People who saw “Jurassic Park” during it’s original theatrical run get that it changed things.
Sure, we’d seen CG on the big screen before, and some of it even bordered on impressive, but “Jurassic Park” proved the days of stop-motion animation were behind us. We as audiences could now demand movies with photorealistic creatures, moving and behaving like living things while interacting with practical elements seamlessly. We walked into “Jurassic Park” thinking “this will be a fun dinosaur movie,” and we walked out knowing our summer blockbusters would never, ever be the same.
We can discuss whether this was ultimately a good or bad thing for Hollywood. But the point is, if you were there in that theater for the first Jurassic experience, then no matter how good a follow-up chapter might be, it will never live up to the wonderment that was “Jurassic Park.”
I bring this up, and we’ll discuss it in more detail I’m sure on this week’s podcast, because John and I had very different opinions walking out of “Jurassic World.” I’ll go ahead and link to his KSL review as soon as it’s up, but until then I’m going to go ahead and project here — I suspect audiences and critics will split down the middle on chapter four of the Jurassic franchise.
People hoping “World” lives up to the original will almost definitely be disappointed. If however, you’re like me and all you want from “World” is something better than the giant poop plops that were parts two and three, well good news, you’ll have a great time.
Let’s do a little M.C. Hammer here and break it down:
Both Bryce Dallas Howard and Christ Pratt do a better job than they’re going to get credit for.
It’s easy to give a memorable performance when David O. Russell writes your screenplay or when Ethan and Joel Coen are feeding you lines, but the actors who really deserve a high five are the Raul Julias delivering drivel from a “Street Fighter” script. “Jurassic World’s” writing is definitely not Street-Fighter bad, but it’s bad enough that actors need to compensate for it, and both Pratt and Howard show up to sell some pretty awful dialogue.
Also, kudos to both Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson. All three previous Jurassic stories have suffered from the casting of their young players. “World” deserves praise for introducing young characters audiences don’t want to actually see get eaten by raptors, and for this series, that’s pretty high praise.
I know we kind of just laid into the writers in the last section, but where they failed in human interaction, they made up for in developing a fun story.
No excuses here — “Jurassic World” is great summer entertainment. There are plenty of surprises for audiences, the raptor sub-plot balances out the big scary dinosaur force, and the reveal of Howard standing with a road-flare will be remembered as one of the best moments of the series.
“World” also gets major credit for a constant and engaging pace, which manages to move the story forward while continually introducing new reasons for people to run from dinosaurs. You will not check your watch during the 130 minutes that is “Jurassic World.”
You’ll probably want more detail here than I’m willing to offer since it’s almost impossible to bring up examples on this subject without ruining the movie. So let’s just wrap this up with the promise that “Jurassic World” delivers on dinosaurs without feeling gratuitous. The mixture of new and classic animals works here, and the relationship shift with a few fan-favorites gives the franchise new life for future installments.
Also, for pterodactyl fans who feel insulted by the treatment of the winged predators in part three, the flying killers receive some redemption here in “Jurassic World.”
This is that movie where you tell your friends to turn their brains off and have a good time at the movies. If you’re expecting the magic from part 1, you’ll feel all sad and empty at the closing credits. But, if you’re hoping for engaging action, a bit of nostalgia and a summer plot that rises above what we’ve seen so far in 2015, “Jurassic World” is a solid choice. In fact, of the popcorn flicks we’ve had to choose from so far, it’s probably king of the hill. I say this as a recommendation for the film, and also with broken heart for what was supposed to be an amazing summer. The season’s still young though, right? Fellow flix junkies? We still… we still have some hope in us for “MI5?”