Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jurassic World

  In this age of prequels, sequels and reboots.... sometimes they get it right. I couldn't be more happy then that Jurassic World is one of those times. I was super excited about this one after the trailers, but tepid word of mouth from friends of mine put me off seeing it for a long-ass while. I really regret not seeing it sooner, and on a much bigger screen. I won't go through the useless exercise of ranking it among the other JP movies, because everyone's opinion of those vary like crazy. Some are fans ONLY of the original, some love the first two, some think they're all great. People have even been seriously divided on this one as well.

  I fall into the category of people that love and adore the original, really like the second one, and more or less tolerate the third one. I personally loved this one. My thoughts are scattered, and there's so much to discuss but I'll keep it relatively brief and as usual totally spoiler free. The movie is a full two hours, but felt really breezy pace-wise to me. It doesn't take long to establish a host of moderately interesting characters that we'll follow throughout the movie. There was some fuss about the movie being sexist, and I guess I kinda get it? I mean, in the original, the female lead was a completely capable and well respected archaeologist. In the second one, the female lead was a head strong and willful paleontologist. Even in the third movie, the female lead was a mom who was willing to brave a dinosaur infested jungle to find her lost son.

  However... in Jurassic World, the female protagonist is a stuffy and profit-minded businesswoman who wears high heels into rough terrain and who's character arc is her realizing she's too uptight. Well great, I mean, it only took a huge freaking catastrophe for you to realize that. That was probably my only gripe about the movie. Nevertheless, the actress, Bryce Dallas Howard, does everything she can with the part and manages to be charming enough to salvage the part. She gets a few moments to finally take charge and be a badass and by god she takes them. Even if her best moment is towards the end of the movie. Chris Pratt plays Owen who for all intents and purposes is a Raptor-tamer. He's one of the only people in the movie with his head on straight.

  He seems to understand that dinosaurs aren't just magic and dollar signs, they're now very real creatures who live and survive and feel. Bryce Dallas Howard's character eventually comes to understand this first hand in one of the movie's best and most surprisingly emotional scenes.  I think the two characters have a fun dynamic if not a bit dated. It feels somewhat out of place in a modern movie, but I get it. It's whatever. I think the whole sexism fuss about this movie was way overblown. It's just weak writing. But where the script occasionally stumbles with characterization, it soars when it comes to tackling the moral and ethical implications of 'mad science'. Specifically, in this case, creating new dinosaur hybrids. "They're dinosaurs. Wow enough." Owen says at one point.

  This lends the movie a very neat meta angle. See, the plot of the movie revolves around this new dinosaur that the scientists at the park have created at the requests of the higher-ups in order to boost attendance and ticket sales. It has to be scarier, and "cooler". So, they got what they asked for... and then some. Isn't that just like modern audiences though? We're lured off our couches by the promise of the latest special effects and scarier, "cooler" monsters. Thankfully we're only going to movie theaters and not theme parks full of genetically modified super-monsters. I don't think the ushers in movie theaters are going to start eating people anytime soon.

  Anyway, if you're like me, you came to this movie to see dinosaurs- and holy crap does Jurassic World deliver. A lot of people gripe about the lack of practical effects when it comes to the dinosaurs, and yeah I understand that, but I also accept what the movie offers up. The CGI is fantastic and doesn't distract from what's going on. I loved it. There's some fantastic action scenes in the movie and a whole host of surprises ready for anyone who thinks trailers still spoil all the best parts. The suspense in the movie was razor sharp and on point. I've seen all the other JP movies so many times that it was a real treat to jump and squirm at all new scares. Even if some of them are somewhat cliche, they're still put on display with care and crafted with skill.

  All in all, the cast is serviceable and grew on me throughout the movie, the pace is steady, the humor is fun if nothing else, and there's some really haunting moments in there. All that coupled with some rollicking action scenes, a really atmospheric music score, striking visuals, and exceptional set pieces, Jurassic World is a can't-miss in my book. The movie was made with a lot of respect and adoration of the original, and it misses the mark sometimes, but it's spot-on more than not. Loved it. Had a blast. In conclusion, all I can really say at this point is... Hang on to your butts.

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