Jurassic World: why big dinos (and Chris Pratt) aren’t enough?
I had the privilege to grow up in a world where Jurassic Park always existed. The first one came out the year I was born, and the trilogy ended when I was eight (just in time to be replaced by another milestone, Harry Potter). Like almost every 90’s kid, I was obsessed by it: I had dinosaurs’ action figures, I went to exhibitions about dinosaurs, and bought loads of illustrated books on the subject. The last time I saw Jurassic Park I was in my teens and I never rewatched the sequels, so I can say this saga is part of a childhood I put aside.
Maybe that’s the reason why I wasn’t thrilled about Jurassic World right from the start. It’s not that I feared that my childhood would be ruined (which is a rather stupid thing to say, to be honest), it was just the feeling that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I would if I were a child. However, keeping my expectations at the lowest has paid off well in the past, making me enjoy movies I thought I would despise, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
Let’s just say it: Jurassic World is not a good movie. The plot is dull and badly developed, the characters are stereotypical and sketchy, most of the dialogue is irritating — apart from some mildly funny punchlines — and the ending leaves you dry of emotions and drenched in bitterness.
Flaws in scriptwriting could have been otherwise ignored if director Colin Trevorrow had used well the two strongest elements of the movie: dinosaurs and Chris Pratt. Instead, we see the good intention of creating a complex and coherent behavioural structure among dinosaurs conflicting with the urge to shock the audience with scenes that would have been entertaining if we hadn’t already seen bigger monsters and even bigger catastrophes in every single action movie released in the past twenty years. The only jumpscare I got was during the interval, when a kid tripped over and fell next to me while climbing the stairs. And what about Pratt? He plays the most uninteresting, flawless hero in a shiny motorcycle, and I wondered if he was actually playing Andy Dwyer’s alter ego in Parks and Recreation — Burt Macklin, FBI — the whole time.
There’s also a controversial, cringe-worthy subtext in the movie, and it involves Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, an uptight businesswoman devoted to her job who ultimately discovers the sacred value of family, with Owen’s final line signifying the supremacy of procreation over career. Yes, she runs for miles in her high heels without complaining and she saves the hero (and everybody else) multiple times but — considering her final development — the “70’s era sexism” Joss Whedon complained about stays painfully true.
If we consider this theme along with the recurring one of eugenics, we can see how Michael Crichton’s original pessimist sci-fi has been reduced to a big, trivial, moralistic sermon covered by attractive leads, annoying children, and with more product placement than dinosaurs.
But kids will love it, so who cares.