In this era of lazy reboots and sequels, where a movie’s entire purpose is to provide intellectually cheap fan service, “Jurassic World” does not rise above the grotesquely expensive blockbuster noise. If anything, it makes a lot of noise. Not much else but noise, actually, and a whole lot of money shots.
Ultimately, none of the movie’s flaws are unexpected. The previous sequels showed a gradually decreasing interest for believable acting and precise cinematography, which was exacerbated by director Colin Trevorrow’s inattention to the piece’s soul. Bear in mind that Trevorrow has only ever directed one other movie, one without an iota of this franchise’s weight. I am not sure that I can entirely blame Colin, because Steven Spielberg was sitting in a producer’s chair the entire time and somehow managed to give the thumbs up, but someone needs to be blamed.
Avid lovers of cinema know that “Jurassic Park” might have been loved largely for its groundbreaking computer-generated dinosaurs, but it could not have been such a classic without the phenomenal use of everything from lighting techniques to intuitive orchestral themes. “Jurassic Park” is a work of art. “Jurassic World” simply takes the iconic theme song and remixes it with almost none of the original acting talent—barring one guy that is inexplicably incredibly important for the first time—and none of the love that the original production team put into the original movie.
Dinosaurs are treated by the movie’s writers like puppets who treat each other fairly well — until carnivores show up, because those serve no biological function but to kill. Never does a triceratops mind being saddled like a horse or having its children removed from its pack, despite the fact that triceratops were fierce pack animals whose entire survival instinct was to remove all invading species as tightly as a Roman phalanx.
Consider for a moment the notion of putting a saddle on a rhino with a reptile’s brain, and then consider putting your child on this ride and realize how absolutely ridiculous this movie treats its dinosaurs. “Jurassic Park” demanded respect for all of its dinosaurs because dinosaurs are innately terrifying. “Jurassic World” is almost self-conscious then, because it centers on a genetically modified super-dinosaur created by dino-scientists to wow quickly bored children, and then repeatedly proves in its scriptwriting and cinematography to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity.
Michael Crichton wrote convincing characters, and fed the best of the original movie’s lines to Steven Spielberg, but those characters are gone and those lines are largely used up by now. “Jurassic World,” being written with the movies and not the books in mind, is largely an echo of Spielberg—and Johnston, but nobody remembers “Jurassic Park 3” anyway. An echo of Spielberg sounds like action, action, action, and little else.
The band of miscreants running the show include two 2-D feuding brothers who blandly learn to get along and really only exist as avatars for the target demographic. The lead female role was made out to be a powerhouse in trailers, but in movie devolves into the typical useless female persona who must be saved by the Brawny Military Man. Brawny Military Man is funny a few times but is mostly there to compensate the otherwise miffed female audience.
The film seems even more dramatically self-referential in this regard, when Brawny Military Man remarks to Increasingly Token Female Lead that her high heels are ridiculous. Indeed they are, and indestructible too, as they survive miles of running through muddy forest, broken buildings, away from dinosaurs. Her make-up, hair, and clothes, thankfully, are dusted up and lightly tussled. Brawny Military Man just seems to glisten more as the show goes on.
In the end, most loose plot threads are lazily finished by way of deus ex machina and some outrageous dinosaur puppetry, but just enough is left unresolved for some other idiot to throw a bunch of money into a hole and call it Jurassic something.
No spoilers, but it’ll probably be called Jurassic Wars: Chomp, Chomp, Chomp.