Movie review: Too many plots swirled into 'Jurassic World'
It’s a sequel to the groundbreaking and still fun-to-watch 1993 film “Jurassic Park.” Yes, there have been two other films in this franchise series, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic Park III,” but the makers of “Jurassic World” – Steven Spielberg is an executive producer – have pretended that those two films don’t exist, that this directly follows the first one, twenty-something years after that one’s disastrous story.
Yet this also feels as much like a remake as it does a sequel. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s certainly an amped-up sequel-remake. Filmmaking technology has made this, in the words of one of the characters discussing the advances in gene splicing to create new dinosaurs, “bigger and better and more thrilling.”
The theme park that was just about to open in the first film is now a major tourist attraction, with exhibits and rides and a pricey gift shop, and something like 20,000 people a day coming to check out the living, breathing animals that were once extinct. They can watch them from the safety of arena seats, ride through the landscape in protective gyrospheres, walk with and touch little ones in petting zoos. But the public is kept away from certain paddocks, where velociraptors are being trained and tamed by ex-Navy man Owen (Chris Pratt), who’s slowly managing to bond with the small, fast, fierce killers, and from areas where, under the direction of marketing experts, new types of dinosaurs are brought in every few years in order to keep people interested in returning. The newest “asset” is called Indominus rex, a combination of cells that’s part T-rex and part ... well, the designers aren’t telling anyone what else went into the mix. But Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who runs the park with cold, tight, efficiency, does note that it’s “bigger than expected.”
What could possibly go wrong? What could happen on an isolated island filled with carnivores, 20,000 tasty tourists, greedy management types, a security force that’s headed by Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who has delusional ideas about using velociraptors to replace soldiers and drones in combat situations around the world (this is the kind of plotting that finds its way into a script written by four people)?
What could go wrong when Indominus rex, who has never seen the outside of her enclosure, has never met a human being, and is only fed giant slabs of beef that are lowered from a crane, figures out how to fake an escape, resulting in cornering some humans who come looking for her?
Well, a lot could, and does, go wrong, far beyond the fact that the whole scenario about Indominus rex makes absolutely no sense.
But little makes sense in this fast-paced amusement park ride of a movie. It’s jammed with side plots, most of which are neither explained enough nor followed through. The two young brothers who have the most peril thrown at them are Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins). They’ve been sent to the island for a vacation so their parents can get their divorce started. It seems that Owen and Claire had a one-night stand sometime in the past and now must work together to save the two lads from big reptiles with sharp teeth. When one specific dinosaur (you know which one) gets “out of containment,” soon to be followed by an escape of a whole flock of pterodactyl-ish things that make the flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz” look like chickadees, Hoskins calls in his special ops force, but they might as well all be wearing red shirts from an old “Star Trek” episode.
There’s much violence and bloodshed, but it all happens at such a fast pace, the horror of it isn’t given a chance to sink in. And the script features the right amount of nerve-settling laughs mixed into it, even as the things that have gone wrong soon get much worse.
The film eventually builds up to a Wrestlemania-like climax of a fight. And if you follow pro wrestling, you know that not only are rules made to be broken but that sometimes, and I’m being metaphorical here, someone is hiding underneath the ring.
Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
Written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly; directed by Colin Trevorrow
With Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins