Film Review – Jurassic World, 2015

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This review reportedly contains spoilers.

I struggled long and hard with whether I would give this a 2-star or a 3-star review. At the end of the day, the 3-star rating I’m giving it comes down to the simple fact that it is inoffensively bland.

It’s actually very difficult to describe the experience of watching this movie. Because it’s generally a fun experience, but it’s simultaneously a vacuous, hollow one. There’s not a single frame of this movie that makes me care even one tiniest bit about any of the characters. And without strong characters, this is little more than an amusement park ride itself. And yet – I was never bored, and I was generally enjoying myself as I watched it. So I’m left with this weird, 3-star rating that I feel like I have to give this movie. A) Because I can’t rightfully recommend anyone against seeing this, and B) Because I did have a good time with it even though I genuinely think this is a bad movie.

I actually wish it had gone one way or the other – this middle of the road bland is way worse than so bad it’s crazy and weird and fun in it’s disastrous way. I’d rather be really hating this or really loving this than having nothing to say other than essentially an elongated yawn. I think the best indication of the quality of this movie is that I saw this in a packed theater, with people of all races and ages. And I swear I’m not exaggerating when I say no one laughed once, no one gasped once, there were no excited cheers or claps or jumps. Everyone was silent and still, including the young children that I’m certain are supposed to be thrilled by this. This movie was mostly just a thing that happened. We might as well have all taken a group nap.

The reason I put the spoiler tag on this review is because I wanted to touch on one scene that I found particularly problematic. In general, their attempt at giving this movie a strong female character as its lead is pretty hackneyed and lazy. We’re supposed to believe she’s got an inner strength that is not apparent even to her when the movie starts, as illustrated by the multiple men that exclaim “And you’re in heels!?” upon seeing her take any agency over a situation. But the film ends up undermining its own attempts at treating her fairly and just as capable as the male lead in service of a dumb joke: Her nephews that are at the center of the story don’t meet the male lead until the 3rd act when they see him getting beat up and nearly eaten by a winged dino. They then witness their aunt save his life by putting a series of bullets into the dinosaur. Literally seconds later they are all in a car together and the kids exclaim “Thank god you found us! You saved us!” and when their aunt tries to say “You’re welcome,” the kids respond “We didn’t mean you! We meant him!” indicating the male lead. They have seen that man do literally NOTHING other than almost die. They have no reason to treat him that way except that he’s a man. And so help me god if you try to tell me this is the exact commentary the movie is trying to make I will beat you with one of the heroine’s heels that she never should’ve been wearing in the first place if she were the woman that the film wants us to believe that she is.

One more point about the movie’s quality – it’s so bland I wasn’t even able to remember a single character’s name for this review. It’s less than 24 hours later and I cannot remember anyone’s name. But I could tell you all about Dr. Grant, Ian Malcolm, John Hammond, and even Dr. Ellie Sattler.

But hey, you get to see a bunch of digital dinosaurs beat each other up. It’s not like there are video games and independent short filmmakers out there giving us this kind of stuff all the time. There was definitely a need in the market for this. Speaking of – there are I think two scenes with practical dinosaur’s in this and they look great. Everything else looks fake and out of place. If they had included just a few shots of practical dinosaur’s in each and every sequence with dinosaur’s, I think I would’ve bought into the digital effects a lot more. But when nearly every sequence with every dino is entirely CGI – it just looks like a big fucking cartoon. Come to think of it, this would probably make a great cartoon.

Jurassic World scores: ★★★ (out of 5)

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