By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Jurassic World shows that nobody has learned from the mistakes made 22 years ago. After the “initial incident” of dinosaurs gone wild, the species known as Homo sapiens still think of themselves as homo superior. And in this sequel’s case, courting the prehistoric world and continuing to engage genetic engineering are a bad idea. Although John Hammond has long since passed, the people who have taken over (namely Simon Masrani) have finally managed to convert the island of Isla Nublar into a resort that resembles Disney World.
InGen is the corporation who is in charge and their ingenious idea to hybridise dinosaurs in order to create new species is not without scrutiny. Owen (Chris Pratt), a dinosaur wrangler, knows that can lead to trouble. When he has problems of his own in dictating the rules of who is the king, not even the handful of raptors he’s managed to train are above rebelling.
The early hominids from long ago that walked with the dinosaurs must be rolling in their graves by now. Most of them were hiding in trees instead of trying to interact with them. Maybe that explains the instinctual need to take flight when the behemoths feel the need to prey upon other species. These monsters are not attacking because of self-preservation. They are just looking to exercise their might.
In what’s amusing about this movie is the fact of who is the most dominant of the species falls upon the female. In order to keep interest in keeping the dinosaur theme park alive, operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is hard at work convincing new investors into buying shares of Jurassic World while neglecting her visiting nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray Mitchell (Ty Simpkins). Hardly any explanation of why they are close (Claire seems too engrossed in her work to even consider starting her own family) occurs until chaos erupts. She starts out looking like a strong feminist character but that quickly degrades as the film progresses.
While the boys are out enjoying the wild untamed wilderness, a genetically engineered dinosaur, an Indominus rex, manages to outsmart his captors when he decides that this is the best time to prove that he is the alpha male of the island. After being caged for some time, that’s motive enough.
There’s no sympathy for the devil dinosaur who runs rampant. He is an invention to reignite interest in a theme park whose attractions are getting stale. Much like the many real world theme parks around the world like Universal or Disneyland, something new has to be introduced in order to bring people back. Writers Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow certainly got the message across with this monster being symbolic of corporate excess, but the scene stealer has to be with aquatic mosasaurus that, in the trailers, loves to take a bite out of a great white shark. There has to be a reason as to why its the terror from the sea!
Although most of this movie is a cat and mouse game of trying to get audiences to guess at who is the strongest of the species, the tale about keeping hominids together is missed. There’s no meat to that tale. Other than the fact that the two brothers are sent away to visit their aunt Claire and she can not be bothered to bond with them, the side plot about her and Owen does not seem to matter. Even the talents behind the two characters share no real chemistry. They are both attractive people for audiences to see but not for each other.
If only there was more story to explain their past relationship then there might have been more substance to an otherwise atypical film. Much of the narrative are basic tropes established in the previous Jurassic films. Something original must be written if this franchise series is to remain alive. Otherwise, all people are watching is a mindless film that’s more about selling a product than bringing back interest in paleontology. The themes explored is ironically fitting in a franchise that wants to dig its own grave. As fun as this movie is to watch, it barely rises above its predecessors. Just how many more dinosaur chase movies must be made? Some folks are craving Cadillacs and Dinosaurs instead!
3 Stars out of 5