Jurassic World Review: Worst. Amusement park. Ever.

Chad White
Likes: Dinosaurs, Revitalized franchises
Dislikes: Broad characters, Shallow stories
Hates: Forced love plots

They're dinosaurs. “Wow” enough.

What if dinosaurs were still alive and well? Not the lizards that are prevalent today but actual, terrorizing dinosaurs. Imagine a world where the Flintstones existed and we lived side by side with Stone Age, building towering reptiles. That would be pretty amazing. We’d have house bred stegosaurus’s that could retrieve the paper and sleep at the foot of our beds. Pterodactyls would swoop down from the skies to kill cats and small children. T-Rexes would learn to play golf and sound a lot like John Goodman. The latest entry in the Jurassic Park series asks that question.  Jurassic World is a return to an old franchise that spawned from a fairly new (at the time) novel. It’s actually the second one in the series not based on a book – right after Jurassic Park III.

Taking place twenty years after the first, Jurassic World follows a new amusement park (dubbed Jurassic World) complete with high tech learning centers, a resort, and up close tours. This is everything the original Jurassic Park (the amusement park) wanted to be but couldn’t. Two brothers (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) go to visit their workaholic aunt (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is trying to open a new attraction with a new genetically modified creature called the Indominus‍  Rex -- a new attraction made to revitalize interest in the park. They’re joined by Chris Pratt’s Owen, a velociraptor trainer; Vincent D’Onofrio’s Vic, head of security; Irrfan Khan’s Simon, Owner of Jurassic World; and B.D. Wong’s Dr. Henry Wu, from the original series. Each character does a wonderful job of portraying the action they intend to do but that’s pretty much it. The brothers are prepubescent and do stupid things like go off track on one of the rides leading to the core storyline of the movie. Before then, however, there’s about forty minutes of set up. Really. Pratt isn’t introduced for about twenty minutes and even then he is treated as secondary until the action needs him. The aforementioned Indominus‍ Rex manages to escape which leads to forced closures of some of the park’s attractions and, eventually, the entire park. Pratt is the only one who can tame it and stop it because of his ability to train velociraptors.

More problems arise as the script tries to introduce several plots on top of the already dull A-story. Older brother Nick Robinson has a girlfriend at home who is supposed to text/call every day that he is gone but that gets dropped almost immediately in favor of him flirting with other girls. But he doesn’t even flirt with them so much as just look in their direction. Why even give him a girlfriend if he doesn’t cheat? It would’ve been easier for him to be a meek teen that is awkward with girls rather than constantly blue balling himself. Then there’s Pratt and Howard’s suddenly forced love connection that comes out of nowhere. Some theme about playing God is introduced. And there are callbacks aplenty.

Jurassic World isn’t all bad though. The Indominus Rex is the exact kind of creature needed in an action movie. Too often, these movies try to outdo themselves with bigger villains. The Indominus Rex isn’t so much bigger as it is more vicious. It’s smarter than the humans as it kills for sport, not to survive. It rages across the island with a penchant to kill anything. This Indominus Rex is pure evil. There are also funnier moments that outweigh the dull story’s elementary parts. And the ensemble cast does well.

Should you watch Jurassic World?

It’s better than the third one. You can’t really place the history of the first movie’s aside. It cannot stand on its own, sadly. The action is great but the characters are lame and the script serves the series rather than introducing something new. The story is shallow and glosses over what seems to be three movies combined into one. In all, Jurassic World feels as bored with dinosaurs as park goers are. However, Jurassic World is entertaining enough to redeem itself for a single viewing and nothing more.

 

Notes

  • It’s nice to see Chris Pratt in a semiserious role.
  • This movie absolutely wastes the talents of Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus, Judy Greer and Andy Buckley. While I’m happy that they were able to land such high level parts, they deserve better.
  • I wouldn’t have known the T.Rex was the same one from the original movie if no one told me. It looks like every other dinosaur in the series.
  • Pterodactyls are so menacing.