Film #159: Jurassic World (2015)

jurassic-world-sb-header-2Director: Colin Trevorrow
Language: English and a tiny bit of French
Length: 124 minutes
Watched on: 30 Aug 2015

I’m fairly sure I saw Jurassic Park as a kid, but I can’t remember many details of the movie now, except for the basic plot. Seeing this movie was quite opportunistic, as it happened to be on just after I finished work and just before I was to go back for a work party. I was also testing what I’d heard – that the local cinema in Tachikawa has a membership scheme, which means I can get cheaper tickets. I don’t intend to pay full price if I can help it! (After all, full price in Japan is ¥1800 – it’s pretty steep…)

Jurassic World follows a very similar plot to the previous movies in the franchise, but in this, they’ve colonised a small island with dinosaurs and made it into a big theme park. Sound familiar? History repeats itself. The story goes that the scientists develop a new dinosaur, which then gets loose. Violence and threat ensue.

There wasn’t a lot original in the movie overall, as the basic plot arc is just the same as the first movie, but with this new dinosaur instead of the T-Rex. Actually, I tell a lie, as the main character, played by Chris Pratt, is a velociraptor trainer, which as far as I know hasn’t been seen before, and the military wants to harness his power over the raptors to make a weapon (spoiler alert: they can’t). He’s buff but bland (I saw a photo of him in a magazine where he’d shaved and he actually looked boring!), but is able to put in a good performance with a good sense of humour. He has no screen chemistry with the leading lady, unfortunately, and the romantic subplot seems tacked-on. A little more focus here would have been nice – keep them platonic and let’s get some more dinosaur scenes instead.

The two kids who the movie follows around the park are slightly lazily written, especially the teenage character, who is a special brand of disinterested that I’ve only seen in movies. I did get a nice insight into life in a world where dinosaurs are alive and real – the older kid sees them as boring, and the younger kid’s obsession takes on a different aspect when he actually has the chance of seeing them in real life. His desire to get to Jurassic World is parallel to kids going to Disney World. This is compounded by the park’s directors wanting to make things by fresh by introducing a new species of dinosaur.

Speaking of which, it’s mentioned a lot that they spliced together the DNA of different dinosaur species, which led to one of my pet peeves of the new dinosaur taking on personality traits and random very specific abilities of different dinosaurs. There may be an element of truth to this, but I’m not convinced. It all seems a little too convenient.

Aside from that, Jurassic World delivered on its expectations – there are enough action setpieces and foreshadowing to make the conclusion exciting, and there are plenty of different kinds of dinosaurs depicted (I noted with a bit of a chuckle that the makers have cornered themselves into not being allowed to depict the dinosaurs with feathers, as they have to follow the other movies in the franchise). For that reason if it was still on in the cinemas I’d recommend going. As it stands I’d recommend watching the other movies in the franchise first – but I also have to reacquaint myself with them! I’ll let you know if I get around to it.

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