God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. Dinosaurs eat man. Man creates another park anyways, because fuck it. Man creates a genetic hybrid dinosaur that breaks free from its cage. A bunch of extras get eaten.
Jurassic World takes place 22 years after the original Jurassic Park and completely ignores the two sequels, just like the rest of us do. Apparently the rest of the world forgot about that time a T-Rex got loose in San Diego because this park is packed with visitors instead of being firebombed out of existence by the UN. The park is doing well, but these lazy god damned millennials are getting bored with old fashioned dinosaurs. A triceratops? Yeah, I remember that on Power Rangers when I was a kid. A stegosaurus? Is he using his Talkboy while his friend the mighty brontosaurus sips an Ecto-Cooler and reads Animorphs? Hey grandpa, why don't you and your bore-liosaurus hop on your roller blades and jet grind go fuck yourself back to the stone age. There's only one way to make sure the money keeps flowing, and that's to genetically engineer a new breed of dinosaur. Spoilers: it goes poorly.
|I'm the baby, gotta love me|
Jurassic World has its fair share of problems in basically every aspect of the film that doesn't involve dinosaurs eating people. The characters are as one dimensional as you can get." I'm the business woman who can't make time for family because I'm so absorbed in profits and statistics and will eventually learn to appreciate life." Cool. "I'm Zookeeper Han Solo who was recruited from the Navy to train raptors for some reason." Fantastic. "I'm a kid." Great. "I'm a younger kid." GREAT. I sure hope the high-strung, professional business woman and the laid back, easy going, handsome trainer get together in the end. That would be great.
There's an absolutely insane, nonsensical subplot where Vincent D'Onofrio plays some sort of executive at the park, the movie isn't really clear about what exactly he's in charge of but it doesn't matter, because dinosaurs. You know all those awful movies where there's a big scientific breakthrough and some fat guy comes, adjusts his pants, and yells "WE CAN WEAPONIZE THAT" in a southern accent? Spoilers, that's his entire character in this movie. I’ll give them credit, they showed admirable restraint in not giving him a cowboy hat. Not only is it a completely useless subplot that could be cut without losing a single thing, but it makes no fucking sense. You know what's more efficient than dropping monsters into the middle east? Drones, you fucking idiot.
So yeah, all of that is garbage. You know who didn’t come to this movie for characters? This guy. This guy came to this movie to watch dinosaurs murder a shitload of people. This guy got exactly what he wanted, give or take a hilarious divorce subplot.
The first 20 minutes or so of Jurassic World is spent exploring the park and invoking a sense of awe reminiscent of the first movie. There’s a Sea World inspired show where a Mosasaurus eats a great white shark in one bite, there are gyro balls that allow you to drive through the forest amongst herbivores, and there’s even a dinosaur petting zoo where you can ride a baby triceratops. Authors note: There is no limit to the number of zeroes I would write on a check if it meant I got to ride a Triceratops.
|Look at its little horns holy shit|
Once you’re acclimated with the world and you get your fill of sweeping helicopter shots of dinosaurs while the classic Jurassic Park score plays, shit hits the fan. Indominus Rex (Indominus, which is Latin for “big fucking dinosaur”) is a genetically engineered creature that is spliced together with parts of just about every other dinosaur they have, as well as some frogs and shit for good measure. InGen was tasked with making bigger and scarier dinosaurs in order to keep drawing in crowds and essentially made an unkillable monster that can camouflage itself into its surroundings, cloak itself from thermal trackers, and is intelligent enough to set traps. They created something they have no chance in hell of containing. Why? Cash money.
|Remember kids, capitalism is evil. Each sold separately.|
It would be one thing if the park was a recent attraction that was brining in millions of tourists from every country on the globe, but dinosaurs have been back for 20 years. That shit is old hat. T-Rex? We’ve seen it. Not impressed. I could go to a zoo on a whim, just because I'm bored and there's nothing else to do, and see every species of animal in the world up close, but I haven’t been since I was dragged there as a kid. If there’s one thing we know about the world it’s that whether we’re in the paleolithic era or the not too distant future, cash rules everything around us. Little Timmy isn’t impressed by the brachiosaurus? Make something bigger. Something scarier. Something to get him off the Youtubes and the Instagrams and whatever it is these god damned kids these days do instead of digging up bones in the desert. If I’m gonna get off my ass and take a ferry out to a secluded island, there better be a monster that can cloak itself and kills for sport. I want Predator with a tail and a lot of fuckin teeth.
When I-Rex (inevitably) gets loose, the movie changes tone and becomes what I’ve wanted ever since I first saw Jurassic Park as an impressionable fat kid. It becomes a slasher movie with a dinosaur as the killer. Scene after scene of Dead Meat characters getting T-Rekt interspersed with forced dialogue that no actor or actress could deliver with a straight face. Just when it seems like things can’t get any better, we get the scene where the roof of the aviary is destroyed and 30 pterodactyls and pteranodons and rodans all get loose and start picking off fat tourists like seagulls converging on fish.
You know what Jurassic World has? a pointless scene of Judy Greer crying because her sister is too busy to babysit her kids at the park. You know what else it has? Dinosaur fights. As in, dinosaurs fighting each other. If you told 12 year old me there was a movie where scientists created Frankenstein’s Dinosaur and it got loose in a fully populated Jurassic Park and their big plan to stop it was to unleash raptors trained by a guy from a comic book movie, I would have begged my parents to take me to see it. Coincidentally I had the same reaction as a 24 year old, including my parents demanding I share my popcorn. Didn’t realize the AMC was right next to the fucking Soviet bread line.
If you pull a single thread in the plot, the entire thing untangles. Every convoluted sideplot serves only as a way to get from 'scene of security guards getting eaten' to 'scene of pterodactyls picking off tourists.’ The characters are bare bone and generic. None of the jokes are funny and the movie seems tone deaf as to what it wants to be at times. And yet I'm giving all of that a pass because every ten minutes or so a massive killing machine sneaks up on people and completely shithouses them. I didn't even mind that the movie just ends out of nowhere with a Deus Rex Machina, and yes, I wrote this entire review just to write that pun.
The original trailer was absolute trash so I came in with the lowest expectations. There hasn't been a good Jurassic movie in over 2 decades, so as long as this one is fun and isn't an ungodly boring and joyless dredge like The Lost World I'll be happy.
I had tons of fun. It's one of the few movies where I can say I'm glad I paid extra for 3d. For every line like "depends on what kind of dinosaur they cooked up in that lab" that I groaned at, there was a scene of a man making sure to grab his margaritas before escaping while the entire park was being ravaged by dinosaurs that left me with a big shit eating grin on my dumb face. It's funny to me how much I praised Fury Road for being a captivating movie with strong characters and little dialogue and yet here I am, praising a movie with awful archetypes, dialogue, and story. But guess what. Dinosaurs. It's not as good as Jurassic Park from a film making perspective, but I'll probably end up re-watching this one more over the years.