Kurt Loder Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Jurassic World

Chris Pratt battles a new breed of dinosaur on Spielberg's old island.

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Raptor
Universal Pictures

You can almost hear the corporate cogs whirring as the new Jurassic World unfurls. The movie is a belated extension of the old Jurassic Park franchise, which was launched by Steven Spielberg in 1993. Spielberg's first film, which heralded a new age in computer animation, was an enormous hit. It was followed by two sequels of slightly diminishing box-office returns, the last of them released 14 years ago. In that time, the art of digital effects has advanced into astonishing new realms. Surely, it must have been thought, a high-tech return to the Jurassic well would yield a slam-dunk summer blockbuster, and, not inconsequentially, a merchandising money-gush of t-shirts, backpacks, action figures and other kiddy-world impedimenta.

This is undoubtedly correct. Jurassic World is as close to a guaranteed smash as any movie might likely come. And it does offer a lot to look at, most of it scaly and snarling. The dinosaurs on view have the illusionary weight and detail of real creatures, and they move through the film's physical environments at a new level of precision complexity. What's missing, though, is the Spielberg touch (although he's onboard here as an executive producer). In Jurassic Park, the director was careful to pause for moments of wonder, showing us, for example, a long-necked brachiosaur gracefully nibbling leaves at the top of a very tall tree. New director Colin Trevorrow, whose one previous feature was the 2012 Sundance hit Safety Not Guaranteed, is more committed to raging spectacle. This would be okay, but all of the digital expertise that has been lavished on this picture is subverted by its script, which is thuddingly analog.

The movie ignores the previous Jurassic sequels and takes us straight back to the tropical island of Isla Nublar, where the original Park came to such an unpleasant end. This time we're in the company of two brothers, little Gray (Ty Simpkins), who's on hand to provide occasional dinosaur exposition, and teenage Zach (Nick Robinson), who's mainly into girls and would rather be anywhere else. The boys have been dispatched to the island by their parents, who are on the verge of divorce, and I won't go into that—although the movie does, at unnecessary length—because it's too boring.

Jurassic World is a new commercial enterprise erected on the ruins of the old park. It's a mash-up of Disneyland, Sea World, and tourist hell, packed with herds of visitors writhing in the tropical heat. The attractions include dinosaur holograms, a mini-dino petting zoo, an aqua show, and a monorail that carries the customers out into the electronically-fenced outback where the coolest dinosaurs, all cooked up in the JW lab, are on free-range display.

The story is shouldered by a core of skimpily written characters who are barely up to the job. Bryce Dallas Howard has the thankless task of playing Claire, the resort's operational manager. Claire is a feminist nightmare, running through the jungle in high heels and being told, when danger erupts, to "stay in the car!" She has no boyfriend, naturally, although she did once have a date with Owen (Chris Pratt), now employed as the resident raptor trainer (or something). Pratt, such a quick-witted screen presence in Guardians of the Galaxy, is given virtually no good lines here—he's a standard-issue hunkosaur, which is too bad, because his interactions with Howard are entirely sparkless.

Claire has been charged by Jurassic World owner Masrani (Irrfan Khan) with devising a new attraction, and working with staff geneticist Dr. Wu (BD Wong, back from the first Jurassic film), she has succeeded. "No one's impressed by a dinosaur anymore," she explains at one point. "Consumers want them bigger, louder, more teeth." The solution is a freshly brewed Indominus rex—a really, really big dinosaur that towers over the previously formidable Tyrannosaurus rex of the earlier films. You can imagine how dangerous such a creature might be if it ever got loose, but nobody else here can. Well, maybe the sneering security chief, Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), who believes Indominus could be turned to military purposes and made into an excellent weapon. Don't think too hard about this.

The blithe lack of concern on the part of Jurassic World executives about the inadvisability of creating a new species of monster lizard is part of the movie's rote anti-corporate stance, which sits oddly in a film brought to us by a company the size of Universal Pictures. And it's a ridiculous message to peddle amid all the rampant product placement (Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Verizon Wireless, Mercedes-Benz) that assaults us at just about every turn. On the other hand, while I found this sort of thing annoying, I know if I were 12 years old, I wouldn't care at all.

If you'll permit me a spoiler here: Indominus rex gets loose. Soon Owen and Claire and the two boys are running for their lives, which of course is what the movie is really about. There are some wonderfully wild action scenes. In one of them, young Zach and Gray, perambulating around the dino grounds in a see-through gyro-car, encounter a gigantic beastie and find themselves being kicked about like a soccer ball. There's also a hair-raising attack by a squadron of screeching Pterodactyls (well, Pteranodons, I guess—in any case, you can almost hear the tourists screeching for their refunds). And in one of the movie's most excitingly staged scenes, a truck bearing Claire and the two kids careens down a road pursued by roaring dinosaurs they can't seem to outpace.

This is pretty great stuff. It's all that the movie really promises, and it delivers. Will anyone in the target audience care that the story is wholly predictable, and that the characters are limp and depthless? Does it matter that the digital creatures that swarm forth here no longer pack the revolutionary punch of Spielberg's original creations? Lemme think. No.     

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  1. Jurassic Park? More like sporadic plot, am I right, people?

    1. Who are you? How did you get in here?

      1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

        ????????????? http://www.pay-buzz.com

    2. Fisty! we got Fisty here! see nobody cares.

  2. The dinosaurs ate the AM Links!

    1. Well, we knew sooner or later they’d go after the housepets. I just expected the lynx to be later because it’s so filthy.

      1. But not as filthy as Warty.

    2. Our blogging lives are in their hands and they have butterfingers?

    3. Fist’s F5 is taking a beating.

      1. something something penis

        1. Hold on to your butts.

          1. I’d rather hold on to somebody else’s butt, thank you very much.

            (Not yours.)

      2. Function keys are for n00bz.

        1. I’ll change your joke to another joke again if you keep this up.

          1. if you keep this up

            Seek medical attention for erections lasting longer than four hours.

            1. I tried to quit pleasuring myself, cold turkey. White knuckle sobriety.

              1. White knuckles? You may be gripping too tight.

      3. The pressure used to depress the ctrl key is a symbol of the force used to control AM links.

      1. “It’s a UNIX system! I know this!”

  3. fOe WAS RIGHT, WHERE ARE MORNING LINKS?

    1. Balderdash, FoE is known to be perennially wrong.

    2. We’re being hunted.

    3. ENB sleeping in?

      1. Where’s the goat?

        1. Also in the woodchipper

    4. The links were fed into a wood chipper.

      1. Are we sure Mourning Lynx weren’t taken out back?

  4. the last of them released 14 years ago

    Seriously??? Fuck me.

      1. Life finds a way.

        1. Apparently in order to keep pandas from extincting themselves, life invented humans.

  5. an aqua show

    This bothered me from day one. They get dinosaur DNA from mosquito. So are we to believe that a mosquito landed on a Mesosaurus and drank its blood? What is this, some kind of magic, aquatic mosquito?

    1. Naw, this time around they borrowed the time machine from that other Chrichton book and got the DNA directly.

    2. Well, on the tour, the film said they used frog DNA to fill in the gene sequence gaps. They mutated the dinosaur genetic code and blended it with that of a frog’s. Now, some West African frogs have been known to spontaneously change sex from male to female in a single sex environment. Malcolm was right. Look…

    3. Monsantosaurus!!!

      1. Damn, I wish they had named the new one that.

      2. did anyone else notice the not-so-subtle hair-brained anti-GMO hysteria bleeding through this movies commercials?

    4. The mosasaurs were an aquatic branch of the monitor lizard family, so it’s not too far-fetched that one could have been reverse-engineered from its modern relatives.

      /five-year-old dino nerd Xeones

  6. Even the Hermit Kingdom is pulling for us.

    Hypocritical braggarts at US Ministry of Justice prosecute Reason, magazine of progressive atheism, for praising Juche idea of Kim Il-Sung.

    http://tinyurl.com/ola96cc

    1. “US Ministry of Justice” for the lulz.

      Progressive atheism? WTF?

      1. “Progressive Atheism” sounds like a degenerative disease of some sort.

        1. Well Progressivism is certainly degenerative.

        2. It is, dude, it is. But say what you will, at least its an ethos…

    2. I think the best part is that they call it the ‘Ministry of Justice.’

    3. “Let this progressive atheist website resound with Song of Big Fish Haul and be permeated with the fragrant smell of fish and other seafoods!

      1. “Let us turn the whole country into a libertarian fairyland by the joint operation of the woodchippers and people!”

    4. For those who don’t know, that’s a parody account run by the guys from Popehat. It’s fooled some major news services before.

      1. I did not know that; that is hilarious.

    5. Warning: one of the replies has a photo of Steve Smith in a bikini.

    6. God dammit, now everyone’s going to associate reason magazine with N. Korea. I can see it now, the phrase “Reason magazine, the radical N. Korean backing magazine…” will start appearing in every media story.

      Thanks a bunch, Norks!

    7. Parody account?

  7. No lynx and now we gotta play off Jurassic Park?

  8. Indominus could be turned to military purposes and made into an excellent weapon

    I smell a sequel!!!

    1. The military applications are endless.

  9. Sir, I would like to register my disappointment at the lack of AM Links. [cuffs nearest orphan]

  10. Safety Not Guaranteed was a fun movie.

    1. Agreed.

      1. Until the ending shat away everything the movie established in favor of a cop-out ending that was as preposterous as it was cheap.

  11. Who the hell re-opened that park, anyways? I mean, did you really think that was going to work out well? Even without Wayne Knight mucking things up.

    Wait, that’s why there are no mourning lynx. Uh uh uh, we didn’t say the magic word! PLEASE, REASON, WE NEED OUR LYNX. We promise nobody will be sent into a woodchipper!

    1. It’s over boys. The Lynx had a good run.

    2. Fist may have been right. There is a very good chance links have been taken away due to our hubris and inability to listen to directions.

      It’s like a Greek tragedy.

    3. Who the hell re-opened that park, anyways? I mean, did you really think that was going to work out well?

      It would be ridiculously easy to make the park work well. Step 1 is not to rely on electricity on an island prone to hurricanes. Step 2 is…well, that’s pretty much it.

      Of course, IRL most animals aren’t homicidal psychopaths.

      1. But T.Rex is a hunter. He doesn’t want to be fed.

  12. Maybe the A.M. links got subpoenaed by the Southern District of New York, or thrown into a wood chipper or something.

  13. I can’t sit on this link any longer it is just to good. Via Buzzfeed: A civil rights leader in Eastern Washington state has been passing herself off as black for years, her parents told local media.

    Larry Dolezal told BuzzFeed News he could not fully explain why his daughter might have wanted to pose as a black woman.
    But, he added: “She has over the past 20 years assimilated herself into the African American community through her various advocacy and social justice work, and so that may be part of the answer.”
    He went on to say that Rachel cut off all communication with him and her mother, and “doesn’t want us visible in the Spokane area in her circle because we’re Caucasian.”
    To her colleagues in Spokane, however, she identified a different man as her father.

    I don’t know if this is real, but even if it’s not it is the greatest thing I have ever read. It’s clear Pulitzer material.

    1. Dammit. I had that one ready on my Daily Fails.

      1. I have a problem with pulling the trigger to early if you know what I mean.

        1. I’ve got a few lynx queued up, but I know that the second I post them on this thread the Lynx will magically appear.

      2. You could try this one, although I’d presume it was posted in yesterday’s AM Links for which I was not here:

        In Melbourne, a 17 year old’s failed get-rich-quick scheme that cost his elite private school classmates thousands, could yet result in criminal charges.

      3. It’s like Chappelle’s blind racist sketch in REVERSE!!!

        1. So in the end her husband divorces her because….she’s NOT A ni…nagger?

    2. Why should anybody question how this woman identifies? She’s presenting as African-American, shouldn’t we respect that?

      1. I identify as Napoleon. I expect everyone to respect that.

      2. Exactly. If a biological man can identify as a woman, why can’t a biological Caucasian identify as black?

        1. Or a werewolf or a unicorn, or even a sentient German speaking woodchipper!

        2. I think she needs to get a negroplasty, first

          1. Since biological men can identify as women, with or without surgery, and we have to respect their choice, then no, she doesn’t need a negropasty before you have to respect her choice to self identify as black. CHECK YOUR PRIVELEGE, YOU WHITE CIS-HETERO SHITLORD!!!!!

    3. Speaking of things I don’t know are real, this was found on twitter in response to that “controversy”. I don’t know if it’s real or a troll. Either way, it’s hilarious.

      1. It’s fun to see SJWs shrieking about being satirized.

      2. Real or troll? Seems like a troll but who knows.

    4. Would, but sadly can’t.

    5. “I hate you for making me white!”

      /runs away from home.

    6. But, he added: “She has over the past 20 years assimilated herself into the African American community through her various advocacy and social justice work, and so that may be part of the answer.”

      A few years ago, an old buddy of mine and his wife nearly got divorced because she thought she might be gay. Leaving aside the absurdity of such a notion (you either know you like chicks rather than dicks or vice versa, not this milquetoast “well maybe I am” BS), it was speculated at the time that it was because, as humanities academics, they ran in radical circles, and the wife started adjusting her sexual preferences in order to better fit in with the social mores of their in-group.

      They ended up staying together when she ultimately decided she wasn’t gay, FWIW.

  14. Aye, post and you may be indicted. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our mourning lynx, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

  15. “If you’ll permit me a spoiler here: Indominus rex gets loose. Soon Owen and Claire and the two boys are running for their lives, which of course is what the movie is really about.”

    Just pick up the phone and call the U.S. military.

    Send in an A-10 warthog and it blasts the rex from the air with 30mm depleted uranium rounds from it’s gatling gun cannon.

    Problem solved without any need for a lot of running around.

  16. he’s a standard-issue hunkosaur, which is too bad, because his interactions with Howard are entirely sparkless.

    A lot of that can be pinned on Howard, a legacy actress who in her films embodies the odd contradiction of being quite attractive yet possessing zero screen charisma. Pretty much every scene she’s in ends up grinding to a halt because she doesn’t really seem to understand how to properly interact with the other characters.

  17. The blithe lack of concern on the part of Jurassic World executives about the inadvisability of creating a new species of monster lizard is part of the movie’s rote anti-corporate stance…

    Uhg, of course it has an anti-corporate message (brought to you by a huge corporation). I think that’s pretty much a pre-requisite for any movie. Because apparently a lot of movie goers enjoy being preached at by lefty douchenozzles instead of entertained.

  18. OT: I am an unabashed lurker. Can someone explain this wood chipper deal?

    1. It has to do with this. Also, earlier in the week Nick Gillespie made a post asking the commentariat not to discuss it, which went over about as well you’d expect asking a bunch of surly libertarians not to talk about something.

      1. Noted, thank you.

        Also, wow. That’s quite the shitstorm.

      2. YOU MUSTN’T MENTION THE WAR.

  19. “If you’ll permit me a spoiler here: Indominus rex gets loose.”

    I LOLLed. Next you’ll be telling me that Claire and Owen have a romantic moment.

    “Can someone explain this wood chipper deal?”

    We’re not allowed to discuss it.

  20. My best friend’s step-mother makes $85 hourly on the computer . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her pay check was $17089 just working on the computer for a few hours. see it here
    LINK HERE?????? http://www.BuzzReport20.com

  21. “you’ll permit me a spoiler here: Indominus rex gets loose.”

    WHY did you do that, I thought this was the dino version of Free Willy.

  22. “I know if I were 12-years-old, I wouldn’t care at all.”

    Why the unnecessary hyphens, Kurt? WHY THE HYPHENS?

    1. Added by a mysterious someone else. Am at his/her/its mercy…

  23. Here’s what I want to know. (SPOILER)

    What did poor Katie McGrath do to earn her character such a mean-spirited, unearned Rasputinian death scene?

  24. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netcash5.com

  25. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.netcash5.com

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