June 28, 2015

Jurassic World

Colin Trevorrow, 2015
Basically any boy who grew up in the early nineties saw Jurassic Park. It can easily be considered the millennial generation's Jaws. It's now been 22 years since the original film hit theaters. So Jurassic World is trying to do two things. It's trying to satisfy original generation who grew up with the original, because they are certainly going to the be the ones accompanying the easier-to-please younger generation of kids who already have dinosaur posters on their walls. And who knows, maybe some of these kids have caught the original on cable or figured out how to operate daddy's VHS player. Long shot. I know. Okay, well to be fair it's also on DVD.

One of the immediately pleasant things that you notice with Jurassic World is that it's very self-aware of it's own cultural existence. There are satirical elements at work; displayed by the corporate forces trying to get increased park attendance, clearly poking fun at the whole trying to get movie audiences back in seats to the franchise. It blankets the franchise with a very modern touch. Just like in our own real-life world, the corporate entities are everywhere you turn. There is now a Starbucks in the park. Guys in suits are looking for any possible surface to plaster a logo to create a new revenue stream. Also gone is any of the old school corporate etiquette. We notice quite quickly that the modern day Jurassic Park is a corporate environment where low-totem guys like Lowery (Jake Johnson) can mouth back to their superiors with no real punishment.

Jurassic World ultimately succeeds in what it sets out to accomplish. It revitalizes an old franchise and gets people in seats hoping for some new terrors in questionably secure confinement. There are some eyebrow-raising moments, like when two kids are able to quickly fix a 20 year old Jeep covered in vegetation and get it running in what seems like a few minutes. There are some worn-out themes, like Bryce Dallas Howard's character as the cold corporate woman that we have seen so often in cinema. Because of the attempts to sort of one-up itself in the story and in real-life by creating something new for audiences to see, it actually morphs into more of a monster movie and less of a dinosaur movie. That's okay, because the characters are developed enough that you have some moderate investment in them and you still get some of the classic Jurassic Park touches. If you go into Jurassic World with the right expectations, you will probably walk away from it satisfied enough. It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel, it goes down easy. Especially for someone who was raised on the originals and wants a dose of dino-nostalgia. 

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