Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow, 2015)
You know precisely what you’re going to get.
You have the big sexy project that some people are wary about.
You have the ambivalent capitalist who may cut corners.
You have the amoral scientist.
You have the maverick expert.
You have the jeopardy parcel.
You have the people you want gotted, gotted.
You have the bloody obvious sequel hook (which they’ll probably ignore).
So, these kids’ parents are getting divorced for reasons that aren’t readily apparent and so whilst ma and pa lawyer up, dinosaur-obsessive (he’ll have to grow up) and emo-boy (he’ll have to lighten up) are sent to Jurassic World, run by Aunty Spinster who never seems to answer her phone (she needs to learn about motherhood).
Jurassic World, a sequel to Jurassic Park — yanno where so many people died — needs a new dinosaur to beef up visitor numbers and be bigger, faster, louder and better than the last one — yanno just like sequels in movie franchises. Meta. You remember the merchandising room in Jurassic Park (1993)? Just like that kind of meta. And comic-relief technician/geek Lowery Cruthers (Jake Johnson) wears a Jurassic Park/Jurassic Park t-shirt. (He’s also told to take it off, because what kind of crazy tattooed scientist dude would wear an offensive shirt when there might be press around).
So, to get the bigger, faster etc dino they call in the fiendish Dr Wu (srsly) to miss up the DNA of Indominus rex, a name daft enough that at least the characters have the grace to laugh at. Rather late in the day, they’ve wondered if the walls surrounding it are high enough, although What Could Possibly Go Wrong? They’ve called in maverick expert (Chris Pratt — you know he’ll be a maverick because he lives in a trailer/cabin and tinkers with motorbikes) who warns them Things Could Go Wrong and we think Of Course They Can, Otherwise There’s No Movie.
It’s not clear whether he’s employed on another part of the island by the same company or he’s employed elsewhere or quite what we’re meant to think of his West African friend Barry (Omar Sy). The film’s not big on backgrounds.
So stuff goes wrong and they start closing down the park, only the Jeopardy Kids are still out there, at precisely the point where Rex is hovering. Small world. Big Jeopardy. They also get to find the original Jurassic Park and — well, I kept thinking, this world is smaller, faster, louder, worse, because the geography seems rather tight. I suspect we have a cut scene, too, as Emo asks Baby if he still has those matches even though we haven’t already seen them.
Oh there’s some neat stuff with velociraptors and a few jokes with feet being bird feet not dino feet and the T Rex is saved … but the final stand off is a rabbit out of a hat. Aunt Spinster is very odd — robot eyes at start (business woman out of depth?), awkward at doing the Unresolved Sexual Tension, does a weird transform into action heroine thing without ditching the high heels, does — for once — grab the bloody gun. Aside from all the dinosaurs (presumably) she’s pretty well the only woman in the film — there’s tearful techy girl and divorcing ma, but that’s about it. Oh, no, I forgot, there’s her clueless PA.
There’s something going on too about not being quite qualified to drive though — John Hammond substitute Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) hasn’t quite learned to fly his helicopter, Emo boy hasn’t quite passed his driving test? If we’re being meta, we might consider we have a tentpole movie (which Legendary Pictures clearly need after their recent box office duds Seventh Son and Blackhat) being directed by someone who has only been low budget before. I suspect, however, all the real work is done in special effects and second units.
And I haven’t even gotten to say WTF about evil military guy Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who figures the dinosaurs have military value, just like the Company in the Alien franchise. Let’s take off and nuke them from orbit.
ETA: this is pretty sharp on the attitude of the film to women: