*Features Plot Discussion*
“Just like a stroll through the woods… 65 million years ago.”
In such blockbusters, I try to take the franchise out of the equation. However, Jurassic World won’t let me do that. The film is overwhelmingly interconnected to its history. It is a film living in the shadow of its past; one failing to bring enough new to stand on its own two feet. It isn’t just travelling through the same gates that made me feel like we’d all been here before.
Early on, Jurassic World is littered with throwbacks to the original trilogy. From a book that looks suspiciously like it harbours Jeff Goldblum’s image to Jake Johnson’s classic Park tee, these nods are initially charming. As these throwbacks start to engulf the storyline, it all becomes a little too much. Running with the dinosaurs is repeated and accepted, but as the story literally revisits Jurassic Park, the charm soon wears thin. The film often feels like it’s straining between telling a new storyline, retelling the past and including the wealth of obnoxious product placement on screen.
As the Jurassic World strains to do everything, it fails to tell a good story. The emotion is weak and fragmented and plot developments seem either reused or ridiculous. Interactions quickly become inconsequential and the inclusions of past events become all too coincidental. “Have you still got those matches?” For this reason the story feels sloppy. It begins as a survival film, such as Predator, but turns into a Godzilla (2014) remake, relying on dino-on-dino brawls to entertain.
Equally, the film lacks an air of awe. The film comments that normal dinosaurs have become boring to the general public, as they only want bigger, stronger and scarier beasts. This criticism is brought to life by the picture itself, as it incites little fear of the dinosaurs, leaving the film strangely without tension. The big, bad, beast ‘saur is built as a real badass, but ends up only being a T-Rex on steroids, something much like we’ve seen before. The only real element that was visually impressive was the film’s water-borne creature, and its best moment is in the trailer.
However, I feel the film has been branded wrong. Jurassic World is a children’s film trying to be edgy. There is sporadic swearing, infrequent bloody moments and nothing to scare an adult, which culminate in its 12A rating. A 12A will surely bring the biggest crowds, exciting the children and feeling nostalgic to those who’ve loved the first films.
Whilst I, as a (near) adult, thought that the story was poor, the tension was non-existent and was left disappointed by the lack of character development, the 10 year old sitting next to me certainly didn’t feel the same. As the credits flashed on screen, the young boy turned without a moment’s hesitation to his parents and exclaimed “Best film ever!” He’d been on the literal edge of his seat for nearly the entire film and had verbalised his awe to his parents on several occasions.
For this reason, my criticisms of the film don’t hold as much weight here. I may have been left distinctly underwhelmed by the spectacle, but that child was most certainly overwhelmed by it. If you allow Jurassic World the allowances I did not, it’s easy to be very entertained by the film.I can say that I enjoyed seeing it, but I didn’t think it was very good. However, I know someone who did.
★★★ (But my 11 year old brother will most certainly give it a ★★★★★)