Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jurassic World: A Review (Spolier Alert!)

I have so many other things going on in my life right now that I would love to post. But, I went and saw this movie, so I thought, hey, might as well post a movie review!
 
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First and foremost, we saw this movie at the newly remodeled Cinemark Movies 16 in Grand Prairie, with Luxury Loungers. If you haven't been here yet to watch a movie, you are doing yourself a disservice! The chairs are pretty awesome, if they reclined back any farther, though, I'd probably fall asleep. It's not worth taking kids here, because the tickets are a little more expensive (a couple dollars more than regular price). I thought it was worth it for a date night or a fun movie like this.
 
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Now, on to the movie! We saw this movie in 3D and unlike many other movies I've seen in 3D, I thought the effect added to the experience instead of detracted from it. I'm sure it is just as fine in 2D, but I loved how I felt like I was right in the action.
 
Jurassic World is the 4th installment in the Jurassic series. Just a little of the plot: this movie picks up right in sequence of the movies, where we come back to the island years later to find that a Sea World-esque theme park has been built. They speak of John Hammond's vision and speak of it fondly. Of course, despite everything they've seen and all of the chaos that ensued the first three times around, they continue to push the genetic envelope but creating more and more types of dinosaurs. The main character, Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard (who is Ron Howard's daughter, I didn't even realize that until yesterday!) runs the park and fills us in early on that the dinosaurs are no longer keeping the public's interest as just dinosaurs. They are constantly having to think of bigger, better and scarier "assets" (as the dinosaurs are referred) to keep the people coming in. Owen Grady, played by Chris Pratt, is the valociraptor trainer, showing us early on in the movie that he has now somehow learned how to create a relationship with these killing machines and train them with a clicker, much like trainers do with dogs. Eh, it's a movie about dinosaurs, does it really need to be believable in the least bit? I don't think so.
 
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To add a bit more to the plot, Claire (who is also a workaholic) invites her nephews to come visit her at the park (gee, I wonder where this is going??) and has arranged for them to have VIP access and all of the upgrades the park has to offer, but is too busy to spend any time with them. She arranges for her assistant (who meets a very terrible and gruesome end!!) to be their escort while she is off trying to woo Verizon to sponsor an attraction of the new Andrometis Rex, a genetically created and mutated hybrid dinosaur. To this point, the dino has never been outside his confined area and the only other dinosaur he has been around is his sibling, which he promptly ate. Oh, and one more layer to the plot - Vincent D'Onfrio plays Hoskins, a man trying to weaponize the dinosaurs by using them in place of soldiers in wars. Because controlling the dinosaurs has ever been a possibility. Have we learned nothing, people? Apparently not, and Jurassic World wants us to realize that the people in this universe still have not learned anything either.
 
If you go into this movie expecting any more than to be entertained, you are asking for trouble. We are dealing with a far reaching plot, with unbelievable story lines and tons of story lines piled on, at that. So, just check reality at the door of the movie theater. First, the things I loved. Chris Pratt. Oh, Chris Pratt.
 
Chris Pratt Picture
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I've loved Andy Dwyer since the first moment I've laid eyes on him on Parks and Rec and watching him in this movie was no different. He is the one character in this who fights to get the others to look at the dinosaurs as animals, not just dollar figures, there to entertain the masses. He and his training partner Barry (Omar Sky) are the only two people who seem to understand that they are also incredibly dangerous and should be respected as such. His character is, to borrow a line from one of the kids, a "badA&%." He is on a motorcycle riding with the raptors. He is saving the kids. He is saving the heroine. He is funny and rugged. He's the full package in this movie and his presence is very welcomed in onscreen. I also loved how they designed Jurassic World to look. Sponsorships of this movie were heavy handed and obvious - in the courtyard of the park, we see Starbucks, Brookstone, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, we hear Verizon, we see Coca Cola. But it all fit because they weren't shying away from showing that this is what we, as humans, do. Take a trip to Vegas, Disneyworld, Sea World, and you see exactly the same thing - any way to get you there and keep you there spending money, that's what these people are trying to do. And in Jurassic World, they do a great job of it. I love how brazenly oblivious all of these tourists are to the fact that they are in the presence of dinosaurs. They have a dinosaur riding park, much like a pony horse park, for the kids, they have an orb ride that allows you ride through the midst of the running dinosaurs. There was many throw-backs to the original Jurassic Park....the original scene with the Rex in Jurassic Park, where the sheep was there, then gone, is now an observation deck "which may be disturbing to some smaller viewers" and when the Rex eats the sheep, the crowd cheers with delight.
 
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There is a scene with an underwater dinosaur that is like Shamu on steroids, where the crowd watches the huge beast get baited with a great white shark, jump up in the water and eat it, then gets splashed with cheers and laughter. They then go down further to watch the animal swimming underneath the water. We see a comic relief character in this control room named Lowery (played amazingly by Jake Johnson from New Girl) who wears a vintage Jurassic Park t-shirt that he "bought on eBay for $150." He is quickly reminded by Claire, "don't you think that is poor taste?" referring of course, to the massacre of the original cast and tragedy that occurred the fist time around. Stuck in irony and foreshadowing, even our characters who make references to the inevitable, can't seem to see it coming.
 
Everything in this movie is alluding to man's utter disrespect for nature and what they've created. No one is even hiding it or pretending it's not there. Colin Trevorrow, the director, shows us a world of wonder while simultaneously shows just how dangerous it is that all of these people are trapped on an island with no place else to go, should the inevitable happen. They are one disaster away from being eaten - and we get to see that disaster play out, big time. The basic premise to the movie is that this new dinosaur, the Andrometis Rex, is almost ready to be opened as an attraction, but they seem to be having some "technical difficulties." Difficulties that include having to build the walls higher because this dinosaur be crazy and can still get out, the dino tries to break through the unshatterable glass, he eats other siblings and oh, he was created in a lab from many other types of animals. We later learn he can change colors like a chameleon, change his core temperature, he kills for sport and not food, and oh no, he is actually part raptor, only much bigger. Dun, dun, dun....He gets out by using his incredible intelligence and proceeds to wreak havoc on our island.
 
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There were two things that bugged me about this movie. First, Claire starts off the movie wearing a white outfit with heals, to show us she is no paleontologist with boots and khakis (like Laura Dern), she is a business woman. However, as the movie goes on, she never takes those heels off. If I were Bryce Dallas Howard, I'd be like, "You want me to do an action movie IN HEELS? No way baby, I'm out of here." She runs from dinosaurs, through the jungle, on the back of a four wheeler, through the streets of the park, and the heels never break. Her clothes are torn but those shoes are in great shape. What were they, Steve Madden? Cause I am getting me a pair. Secondly, I hated, absolutely hated, Vincent D'Onfrio's character in this movie. I realize I was supposed to, but I hated the way he played it. It looks like our actor has packed on a few and the costume designers didn't try to hide it. In fact, they tried to accentuate it, but giving him a buttoned up shirt that made the buttons looked like there were hanging on for dear life. His accent came and went the whole movie. Maybe that was all planned, but every time he came on the screen, I had to look away because I thought one of his buttons was going to fly off and hit my in the forehead.

Thinking about taking the kids? If they've seen the first one, they can see this one. I don't feel like it's any more gory than the first one and I think the first one was actually scarier, but don't take them unless they've seen something like it before, because a lot more people get eaten in this one than the first one and they show it (spoiler alert! Ha ha)
 
Other than that, this movie was a lot of fun. It was tense, it was scary, it was funny in the right places. If you are expecting the original, you won't get it. We didn't know what to expect back then - I remember sitting in the theater as a teenager being shocked at what I was seeing. This time, I knew what to expect so the awe and wonder was not there like the first time around. But I still loved every minute! See this one in the theater, it's worth it!

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