Yes, Jurassic World is a scaly, CGI-filled dino-romp with more action than you can shake a prehistoric stick at, but it lacks those moments from Jurassic Park that struck fear into everyone watching. Steven Spielberg was still on board but it felt like he’d left director Colin Trevorrow to play with his cinematic leftovers rather than given him any real guidance in the art of film making. There was no subtlety, finesse or class, just big, brash and briefly mawkish moments. I wasn’t expecting it to win the Palm d’Or – it’s a summer blockbuster – but I was expecting more from this movie franchise behemoth. Here’s why it’s an overinflated cinematic monster feeding off its predecessor …
Warning: Slightly spoilery, but there’s dinosaurs and death, so really – how much can you spoil?
Spielberg Does It Better
Less is more. This we know and so does Steven Spielberg. The sinister floating yellow barrels in Jaws, the rippling glass of water in Jurassic Park – they both created a sense of approaching menace without needing to fill screen time with a big plastic shark or CGI’osaur. Clever work Spielberg, and thanks for the nightmares btw, but you could have clued in Trevorrow. His near constant dinofest on screen leaves little to the imagination and left me pining for the classic scenes from Jurassic Park that filled me with terror. There were nods to the old film (herds of dinosaurs stampeding through open pasture) but it doesn’t even come close in terms of the cinematic gold that was Jurassic Park.
Cinema joints are missing a revenue stream with this movie. As well as peddling us hugely expensive sugary mince they could have let us play Jurassic World branding bingo. See if you can spot any of the following when you watch the film: Verizon, Samsung, Jeep, Mercedes, Starbucks, Coca Cola, Ben & Jerry’s, Beats by Dre, Hilton, Margaritaville and Triumph (motorcycles, not bras). I don’t remember any of the branding in Jurassic Park. That’s not to say it wasn’t there, it just didn’t demand my attention in almost every frame. The branding for Margaritaville is so strong in this film that a fleeing man actually saves his cocktails rather than say, his children or perhaps more realistically, his iPhone.
Bonus points and a cuddly dinosaur to anyone that spots the cheeky dig at Pepsi wedged in the script, presumably demanded by Coca Cola.
High heel it out of there lady …
Apparently women can sprint, Usain Bolt style, in high heels. Yeah, I’m all too aware that this film is a work of fiction, but really? Quite how ‘Aunt Claire’ (Bryce Dallas Howard) managed to even break in to a slight trot in her non-sensible shoes is a mystery, never mind smash the 100m world record. But as you’ll see from the next paragraph, mystical forces may have been at work. Jurassic Park’s near misses and on foot fleeing felt ‘real’, well, as real as fleeing a massive T-Rex can ever feel.
Either Triumph has created a hover-motorcycle or Ron Weasley was hiding in Jurassic World’s bushes messing about with his wand. During the hunting scene Chris Pratt effortlessly steers his Triumph through the dense jungle and never once ends up in a ditch or horribly mangled in a tree stump. Magic? It has to be. Following his adopted scaly cuddly lizard children into the deep undergrowth, they miraculously stay on a very motorcycle friendly path. Imagine the odds. I’d do the math, but I’m not American and this isn’t Reddit.
Speaking of cuddly dinosaurs … You guys! How cute and adorable are raptors? *fawning face* Yes, that’s right, Trevorrow has managed to strip the raptors of their maleficence and replace it with loyalty, bonding and a deep love for their adoptive, and slightly stubbly, mother.
Remember that iconic scene in Jurassic Park where the raptor steams up the kitchen window with its scaly nostril before casually opening the door? Terrifying. Trevorrow’s raptors adore Chris Pratt so much they are basically willing to die for him. Sacrificial lambykins are not what I signed up for.
Spielberg’s raptors actually left me with an irrational bird phobia. Birds, dinosaur descendents … yadda yadda. Anyway, that’s next level shit right there. These raptors made wonder what would happen if I perhaps formed too strong a bond with a robin. Would it kamikaze a nearby badger to protect me from TB? Probably. I live in the countryside, it could happen.
Jurassic World’s raptors kick ass, but giving them door opening skills was far more thrilling than making them needy yet loving, emotionally intelligent lizards.
If I’d wanted to see a film about wrinkly creatures with questionable levels of emotional intelligence I would have rented Sex and the City. Hopefully Jurassic World’s inevitable sequel will see the raptors back to their former glory and not sharing a Cosmopolitan with Sarah Jessica Parker while discussing a particularly bad case of thrush.
Overall verdict: Go if you love incredible CGI and dinosaurs. Avoid if ridiculous hair cuts on small children and cheesy lines fill you with abject horror.