were magnificently saved.

Despite this, Jurassic World has an essence about it that lures moviegoers of all persuasions. It’s loud, flamboyant, and entertaining to a degree. It makes a promise to avid fans of the original; whether or not that promise is met is relative, but what’s for sure is that it possesses many flaws that its predecessor does not. At the heart of the script lies the big idea concerning the dangers of taking things too far in a capitalism- dominated world. Its themes discourage the extension and thereby soiling of what was once a good and even “natural” thing. The tremendous irony here is that by making Jurassic World, that’s just what these filmmakers may have done to the series. 

Written by Cole Pollyea

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