Last night I watched "Jurassic World" (my town library’s DVD collection is how I see most blockbusters) and found it to be a steaming pile of genetically altered dino poo. I’ll review whatever I can remember, which hopefully is not much. This movie was executive produced by Steven Spielberg, which partially explains the bloated budget, mediocre soundtrack, and cuddly dinosaurs. There were a few meanie dinosaurs (well one, the main bad girl), but most of the dinosaurs in "Jurassic World" are so sweet, cute, and unphased by humans that small children fed them by hand in a Jurassic petting zoo. I can’t remember the director’s name, and, hopefully, I won’t remember the cinematic mess he made for much longer.
The movie stars Chris Pratt (better known as Starlord from Guardians of the Galaxy) as velociraptor whisperer/manly man, Owen. I was impressed by Pratt’s ability to emote so tenderly at blue screens and hand puppets (the baseline for the CGI, which makes up 95% of the movie). I believed he really was breathing in the sweet smell of partially digested cowhide from a little raptor’s beak. The leading (and only) female part in this movie, Claire (a sexy assistant or something), was played Bryce Dallas Howard. Her main job was to run through a lush tropical jungle wearing a $2,000 designer skirt/blouse combo and 5-inch spike heels. Chased by a fifty-foot killer dinosaur through mud, bramble, and swampland, Claire manages to keep her Jimmy Chus on. (I watched part of the “behind the scenes” featurette and saw she actually ran barefoot, then for some reason high heels were CGIed in).
I’m going to throw down a little plot summary here, but only enough to point out the meteorite crater sized holes. Two utterly forgettable teenage brothers are sent to Jurassic World theme park (located on some ambiguous tropical island) so they won’t be home when their parents sign the divorce papers. The brothers (I can’t remember their names or anything about them, except that they looked nothing alike and one had a New York accent—the other, not at all) are Claire’s nephews, so they get VIP access to the theme park, along with a stiff British nanny lady who clearly won’t live through the movie. Any bitchy, overweight, or nonessential character is at high risk of being chewed alive and happily burped up, but more on that in a bit.
Right, plot summary…the boys ditch the nanny and cruise the theme park while Claire deals with corporate "drama". To increase ticket sales, the theme park’s board decided to make a newer, badder dinosaur—a hybrid—with DNA from T-rexes, raptors, and a bunch of other secret ingredients. After a series of stupid human communications failures, the female hybrid horror story breaks free from her cage and begins a rampage that lasts for an hour and a half (in other words, the entire movie except for five minutes tacked on at the end, as the survivors stand around pulling stray entrails out of their hair).
Owen has been at Jurassic World training a group of lovable raptors that don’t mind being caged, muzzled, or bossed around one bit. Claire recruits him to find her MIA nephews, who disregarded a park-wide announcement to come back to basecamp—they’re rolling around in a hamster ball, having a broment. When she calls them on their phone, poor reception causes the call to fail; this same lady gave a boring talk just minutes before on how much their new, higher tech park had learned from the failures of the cursed earlier Jurassic Park (where the biggest flaw was bad communications). Did you guess Owen and Claire have some latent sexual tension that only builds as they push further into the jungle, pressing their sweaty limbs together to survive? Correct. Oh, and other dinosaurs escape their cages as mama hybrid dino crashes her way towards the Main Street, USA of Jurassic World, where thousands of cranky, unsuspecting tourists are waiting to become pterosaur chow.
I’m going to lay off the plot summary before my brain implodes from the tedium. A few other bland characters crash around the plot, leaving a trail of bad dialogue and pit stains behind. One extra flabby character (think he’s a military contractor) gets both his arms chewed off by a raptor, but even had he survived the escaped dinosaurs he would have stroked out walking to his hotel room—this guy was out of breath after waddling down three stairs. Random extras are chewed up and spat out by raging dinosaurs; if I knew whom any of these people were, I might have felt something.
The CGI was the only reason to see "Jurassic World". The dinosaurs were convincing in scale, movement, and expression, and the landscapes were pretty. This movie owes a lot to monster movies past: "Godzilla", "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", "King Kong". Certain shots seemed to come right out of those films, actually. The musical score was bland and overworked. Costumes? Nothing much. Makeup and hair was just fake blood and a misting bottle.
The story ended without closing any plotlines. Stunned and bandaged extras huddle together on a tarmac as the surviving main characters embrace. Are these extra characters (all tourists, some park staff) mourning lost family members, their intestines now strung like garland in the palms? Is Jurassic World bankrupt, closed down, and ruled by its spunky prehistoric inmates? All this, and much more, is left unanswered. But Claire still has her unscuffed five-inch high heels on (though she strategically shed most of her designer outfit in otherwise boring scenes), so some sort of continuity was maintained. I’ll give "Jurassic World" one star, out of respect for the CGI artists. May the memory of this movie sink into the fossil record of my subconscious, never to be unearthed.