Saturday, July 4, 2015

Jurassic World: Nostalgia and Insanity

Be warned. Spoilers ahead... 

Dinosaurs... fuck yeah!

Those were my thoughts circa fifteen years ago when I first watched Jurassic Park, though probably not with that exact inner monologue. Even now, the memories are screaming through my mind like a velociraptor and simultaneously bringing me joy and fear. Who doesn't had awe-widened eyes at the sight of a brachiosaurus or feel their pants fill up after the tyrannical roar of a T-rex? Even after twenty years, everyone looks back at this film with that same childlike sense of wonder.

And so I went into the movie with that mentality. Right from the get-go, I could tell Jurassic World was trying to exploit that. Of course the premise of the film is that this is John Hammond's dream come to life. All that he promised is true, with no expense spared. However, the film overdoes its adoration for the original. It is so much of a throwback that the term "throwback" is too light. It's more of a trebuchet straight to 1993. It becomes so heavy-handed, from a park employee wearing a shirt from the original Park to the kids in the film finding the old visitor center and the jeeps. There's also an almost shot-for-shot recreation of the ending scene when Dr Alan Grant and company are encircled by raptors just before the big bad t-rex saves the day.

It almost seems like the writers for these movies are running out of ideas. The characters too are just people we've seen with a minor twist. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is Peter Ludlow from the second film. Both are cold humans who view the dinosaurs not as living creatures, but as assets. The only difference is that Claire's a pretty lady and the subject of Own Grady's (Chris Pratt) affection, which makes you (at least want to) like her. Grady, on the other hand, is an expert who recognizes the creatures are unpredictable and knows science can't keep the beasties totally under control; he's sort of a mix between Grant and Ian Malcolm, with just a pinch of Robert Muldoon thrown in. Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) is just young ethnic Hammond. And then there are the children. Every movie's gotta have kids! We get two kids, a total douche bag and child who will probably grow up to be the next Rain Man. Not only are they supposed to be reflective of Lex and Tim, but then there's some marital strife amongst their parents (why the need to bring it out, I don't know) which brings to mind the Kirby kid from Jurassic Park 3. The only original character is Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) from the first film and he's APPARENTLY forgotten about why safety is important since he for some fucking reason refuses to tell anyone what the Indominus Rex is capable of, kind of making him the moron responsible for all the shenanigans that happen in the movie.

And shenanigans definitely did happen, and I don't entirely mean that in a good way. It's a shit storm. No one seems to be grounded in the reality and circumstances of this world, so their actions are poorly made. I've already mentioned Wu's inability to learn from past mistakes; also Claire shoots a goddamn pterosaur and Owen has to make out with her on the spot when-- news flash-- there are still a shit ton of flying monsters swirling around and snatching people up.

 When I'm watching Jurassic Park, I expect to feel afraid, my fists digging into my news, praying that someone was going to survive. But here, there didn't seem to be any stakes. Everyone just sort floats on by all fine and dandy. It made me want the little nerdy kid to get fucking eaten. I WANTED A CHILD TO DIE! It would be justice for him having stupid lines like "we need more teeth."

And with that utterance, we are given an ending that is equally epic and ridiculous. You know what I'm talking about... dinosaur tag-team battle. HOLY FUCKING SHIT! Motherfucking Indominus Rex can apparently make raptors and rexes her bitches separately, but one rex and one raptor together is just too much. I don't even know if the mosasaurus coming in at the end to finish the job was anticlimactic or if it made it more awesome. I'm waiting for the T-rex and Blue the velociraptor to duke it out, but nope... instead they share a sort of bro nod moment and go their separate ways, like the Journey song. WHAT?! WHAT IS GOING ON JURASSIC WORLD?!

I'm really confused. I just want to know how this world works. The movie genuinely left me with a lot of questions: How long has this park been open that people aren't jazzed about dinos anymore? How cheap are tickets that some goddamn Minnesotans can fly out and be bored looking a T-rex? How does Owen's work in the Navy qualify him to work with raptors? Does he have a paleontology or zoology degree? Why does Masrani HAVE to fly that helicopter? How does an explosion not tear off that dinosaur's leg? Why do these armed forces not bob and weave out of the dinosaurs' way?

I honestly don't know what to do right now. A part of me is really disappointed in this movie, but the other just wants to sit through two hours of awful to see the fight and go "dinosaurs... fuck yeah!"

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