Jurassic World

raptorsI saw Jurassic World this weekend. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t a fan.

Obvious spoiler warning is obvious.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to tell you how the science is wrong, or how the raptors should have had feathers. There’s plenty of paleontologists who can do that much better, and really, that wasn’t my biggest issue with the movie.

My biggest issue was that it was boring, uncreative, and in some parts blatantly offensive. Let me explain:

The Boring

Humans think they know what they’re doing with genetic engineering. Nature has different ideas, escapes, eats humans. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s the plot of Deep Blue Sea.

I wasn’t expecting the plot to be revolutionary, but I was hoping that there would be some kind of plot twist? They sort of tried with the velociraptors, and their changing loyalties, but in the middle of the apparently 17 plots they were trying to run through at the same time, that really ended up getting lost in the generic “humans play god, do it badly” plot of the whole movie.

Because of the manymany plots – family drama, love story, action adventure, science in action commentary, military sleazebags, nature always prevails, and look, people get eaten by dinosaurs! – none of them were fleshed out to the point where I cared. My biggest emotional reaction was when one of the raptors was killed by Indominus Rex (let’s call her I-Rex), the giant dinosaur, and even that was more of a “sure, go ahead and kill the puppy” thing than actual emotional investment.

In the end, the whole movie is basically about lovingly slo-mo panning shots of Chris Pratt’s arms and butt, and about some CGI dinosaurs. Thanks, but no thanks.

The Uncreative

Seriously, if I printed out the top 20 bad TV tropes of all time, I think this movie would have checked all of them.

Only main female character is the uptight single lady in charge who really, deep down, just wants to be loved? Check.
Mighty white hunter dude is the only one who truly understands the wild animals? Check.
Funny black sidekick? Check.
Sleazy military dude? Check.
Torture porn involving a woman? Check.
Not-at-all-phallic rifle? Check.
Parents in the middle of a divorce who reconcile over the almost-death of their children? Check.
Two characters who start out hating each other fall in love and run away together? Check.

Also, I have to devote an actual paragraph to Claire Dearing’s shoes. Seriously. During the entire movie – trudging through mud, driving ambulances, running from a fucking T-Rex: heels. And not Black Widow-style wedge boots. Stiletto pumps. That never ever come off her feet.

Now, some people have said that the heels are meant to be ironic, and the fact that we’re talking about them is a good commentary on just how ridiculous the requirement for heels is in general. But in truth, all I could think every time I noticed the shoes was “in heels, as well!” Thanks, Eddie Izzard.

The Blatantly Offensive

The “mighty white hunter” thing? Not kidding. The funny black sidekick? Also not kidding. It’s… ridiculously obviously terrible.

The movie is, for lack of a better term, a sausage fest as well. There are, I believe, four women with speaking roles, most of whom are treated terribly as characters. One’s the career woman who just needs a man’s love to break out of her shell, one’s the busy career assistant who gets horribly murdered by dinosaurs (no seriously, that death scene is like two minutes long), one’s the mom who shows up in about three scenes total and mostly cries about her kids, and one’s the nerdy computer geek who may well be the most competent woman in the movie. Like, would it have killed you to make one of the Asset Containment soldiers a woman? (Ok, there may have been one woman, who was shown for about one second before getting eaten by I-Rex. I can’t remember for certain, and I’m sure as hell not going to see the movie again to check.)

I don’t actually have a problem with both of the kids being boys – it works, and we had a useful sister in the original movie. Of course, the fact that teenage boy was literally staring at girls for the entire first half of the movie didn’t help his characterization… I know he’s hormonal, but seriously? “They’re dinosaurs. Wow enough.”

Well, apparently not.

Recommendation: Meh. See it cheap, or wait for it to hit Netflix.

4 Comments

  1. wow you really do read a lot into a movie instead of just enjoying it but here’s my problem with your criticism. First of all, It rocked the box charts for about a month so far and I do believe is still going. That says a lot for a film. Second, you can never really out do dinosaurs, ever. Third, it is a Jurassic film that goes along with the other three Jurassic films and in those, I do believe that the raptors didn’t have feathers in them as well so they are keeping to the story line of the one’s before it. As in the other Jurassic movies before this one, there was family drama. This is just common in movies of any kind, kind of like a must. I enjoyed and thought it was pretty clever to have a genetically altered dinosaur who no one knew about.

    • Just because it made loads of money doesn’t mean it was a good movie. McDonald’s makes billions, but that doesn’t mean they serve actual food.

      And yes, I do think a lot about the movies I watch. Doesn’t have to mean I don’t enjoy them. Just means I think about the media I consume, and would like it to be better than “standard Hollywood fare.” This could have been a great movie, as evidenced by how much I loved the first Jurassic Park, but it was lazily done, and it showed.

  2. This is a great review! I had a lot of similar thoughts on the movie. The link to the dramatic death was interesting, I never really thought about death in cinematic terms like that. My biggest complaint with the movie was the terrible awful no good very bad character development. There was none. Random divorce? Jerky teenager because he’s a jerk? Like, nobody cares. I didn’t care about any of those people as people.

    Except Chris Pratt just because I don’t think his t-shirts could’ve been any tighter, and I can respect that. :)

    And the heels! Those were ridiculous.

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