by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Elyse, Carrie, and I all went to see
Andy Dwyer Dinosaur Guy Jurassic World this weekend, and ho, boy, do we have things to say.
What follows is a somewhat spoilery discussion about what we liked, what we didn’t, what there needed to be more of (dinosaurs) and less of (people).
Here’s a basic summary of the plot:
Located off the coast of Costa Rica, the Jurassic World luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs, including the vicious and intelligent Indominus rex. When the massive creature escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the other dinos to run amok. Now, it’s up to a former military man and animal expert (Chris Pratt) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out, prehistoric assault.
And here’s our review.
CarrieS: Dear people of Jurassic World: please stop talking.
Accept your role as kibble. We hate you all anyway.
I enjoyed this film so very much when no humans were speaking. Honestly, that script, and those performances, were so wooden. Just awful. But the dinosaur stuff was deeply satisfying. It’s like an A+ experience and an F- experience in the same movie.
RHG: The raptors were cool. The humans were stupid and all deserved to get eaten. I’m including the director in that count.
That said, I would have KILLED to go on a baby triceratops ride.
Elyse: I was disappointed. I know that’s crazy. I expected insanity–Andy Dwyer dinosaur guy!–but I had soooo many huh? moments. And the end was one big mess.
RHG: Most of my in-universe questions were centered around “Okay, like, y’all tried this 20 years ago. BD Wong, YOU WERE FUCKING THERE and you still thought this shit was a good idea? What the fuck is the MATTER with you?”
Why do you think it would be a good idea for people to kayak past unsecured brontosauruses and stegosauruses? WHY THE FUCK DOESN’T THE GYROSPHERE HAVE AN AUTO-RECALL SO ENTITLED LITTLE SHITS CAN’T DECIDE, “Oh, no, I’m a special fucking snowflake and don’t have to go in when told?” WHY.
I really liked the raptor training, though.
Elyse: How does the park even get insurance?
I hated the subplot with Vincent D’Onorfrio and the using the raptors as weapons so hard. The movie didn’t need it and it was like one extra layer of “REALLY BAD IDEAS”
CarrieS: I also liked the raptor training and the fact that it was so tenuous. It’s OK with me if people in the JP franchise do stupid things, but not when they do stupid things OUT OF CHARACTER. That’s one thing the first movie did well – Hammond was a moron but he was a moron in consistent ways that made sense given who he was and what his dreams were.
Big places like San Diego Zoo are filled with various kinds of animal behaviroists. Given that the new park owner is clearly concerned with the animal’s welfare, even if Claire isn’t, wouldn’t you think the park would be full of Owen-types? Because he seems to be the only one and he only works with raptors. That’s not just stupid, it’s out of character stupid and shit like that makes the whole facade fall apart.
I know some people will say “It doesn’t have to make sense; it’s about CGI dinosaurs” but, like Mulder, I WANT TO BELIEVE and it really wouldn’t be that hard to make me believe.
If they wanted an evil military story they could have gotten one really easily with just a few tweaks – the military story was stupid because OBVIOUSLY THE RAPTORS AREN’T BATTLE-READY. OBVIOUSLY. Military guys may be dumb in their own way just like corporate guys are dumb in their way and mad scientists are dumb in their way, but no military person EVER would say, “I want those raptors in the field right now.” Future, yes… now, no.
On a plus side, the hand waving about why the dinos are inaccurate was really well-done, made sense given the park’s parameters, and covers up for a multitude of sins, so well-played, there.
RHG: The military story could have ended real fast if Owen had said “Okay, go in there and try to control them” and then Vincent would have been eaten and the raptors would have been like “Excellent. What is the next snack.” and that would be that.
There’s an excellent video that totals up the cost of opening and running a place like Jurassic World, BUT does not factor in lawyers, the surely ridiculous insurance costs, the inevitable required bribes, and also the fund that InGen better have set aside for the inevitable wrongful death suits. I’m just saying, that’s a BIG chunk of change.
I have seen other reviews say “This movie lacks the heart of the original” and it does- we’re jaded by dinosaurs in movies, but if you watch the original movie, the effects still totally stand up. Did I cry during the pan of the park? Little bit. But that’s the music, and I love long shot pans of things, even when it does look kinda fake.
Elyse: I think the original Jurassic Park had this awe of “OMG we did this with science!” I’m thinking of the scene where Ellie and Grant look up and see the brontosaurus for the first time.
This movie was more cynical. “Yeah, we did this amazing thing but now everyone has seen it and are expecting something newer and more amazing.”
Can we talk about the mosasaur though? That was my favorite part. I’d watch two hours of a CGI mosasaur eating shit.
CarrieS: I want to say one more thing re humans and then go on to raving about the mosasaurs. In the first movie, the characters are thinly sketched and the morals are anvillicious (few things are clunkier than Sam Neill’s character arc) but I did care about the characters.
I related to their sense of wonder. I loved it that Ellie had no problem shoving her arms into dino poop up to her elbows FOR SCIENCE and while Malcom was skeevy, he was skeevy in a fun way, and Hammond was a moron but he was a poignant moron, etc.
In this movie I HATED EVERYONE except the CEO who wanted to know if the animals were happy and the dude with the messy desk. As a result I didn’t care what happened – it was just spectacle. It was great spectacle, but who gives a shit?
Which brings me too – HOLY SHIT the Mosasaurus was THE BEST.
No matter how many movies say “Don’t go to the dino park” I will totally go to the dino park when we have one someday, god willing. I will attend like the kibble that I am. When I die someday, please tell people I was eaten alive by a mosasaurus, OK? Please?
Elyse: Maybe it was just trying to point out that people who dick around on their phones rather than paying attention to the children they are watching deserve to get eaten?
Dude, I have kids. You couldn’t have kept track of those little shits if you’d had them duct taped to your torso. She was fine; her boss was a jerk and the kids were brats.
RHG: That was Katie fucking McGrath.
I think that leads into the treatment of women in this movie- which is crap. There was no reason for both of those damn kids to be boys, other than the studio/director/screenwriter all thinking “oh, boys are relatable to everyone amiright” and there were only two (no, four) named women in this movie, and all of their conversations are about those fucking bullshit kids. (No. NO to the people who say “Well, the raptors are named, and they’re female, and they communicate!” First, they’re fucking dinosaurs. Second THEY COMMUNICATE ABOUT DUDES. No, not even the damn dinosaurs pass the Bechdel test.) Career-focused, childfree woman is demonized for being an idiot, her assistant (who is planning her wedding) get tortured to death before swallowed alive, and mom gets to cry and not do much else.
Spielberg made the older, more competent kid in the original the girl — which was NOT in the book. He changed that. It’s so small and yet an important change. This movie? Is BULLSHIT.
Elyse: YES! I need to rant about this. This is why I was SO disappointed. I am sick of the trope where the career woman is emotionally distant, can’t have a meaningful personal life, and is inept in all other ways.
Claire’s character was BULLSHIT. I mean, she’s running a complex, world-renowned theme park and she can’t figure out to wear sensible shoes? Fuck that. The woman is not an idiot or unempathic because fucking spoiler alert, women who are unempathic idiots do not have the luxury of being super fucking successful in male-dominated professions.
The whole running around in heels was so dumb and I felt like making her wear all white was another way of saying “This is a woman who is unprepared for the environment around her.”
Basically the only female character I identified with was Blue the velociraptor because 1. She got shit done and 2. She wanted to bone Chris Pratt and don’t tell me she didn’t.
CarrieS: I mean, I get that Claire at least has an arc. She’s the only character besides the big brother who changes, and she becomes pretty badass – but she never gets credit for it, even though the first time the boys see her and Chris Pratt, she’s saving Chris Pratt. They still think he’s the hero, and it’s like that through the whole movie. No matter how much ass she kicks, he’s the alpha.
Plus her whole arc involves abandoning all her responsibilities to run off and personally save her nephews, and thus we we know she’s a better person because she cares about the kids? FUCKING DELEGATE. If my own beloved daughter was lost, I would of course vomit and then I’d delegate a badass person in sensible shoes to find her while I did what I do best (or what I would do best if I was Claire) which is manage the shit out of things. Get people off the island, lock stuff down — that’s what she’s supposed to be good at, so let’s let her be good at it instead of abandoning her post and letting thousands of people get mauled while she works out her emotional issues.
Should we talk about the WORST ROMANCE EVER?
There was no romance. There was smooching. And whoever made Chris Pratt DEVOID OF CHARM should be fed to the raptors. I’m not saying he can’t stretch as an actor but if ever a movie was calling out for GoG style snark, it’s this one.
Elyse: Also, quick note, SHE IS HIS BOSS.
If you are the boss of a dude, who during a crisis situation refuses to listen to you, does what he wants or bosses you around YOU FIRE HIM ON THE SPOT AND HAVE SECURITY ESCORT HIM OUT.
RHG: Security was a TINY bit busy during that situation. I’m just saying.
Those kids deserved to be eaten. They were stupid.
I liked that Claire was the one who figured out the method for bring the t-rex into the fight, though I do question that she’d be able to run faster than Rexie in those shoes. That said, Rexie is pretty elderly for a t-rex, so….
What did you guys think of all the damn callbacks to the first movie?
Elyse: I liked when they went into the old facility which had been eaten alive by the jungle. But it made me nostalgic for the first movie, which was better than this movie so….
CarrieS: I felt the same, Elyse. It made me want to go home and watch the first movie again.
BTW, parents, my 11 year old was totally unfazed by the carnage. There is a lot of carnage, so mileage will vary. We were both very disappointed that more of the movie didn’t consist of Chris Pratt and his Velociraptor Biker Gang riding through the jungle. If you want to know a kid’s perspective, she gives it an A, but says it would be an A+ with more biker gang.
RHG: There was a pack of 6 and 7 year olds in my screening, and they were upset.
I get kind of frustrated when parents ask me “Is this movie okay for my kid?” You know your kid! I don’t! If you have questions, please go see the movie first and make a decision.
(Yes, I know that’s me saying “Fork out an extra $12-20 bucks” but still. I really can’t answer that question for kids I don’t know.)
Oh, and for anyone asking “does the dog die?” There’s no dog involved but…
Elyse: the first movie was actually more gory. There was violence in this but it was fairly bloodless. Remember when the severed arm fell on Ellie in the original?
Also was I the only one who thought there was some sexual tension between Pratt and Blue? More than with Claire anyway.
I need to stop reading Dino erotica for the site.
CarrieS: YES IT’S JUST YOU.
Although Claire and Owen had no sexual tension AT ALL. ZERO. Were they asleep? Were they also CGI?
RHG: YES YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO THOUGHT THAT
You know what would have made this movie about 30 times better? A One-Armed Samuel L. Jackson emerging from the jungle yelling “GET THESE MOTHER FUCKING DINOSAURS OFF MY MOTHERFUCKING ISLAND.”
CarrieS: Yeah, I kept waiting for that moment to happen, but it never did (weeps)
Technically the first person to die was a person of color but they didn’t all die, and two of them had a conversation that wasn’t about white people, so that was cool.
But after Sense8 blew open the doors of representation (it’s a hot mess, that series, but it Represents like a boss) and MMFR transformed the way women can be in action movies, I’m just not willing to settle, you know? Like a year ago I would have said, “Hey, you know what, even though it sucks that Claire doesn’t get the credit she deserves, she is the one who saves the day! FREQUENTLY! She saves Chris Pratt from being killed by a Pterodon! She smashes raptors with a van! She does that thing at the end that I don’t want to spoil! I will salvage some dignity from this!”
But now I’m kind of over salvaging any dignity and I just want a movie to stop treating women and minorities like literal and figurative chew toys.
CarrieS: I can’t handle any violence towards children (when the kids in JP are trapped in the jeep I get so upset I cry, even now, yes, it’s pretend, SHUT UP). But when the kids in this movie were in the gyro and getting tossed around like a ball I laughed my fucking head off.
Elyse: I’m giving it an F+ for crazysauce but sexism
RHG: It’s not good enough for an F+. I’d say a D+ because the raptors were awesome and there was clicker training and the mosasaurus was neat but it had no soul.
Oh, and some of the tricks the poor, psychotic I. rex had up its sleeve. (Seriously, you put an animal by itself with no socialization, it’ll go psychotic. Zoos know this, that’s why they train the animals and give them enrichment activities.)
CarrieS: I don’t want to be a big hypocrite here, because truly whenever the dinos did stuff I had a blast. There were some things that happened near the end where the whole theater clapped and cheered and I was right there with them, having a blast. But that only lasted as long as I actually had giant dinos in front of my eyeballs. With nothing but a whole lot of misogyny to hold it together it left a terrible aftertaste. So I’d say some of the immediate experience was an A but overall it was a D.