Kids love dinosaurs, this is an undisputed fact, but do we really need them in all are dinosaur movies? In the first Jurassic Park movie Hammond’s grandkids were from the book so I can cut Spielberg a little slack there, but now we have the fourth Jurassic movie and we are still stuck wasting screen time with children running from CGI monsters. Does the studio think we need to see kids in danger in order to keep the suspense up? And to make matters worse director Colin Trevorrow has to toss in a subplot about the kids’ parents getting a divorce. Why is he throwing a disaster cliché in our dinosaur movie?
This movie takes place twenty years after the disaster that closed down the original park, even before it got opened, but now billionaire Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) has been given free rein to bring Hammond’s dream to fruition. What he hasn’t done is address any of the safety concerns the first film brought up. Jurassic World should have been subtitled “Dinosaur Island of Impending Lawsuits” as there seems to be almost no safety precautions to keep the guests alive.
The movie’s main plot revolves around the park needing new and more impressive attractions if they are going to keep the investors happy because apparently the world has already become blasé about living breathing dinosaurs. In Jurassic Park: Lost World Hammond’s slimy nephew believed that an island based park was a bad idea, and he was absolutely right. The expense of feeding that many dinosaurs would be immense and if you have to ferry everything in that just doubles the cost. What we never find out is what are they charging for admission because unless it is several thousand a day it’s not enough to cover for the dino food, staff salaries (who mostly likely have to live on site), research facilities, security (what there is of it) and park upkeep.
Entering the park is Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray Mitchell (Ty Simpkins) two brothers who are shipped off to Jurassic World because their parents are secretly getting a divorce. Why their parent’s marital problems is a secret is never explained, but as the whole divorce thing is completely pointless to this movie let’s not worry about that. Gray, the younger brother, is the film’s dinosaur enthusiast while his older brother’s job is to act bored and stare at girls because dinosaurs are so last year. Their mother chose this park because her sister Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) runs the place, and for some reason Claire is given the “Workaholic Parent” cliché which doesn’t work when that person is the kid’s AUNT! She hasn’t seen her nephews in seven years and yet she’s supposed to drop everything and play tour guide?
Our other key player is Owen (Chris Pratt) an ex-Navy man who is training raptors to obey simple commands and is shocked when Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), the evil head of InGen security, reveals plans to use raptors as a military asset. Owen thinks this is a bad idea on mostly moral grounds and not on the obvious problem of raptors not being all that good in a firefight. Corporate greed wasn’t enough for this movie so they had to through in secret military projects to amp up the evil factor.
But raptors aren’t this film’s big bad, no for that we have the insanely silly named Indominus rex which is the latest genetically modified hybrid dinosaur. It was created by Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) who was the friendly scientist from the first movie but now for some reason he is a black turtleneck wearing mad scientist. When the Indominus escapes its enclosure, using its genetic superpowers and unbelievable intellect, Simon Masrani demands to know what dinosaurs genes were used to produce it but Dr. Wu refuses to divulge the secret cocktail because he is in chahoots with Vic Hoskins. This makes no sense as Masrani is higher up the corporate ladder than Hoskins. So I guess in the next movie we will learn more of the shadowy evil InGen corporate shenanigans.
Now this may sound like I hated this movie but I didn’t, I was just a little disappointed. None of the Jurassic Park movies can boast great screenplays so I went in there with rather mild expectations, and for the most part they were met. There were awesome moments of dino action (sadly pretty much all CGI) and there were a few really good chuckles, but Bryce Dallas Howard’s character was so incredibly stupid that any time spent with her was painful. Chris Pratt was fine as your standard action hero, and as dumb as the scene of him leading the raptor commandos was it was still pretty damn fun. Both D’Onofrio and BD Wong seemed to have wandered in from another movie as the escaped dinosaurs rampaging through the park and the secret military project seem like two totally different films.
This is a big dumb summer blockbuster that expects you to check your brain at the door before diving into your popcorn, and in the vein it is successful. There is plenty of prehistoric carnage to make anybody happy and Chris Pratt is a lot of fun to watch here, so if you go in with the proper expectations you will be entertained. This movie will no doubt rake in a ton of cash, and there is stuff here that is clearly setting up for a sequel, so we can all look forward to another trip back to the island.
• Bryce Dallas Howard can out run a T-Rex while wearing bloody heels.
• Those gyro-sphere vehicles are guest driven and they let kids ride alone. Yeah, that’s a good idea.
• I’m sorry but I doubt a pteranodon would try and carry off a triceratops.
• InGen’s security forces try to take out the Indominous with stun sticks. Seriously?
• The Indominous rex is bullet proof and explosive proof but not raptor proof.
• Kayaking down a river that has a brachiosuar and stegosaurs wading in it seems a tad dangerous to me.
Director Colin Trevorrow does not capture the wonder of the original Spielberg film, but it’s still more entertaining than Jurassic Park: Lost World.