Jurassic World is a fascinating phenomenon. This movie is breaking records left and right at the moment. I honestly didn’t expect that at all. Back in 1993 I fell victim to the big dinohype Jurassic Park spawned. I was a huge fan. Jurassic Park is also kinda responsible for my huge love of movies. I saw every movie in the theater and enjoyed them for they wanted to be. Of course I had to see this one. Still… I did not have high expectations.
So it’s 25 years after Jurassic Park and they built a bigger park. That new park can hold up to 25.000 visitors and has a lot more dinosaur attractions than the original. We also see the park working, without any problems and tons of visitors there. Two kids have an invitation by their aunt, who is overlooking the park and trying to keep it running. In the beginning we follow the kids and basically see what the park has to offer. That’s a fun part in the movie actually. They came up with some neat ideas and the movie works well in there. The first act is also sprinkled with introductions to certain characters that will drive the movie later and a lot of exposition talk. The movie is also constantly reminding us how dangerous dinosaurs can be. Saying that this park is actually a very very bad idea. Well, we all knew that since 1993! No new territory here. We’re introduced to Chris Pratt’s character who’s basically the Raptor Whispherer. I won’t lie… as stupid dumb the shit he’s doing there appears… it’s kind of fun to watch. I feel like I need a shower now. Not sure if it’s Pratt’s charisma working there… but he can’t do wrong at the moment. Now the cliche’s begin. Pratt’s character had a thing with Aunty (Bryce Dallas Howard) at one point. Of course. Since Pratt is so awesome with his dino skills, she wants him to check a cage that was built for a cross-breed sort of dino. We later learn that they pretty much threw everything they had into a pot and looked what happened. The ultimate killer dino! We learn that this creature is very smart and soon see how it tricks the humans to break out of the, oh so damn safe, cage. Too easy, for that creature. Oh and people get eaten too. And while it really had some cruel impact in the 1993 movie… it really falls flat when people are getting killed by dinos here. I don’t know what it is. So now the park is going into evacuation mode. Aunty, who didn’t have time to keep an eye on the kids, suddenly remembers/cares and wants them to be safe. She can’t do it by herself and begs Pratt for help. In the meanwhile the kids are still on tour and in the middle of a safari. When hell breaks lose all over the park.
That’s all I want to say about the story. There are more things in the movie and I constantly thought to myself how ‘constructed’ this movie feels. As if they had a checklist of things to cross off. The movie actually is a remake of the first one. They changed and updated it just enough. Implemented one or two extra story elements to make it just different enough. After a while I even recognized the pattern/movie structure of the first one. This felt so ‘by the numbers’ that it’s not even funny anymore. And the worst thing of all… it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t superbly amazing either! It was just good enough to never let me slip into boredom.
The characters we’re presented here are all very flat. There is pretty much no dimension to any of them. The best characters, and it sounds weird, are the kids! They have at least a tiny bit of depth and they work well together. Normally the kids in these movies are the worst thing ever. But these two were not so bad. It would have been interesting to set the movie around these two kids alone. Trying to survive what’s going on. Instead we have this giant mishmash of I don’t know. I never felt that any of the main characters were in danger. Except for the kids in one or two situations. Most of the time I was mentally screaming “get the fuck out of there you dumb shit!” when one of the characters once again just stood there staring at something. The characters overall felt very strange. A weird mix that doesn’t always work so well. Especially that weird pseudo chemistry between Mr. Pratt and Lady Howard.
While writing this review I have this weird feeling that this movie mighy become a guilty pleasure for me. And I don’t even specifically know why. Maybe it’s all the little references to the other movies they placed in there. At one point in the tram someone is reading a book with Ian Malcolm’s face on the cover. Or Mr. DNA on one of the info screens. Maybe it’s exactly that why I can’t hate this movie. It has a lot of little things that spawn memories of the first film and work really well. For me, well enough, to balance out the outrageous stupidity we’re dealing with at some other points. And I won’t even go so far trying to understand why there is a park at all. After all the things that happened in the other movies. I’m not even sure if the second and third movie are still in the continuity with this fourth one. But overall it’s plain stupidity and greed that starts the crazy in this movie too. And it didn’t even need a huge tropical storm like in the first one. This time the disaster is all man-made.
Before this movie came out there was a lot of controversy about the quality of the VFX. Why the 1993 movie still holds up with some of the best VFX ever made. Even by todays standards. And so many newer films struggle with creating believable VFX. No one can really explain why that is. And while the effects in this fourth movie surely aren’t bad… they’re no stunners too. Is it because we’re so spoiled at this point? Or is it because VFX got so big and complex that the creators lost what’s important when it comes to believablity? Some of the VFX in movies nowadays are so big and complex that I can’t even imagine how much work goes into them. Same goes for Jurassic World. Is it maybe because they look too good? Too perfect? That the VFX from 1993 had to fight so many problems and needed so many tricks and workarounds that they have just that slight bit element of imperfection that make them work so well, even today? Ultimately what I want to say is that the VFX are fine. But by far not as overwhelming as the experience I had in 1993. Which is understandable since it was groundbreaking in 1993.
Another thing I noticed was the soundtrack. A lot of parts from the 1993 original by John Williams. Nowadays the music in movies almost only seems to consist of loud DOOOOOOOOOOOH DUUUUUUUUUHM noises. No melodies anymore. Just loud sound. Hearing these John Williams tracks made my heart almost blow up. Almost. Because, except for the beginning, all the tunes were pretty much wasted and used for scenes that did not deserve these musical masterpieces. At one point we travel in a helicopter over the island. And we hear my favourite part of the Jurassic Park soundtrack. When the track peaks in the end… you expect a visual orgasm… which you don’t get. Real bummer.
The fact that they refer to the dinos as ‘products’ is a funny thing. Even though it might be not so far fetched in today’s world. So there is a tiny satire element in the movie. Talking about products… – the product placement in this movie war faaaaar too present. In some scenes they almost throw it into your face. And it took me out of the movie every single time. Again, bummer. I also saw the movie in 2d and don’t think it’s worth the extra bucks for the 3d.
Ultimately I have to recommend watching it on the big screen at least once. Not just for the visuals but for the sound. The dino roar’s just work much better in a theater environment and help to elevate the overall experience. I enjoyed the film for what it was. Will I see it again? Probably not too soon. Maybe when the bluray is out… to check if it holds up with my memories.