Other Media Review

Movie Review: Jurassic World

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?

Show Spoiler
Which – that scene with the assistant was horrible – really sadistic and ugly. Were we supposed to hate her? Is there a scene on the cutting room floor that establishes that she’s scum? Because she did not deserve that and it kind of seemed like we were supposed to think it was cool?  I dunno. It felt different from the other deaths, horrible as they were.

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?

CarrieS: Wut.

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…

click for spoilers
three of the raptors die.

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.

RHG: HOLLA

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.


Jurassic World is in theatres now and you can find tickets (US) at Fandango and Moviefone.

Add Your Comment →

  1. 1
    ClaireC says:

    Elyse, Pratt and Blue TOTALLY had chemistry! There were so many longing glances and meaningful silences. We are not alone either – check out @jerassexworld on Twitter!

  2. 2
    ClaireC says:

    Aaaah! That should be @jurassexworld, duh. Too excited to proofread!

  3. 3

    I don’t entirely disagree with your assessment but… Claire was wearing fairly sensible pumps to work. They weren’t exactly super high heels, and they looked a tad on the Easy Spirit side to me. Granted, the director had her running around in heels and that seemed fairly stupid. But she, the character, didn’t dress for work thinking there’s going to be widespread chaos and she would be running through the jungle. She works in a corporate environment, mostly. And what she wore reflected that, to be fair. And once she was looking for her nephews, would it make sense for her to stop and change shoes (maybe). And then would she have been better off taking her shoes off to run around in grass (probably). But does it make sense to wear four inch heels to walk around a romance conference? No. But you see it all the time. I can overlook the outfit and heels.

  4. 4
    Rebecca says:

    So, if you ever find yourself in Lawrence, Kansas, definitely find the time to get to the KU natural history museum. They have a giant Mosasaur fossil and they have conveniently labeled many of their other fossils ‘mosasaur munchies.’It’s pretty much the best thing ever.

  5. 5
    Danielle says:

    YES TO ALL!
    I was sitting in the movie theatre just wanting it to end. I feel like a slice of my childhood has died – like as a kid I was watching ‘Jurassic Park’ and that scene with the valley of thebrachiosaurus was awe-inspiring, and in ‘Jurassic World’ THEY ALL DIED! Literally.

    Also, how batty was the whole premise of: “dinosaur is out of containment, computer can’t detect it’s heat! So I’ll drive back to head office while you three schmucks go into the giant dinosaur cage and just check everything out and WHILE I AM IN THE CAR, LEAVING Y’ALL TO IT, I will triple-check where the dinosaur is by the tracker.” This would have been a non-movie if Claire had just been standing by the window like “Oh, no heat source detected? Let me just call head office and ask the where the tracker is … oh? She is in the cage still. Huh. Okay. Let’s look into that but PHEW!”

    But of course she was totally inept as a female boss so, yeah.

  6. 6
    Tina C. says:

    I completely agree about the complete lack of chemistry between Owen and Claire. I told my husband that it would have been better if, instead of trying to force a romance between those two characters, they had a much more convincing arc of coworkers who don’t really like or respect each other learning to respect and admire the individual, if completely different, badassness that each brings to the table and end on “really good friends”. Because, seriously, there’s no way that either of those characters, as presented, would have even considered a first date, once either of them opened their mouth, let alone a crisis-spawned romance. And that kiss – that was just painfully awkward to witness and didn’t look like it was much fun for either of them to perform.

  7. 7
    Christine says:

    I agree with a lot of your assessments but I absolutely couldn’t stand Claire from the moment she put money ahead of the welfare of everyone on that island including her two nephews when they discovered what that new dinosaur was capable of and didn’t back Chris Pratt and again when she backed the decision (or didn’t object to- I can’t remember exactly) sending that crew of men out to die with inferior weapons. By that point she was pretty much identical to the villain in “Aliens” in my mind. But I guess because she is female she gets to kiss the hero at the end rather than die in a much deserved chopper crash.

    The shoe business was ridiculous. (I will ignore the fact that she would have lost them in the first bit of mud she trod through or the fact that her feet would have been bleeding and her heels broken off after ten minutes). This is a professional woman essentially running a billion dollar business but she apparently doesn’t need to carry a purse or some kind of bag around (that isn’t sexism talking- have you seen a male professional leave for work without some kind of briefcase, man bag, messenger bag nowadays?) I understand dressing professionally but I don’t leave home without foldable flats or flip flops when I wear heels in case I might need to run into the grocery store but she works on Juraissic Island and doesn’t have a pair of flats? Couldn’t she grab something at the souvenir stand?

  8. 8
    roserita says:

    Thanks for the review! I, for one, will be rooting for a new franchise spin-off: Jurassic Sea Park. More mosasaur, please.

  9. 9
    Meljean says:

    I loved the dinosaurs in this. Loved them. The last scene was sheer fun.

    Almost everything else for me was either “meh” or frustrating (and the part with the assistant pissed me off, too). Except that I enjoyed the ridiculousness fun of the raptors’ relationships with Pratt and Sy’s characters (Also, I was so SO glad they didn’t have the raptors kill Sy when he was stuck in that tree trunk.)

  10. 10
    Anne says:

    I enjoyed it for what it was but what surprised me was that the stuff that worked for me was contrary to my expectations.

    I expected to like the two leads but found them chemistry free and almost complete stereotypes. What I couldn’t understand about Claire was that given her position and her relative youth, I expected her to be the cliched ballbuster, a cold take charge type. I didn’t expect her to be so hesitant or lacking in confidence. The clothing issue could have been fixed with one line from a co-worker, noticing that she was dressed up to meet the new investors.

    What surprised me was how much I enjoyed the relationship between the brothers. I thought they did a good job of showing their disparate characters and how their relationship changed due to what they endured.

    I likely won’t see it again but feel that it definitely needs to be seen in a movie theatre to get your money’s worth of the great effects.

  11. 11
    Marie says:

    If Helen Mirren can swap her shoes out with aplomb and grace before she assassinates someone, there is no excuse for anyone else. In a location such as that shouldn’t Claire have a ‘site visit’ bag handy anyway??

  12. 12
    Beth says:

    Is it cool if I just skip the movie and keep playing my Jurassic World game? I get to be a raptor!

  13. 13
    Heather T says:

    Thank you Carrie for introducing me to “anvilicious.” Your work here is done.

  14. 14
    lindleepw says:

    I was wondering if you guys have watched/are planning to watch “San Andreas”? I went in just expecting a movie where buildings fall down and…well, it’s a movie where building fall down. But I was surprised by the fact that the teenage daughter ended up being a bit of a badass! And the movie acknowledged the fact that she was a badass. Also, seeing it in 3D was worth the extra $$.

  15. 15
    Katherine C. says:

    I actually really enjoyed the film, loved all the nods to the original. It’s definitely, to me, the best of the sequels. I didn’t perceive/have some of the issues others have raised about the sexism, but the running in heels thing did take me out of it a few times. Here’s an interview with the director where he addresses some of the complaints (and the shoes were apparently her idea): http://io9.com/jurassic-world-director-talks-about-that-infamous-runni-1710722223
    My biggest complaints (and it they weren’t deal breakers for me, as I said, I liked it) would be: A) the military subplot. Seriously? It wasn’t necessary and I felt like he was over-the-top smarmy in a really obnoxious way — you got the sense he was being an asshat because he just really liked being an asshat. And as has been mentioned, you have plenty of drama with the dinosaurs; you don’t need a human villain too. And B) Dr. Wu. Clearly he learned nothing from his previous experience. Absolutely nothing. Although that’s sort of in keeping with his character in the original book.
    Anyway

  16. 16

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  17. 17
    Miss Momus says:

    Loved the review! I need to get a pair of Claire’s shoes. They must have tiny invisible walls like the ones in the gyrospheres, because they did not sink as they climbed up that hill to look at the dying brontosaurs! Also, did anyone else find it really weird that while they’re looking for the kids, Chris Pratt comforted the dying dinosaur for several moments instead of shooting it in the head?

  18. 18

    […] up, two things I wrote for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.  First up, RedheadedGirl, Elyse, and I review Jurassic World. Short version – we loved the dinosaurs and we hated everything […]

  19. 19
    Kim says:

    Loved the movie, LOVED the dinosaurs and I agree, the last scene was icing on a delicious cake for me. Didn’t care for Claire, loved Pratt and the raptors. I want the next movie to be more Pratt and Blue and um, no, not in a sexual way. Sheesh. In an age where there is tentacle sex, I guess too many minds go that way but it’s really sad. The bond was not sexual–it was respect. Double sheesh. JW was all I wanted and more in the sequel and I’m going to go see it again this weekend. Rock on dinosaurs! Oh, and yes, the baby dinosaurs! I freaked out when one of those nasty birds (I’ve NEVER liked them) picked up one I was like no!!! Eat the kids!!! 🙂

  20. 20

    Pratt/Blue? OTP? Count me in! Haven’t seen the movie yet, not expecting too much (because srsly–have we not learned our lesson with either dinosaur parks or crazysauce in sequels? Jeez!). Pratt/Blue, I can believe. He’s got natural dino-chemistry! Even in the real world…

  21. 21
    PointyEars42 says:

    I’m pretty sure Blue’s feelings aren’t entirely one-sided. That bit after the big fight when they look at each other… and look at each other some more… and he shakes his head as if to say it can never work … and then she turns away? How did that scene not have “My Heart Will Go On” playing in the background?

  22. 22
    PointyEars42 says:

    This movie really hates working women. Why does no one ask any of the men on the island why they don’t ditch their prestigious & important jobs in the middle of a workday to babysit kids that aren’t even their own? Don’t any of them have brothers who don’t even check if they’re on leave before they dump their kids somewhere so they can deal with their personal drama? Why aren’t the men being judged by their families for not having daily contact & a detailed knowledge of kids that *aren’t even their own* even though they’re half a planet away working 24/7 in a high risk environment. Why aren’t the women on the lower rungs of this company’s hierarchy free to harass their male superiors both personally and professionally without fear of reprisal? I hope the sequel features a corporate male lead judged for not take time out from running for his life to go to his home on the other side of town to slip into something more comfortable. Instead of movies that treat women fairly & equally, maybe we should be looking for movies that treat men as unfairly as women are. Ergh. I adored the raptors but yes, every human involved should have been eaten. Hey, instead of dipping into the planet’s vanishing supply of sharks as mosasaur food….

  23. 23

    […] movie in particular: I liked it far better than I was expecting, actually! I was wary after seeing this review over at the Bitchery, as well as Seanan McGuire’s disappointed commentary. Seanan’s in particular had me […]

  24. 24

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