Jurassic World

Jurassic World is a fine movie as far as monster movies go. It’d be the second best movie in the franchise if The Lost World hadn’t been directed by Spielberg, a man with more talent even when he’s half-assing a movie than either of the guys who directed part 3 and this one. But that doesn’t mean Jurassic World is a particularly good (or bad) movie.

To start off, the first 20-30 minutes of this movie are deadly. Just one weirdly overly long series of redundant exposition scenes after another. I was kind of floored by how flat and unexciting these sequences were. Most of the characters and their pointless subplots are character and charisma-free… what this movie needs is a little Jeff Goldblum. Hell, this movie needs a little Sam Neil.

Not that Chris Pratt doesn’t do a good job… but he’s pretty much the only interesting character and he’s kind of playing a one-note alpha male guy. Everyone else is either just meat or someone who needs rescued. Or comic relief. Or a saw-it-from-300-years mustache-twirling, sequel-baiting bad guy.

So, yeah, 20 years later, Jurassic World (not Park) has opened and there’s some nice recognition of the events of the earlier film. The park has a problem in that dinosaurs are getting to be old hat and they have to keep hatching new species to keep attendance up… so they genetically engineered a new dino that will sell a lot of tickets. Assuming it doesn’t escape its paddock and start eating everyone. But since they don’t have Jeff Goldblum on set to remind them how bad an idea all this is, nobody thought that far ahead.

It took some time, but eventually the movie starts to crawl out of its own murky blahness and gets kind of exciting. I wish I could say there was more to the movie than a basic monster mash. It does make me feel like a knuckle-dragger by saying, “yeah, it’s dull until the dinosaurs started eating people” but when that’s all the movie has on its mind, despite its efforts to bore with substandard script, then that’s all I can say. It’s a decent monster romp.

So, yeah, I also thought Jurassic Park 3 was just a monster romp too but Part 3 kind of had no ambitions to be more than what it was. Jurassic World seems to think there’s more to it than there is and that’s, I think, where it goes wrong. If it had just focused on what it wanted to be, it’d could have been a stronger flick. But, hey, at least when it’s being a monster movie, it’s a better monster movie than part 3…

I wouldn’t say don’t go see it if you like this franchise or want to see dinosaurs eat people and bite other dinosaurs. Just keep your expectations low and go in knowing it has a dreadful opening act.

Score: 80

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