Friday, 26 June 2015

Jurassic World (2015)

Having written last week that I'd not been to the cinema for a while, I was intrigued to read about the record massive box office takings for this movie's release weekend. Surely, despite the 22 year gap since the release of "Jurassic Park" in 1993, there couldn't be that many people who had never seen the original movie or one of the decreasingly effective sequels. Or perhaps like the visitors to the theme park featured in the new film, they were hoping for new and different thrills. Anyhow, I felt that I should investigate the phenomenon and went off to 'park my brains at the door' in my quest for entertainment and enlightenment.

After two hours' watching CGI monsters eating each other and various human chow, my final reaction was that it is a fatally silly movie indeed. The growing sophistication of special effects, can never recapture the feelings of awe inspired by the original movie, when one viewed the revival of extinct species for the first time. More importantly, one definitely misses the skills of creating memorable characters and an intelligent script found in the first film and to a lesser extent the second. The failure of the third movie in the series should have put an end to trying to milk the franchise to extinction, but the success of this new film -- bringing back the extinct from the dead, as it were -- can only perpetuate the search for big bucks. More's the pity.

In its favour there are some clever and vaguely thrilling sequences in the new movie, especially when projected in in-your-face 3D; however much of the time I felt that I was watching a kiddie's playground with toy helicopters trying to show me the vastness of the new enterprise. The closest we come to having a well-developed character is with the likeable (but very lightweight) Chris Pratt playing a backroom trainer who believes he can communicate with his 'pet' raptors. It reminded me a lot of the scientist trying to humanise one of the living dead in the third Romero movie. Pratt's love interest, such as it is, is played by Bryce Dallas Howard the cool-headed park administrator, who is under orders to provide the punters with meaner animals and bigger thrills (just like the would-be movie audience). This leads to the development by geneticist B D Wong (the only surviving cast member from the '93 flick) of a fearsome cross-breed dinosaur, the Indominus Rex. This gigantic new creature is bred to kill, not just for food but for sport. Guess what happens when she easily breaks free from her isolated enclosure?

A major problem is that we are forced to 'live' the proceedings through the eyes of two slightly annoying youngsters, Howard's nephews Jake and Zac. When they appear to be in peril, she enlists Pratt's help to bring them to safety. Her initial contribution to the chase is to rip off her pristine white blouse, but she keeps her high heels firmly in place for the balance of the movie. The only other character that even registers is a now nearly unrecognizable Vincent D'Onofrio playing the park's head of security, who fancies turning the raptors into military weapons. Otherwise the cast of thousands leaves little impression, although it's always nice to see Omar Sy relocated to a Hollywood extravaganza.

I suppose the viewer could sit back and enjoy the creature-feature effects, ignoring the intrusive product placement and the script-holes that you could drive a 1993 jeep through (just like the kids do). However even if it is a better film than "Jurassic Park 3" that doesn't make it a good movie. It's really 'samey, samey' writ large...but it has and will make a ton of greenbacks. Even the ticket prices in Britain for this new 'treat' seem to be a rip-off in comparison with other countries -- and it is the first time we have been charged for the disposable 3-D glasses. Happy days!

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