Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Esteemed Critic Reviews Jurassic World

Wait, this isn't how they feed Shamu, right?

Ah, dinosaurs. The juvenile Critic was obsessed with the "Terrible-Lizards." In fact, before he discovered French Surrealism, the Critic was considering a career in paleontology. How the wheels of time turn! It seems only yesterday that I was pouring over field manuals and illustrations of theropods and hadrosaurs. But no matter: to the task at hand. Jurassic Park occupies an important place in the Critic's atrophied heart. Spielberg's classic did much to change the public's notion of dinosaurs as slow and dim-witted. It imbedded the name "velociraptor" firmly in pop culture, though the animal depicted more closely resembled the larger deinonychus. Though it committed numerous errors regarding its dinos, the blockbuster did more good than harm, and spawned a franchise that now extends to four films, with this summer's Jurassic World.

The first hour of Jurassic World is fine entertainment. Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire Dearing, depicted as a career woman cliche, fails to keep track of her nephews and a new genetically-engineered dinosaur named "Indominus Rex." Only Chris Pratt's Owen Grady can handle the mess; it should be said now that most characters in this movie are, in the horror tradition, complete morons. We have a cartoonish villain in Vincent D'Onofrio, who spews nonsense about using trained velociraptors as military weapons (I guess he didn't see the first three movies), and who kind of looks like a bloated Micheal Keaton. Claire, despite being the operator of a billion-dollar theme park, knows and feels little for her dinos, preferring to call them "assets." When the big, bad Indominus Rex breaks out, Claire and the park's owner, played by Irrfan Khan as a Richard Branson-type, decide that there's too much money invested in the dino, and that it should be brought down by non-lethal means, despite the presence of twenty-thousand people on the island. Great decision, guys. I hope all the lawsuits for maiming and death by pterosaur put your grandchildren in debt. Of course, everything goes to hell and the Indominus Rex (who looks pretty cool) starts eating people and killing other dinos for sport. It also stumbles upon Claire's lost nephews, continuing the Jurassic Park tradition of children nearly being eaten by carnosaurs.

Past the hour mark, the film takes a big turn toward B-movie territory. Grady's trained velociraptors are recruited to fight the Indominus, which backfires, because I guess everyone forgot how dangerous raptors are in these movies. The final battle, which involves a T. Rex, a velociraptor, the Indominus Rex, and an impossibly large mosasaurus, is beyond ridicule, but it will put a smile upon your face. Jurassic World knows that it's a forced sequel filled with product placements and outdated gender stereotypes. It even acknowledges that its dinosaurs are inaccurate. "We built these creatures to be entertaining. Many would look quite different in real life," says chief scientist Henry Wu, the only character returning from the original film. This is a monster movie, not a sci-fi classic. Though it is damn entertaining.

What do you want to bet that Pratt picked his nose with that thing?

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