Jurassic World Spoiler-Free Review

Let me begin by saying I had originally planned on watching the Jurassic Park trilogy before watching this latest installment, and honestly, didn’t even plan on typing up a review.  Then I read the reviews for Jurassic World.  It seemed like almost every review I read insisted on comparing Jurassic World to the original masterpiece, Jurassic Park.  I thought that was unfair.  So I wanted to offer a different perspective and give Jurassic World a fair shake.  I definitely do have nostalgia regarding the original film, but it has been years since I’ve last seen it in full.  Sure, I have a few scenes from it memorized, but the movie isn’t freshly on my mind and wasn’t while I was watching Jurassic World.

Let’s start with the good.  The moment I saw the attraction that is Jurassic World, I felt like I was part of something really special.  The island looked stunning, and the more of it they showed, the more I wished it was real and I could go.  I can’t remember a movie setting more engrossing in recent memory than that of Jurassic World.  The entire island felt alive and not too far-fetched, as it made great use of technology that made me think, “Okay, I could see that happening.”

The score played a huge role in the movie and added to the captivation of the island.  It added to that feeling of being a part of something special, and helped me feel like I was there.

Going into the movie I was quite uncertain about Chris Pratt in a serious role, as I thought the trailers portrayed him.  I’m glad to say that his character wasn’t as serious as I thought it would be, as he managed to work his charm into a few scenes.  He made a really great main character, and was easy to get behind and root for.

That flows perfectly into the not so good of the movie.

Bryce Dallas Howard.  Along with my uncertainties with Chris Pratt, I felt the same thing with Bryce Dallas Howard.  Where Pratt knocked the ball out of the park, Howard was in the wrong stadium altogether.  She felt out of place the entire movie, and judging from her delivery, sounded like it as well.  I can’t place the entire blame on her though, as her character, Claire Dearing, was the pits.  She was the antithesis of Pratt’s Owen Grady.  The first scene she’s featured in, she comes off as unlikable, and she never rebounded from that for me.  As a main character she felt hollow and questionable, with way too many “why?” moments.

Howard wasn’t the only one to be plagued by a poor character, as I found nearly every character in the movie to be unlikable.  The only tolerable characters were Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Barry (Omar Sy), and Lowery (Jake Johnson).  The latter two being scarcely used throughout the film, mostly as vessels for vague exposition and comic relief, respectively.  I know a movie is supposed to have “bad guys,” but in Jurassic World, it was never made clear.  While I was watching it I thought, “Okay so there’s the bad guy, wait no that’s the bad guy. Oh, here’s the bad guy.”  The antagonist debacle was very poorly slopped together and I wish they would have scrapped it in favor of relying on the dinosaurs as foils. On top of that, when there is finally a clear antagonist, his motive and origin is a mystery, and not a good one.  The character was not properly explained or justified, and it left me saying “yeah, okay, I guess.”

The movie featured so many generic tropes that brought it down.  The young child who just so happened to be incredibly intelligent.  The older teenage brother with a devil-may-care attitude.  The mad scientist who did his own thing.  The greedy, selfish mogul who only cared about making a buck.

Then there are parts that are just silly.  Bryce Dallas Howard manages to make it through the entire movie, running from gigantic dinosaurs while wearing a skirt and high heels.  It wouldn’t bug me so much, but at one point, Owen Grady mentioned her trekking through the woods in high heels, only for it to be ignored completely.

This sort of incoherency continued as the film went on, but I’ll avoid explaining it for risk of spoilers.

The amount of product placement rivals any Michael Bay movie I have seen, and may have shown up more than dinosaurs actually did in the film.

Generic tropes, head-scratching and horrendous characters withstanding, I feel like Jurassic World should be experienced at least once.  So long as you turn off your brain and try to enjoy it for what it is, a summer popcorn flick.  A let-down at that, especially when placed during a fantastic summer that has given us Age of Ultron and Mad Max, but if you’re itching for a big dumb movie to take you on a ride, it will get the job done.

★★½

+ Chris Pratt’s wonderful performance.

+ The unforgettable and riveting setting.

Nearly every character in the movie.

The need for an antagonist that is not 50 feet.

Generic blandness and fallacies that should not occur.

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