Sunday, June 14, 2015

Movie Review: Jurassic World

The first trailer for this movie gave me goose bumps.  I can still remember seeing the first movie almost twenty years ago.  I remember being more terrified of the Raptors than the T-Rex.  I also remember having nightmares of Raptors coming after me.  I don’t remember being that little when seeing it, more so when I subtract twenty years from my current age, then I might seem like a scaredy cat, but it was the first scary type movie I’d really seen.  If you haven’t seen the original Jurassic Park, do take the time to see that before seeing this.  The subsequent entries did play a very small part of this movie, but it was mostly Jurassic World paying homage to Jurassic Park.

If you haven’t seen the trailer for some strange reason, the movie basically starts with the park having been open for some time and bringing in customers for years.  The place is packed and as two kids embark on a vacation with their aunt (Bryce Dallas Howard), she pawns them off on her assistant so she can do her best to sell the park’s next greatest attraction, a genetically engineered dinosaur.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Dr. Wu (from the first film), had returned, aged, but was still in charge of the genetics at Jurassic World (no longer Park after what happened in the first movie, I presume).  Unsurprisingly, the genetically engineered dinosaur surprises everyone and manages to elude any captivity and get into the park, despite the hero, Chris Pratt’s Owen.  Without giving away the rather obvious happy ending and obvious deaths, the movie is a lot of fun.

Today’s culture dictates that a movie of this magnitude is expected to meet certain needs.  Diversity in Hollywood is woefully lacking and other than the aforementioned Dr. Wu, there was only one other minority, Pratt’s sidekick, Barry, who was black.  The hero was a white guy, Pratt, and Howard played the damsel in distress who wore heels throughout the movie, in terrain that definitely required something else (I partially say this from experience after wearing wedges to the Grand Canyon and knowing how uneven the footing can be outdoors.  How Ms. Howard managed to run in heels is beyond me) and she was also white.  In this day and age, why is Howard’s character depicted as being money-hungry and work focused, unable to have a serious relationship with the charming Pratt?  Why is her ambition portrayed so negatively that you’re almost rooting for Pratt to save her because you know she can’t possibly save herself, even though she ultimately does save the day?  Why is Pratt portrayed as the Everyman character who is infallible, perfect in every way and utterly irresistible.  Pair this with the fact that it was two brothers (vs. two sisters or a mix of siblings) as the child focus, I found this bothersome.  I accepted it at face value, but it made me feel like everyone in the movie was white and male save for Howard.  What made Jurassic Park so amazing, and still outpaces this latest movie, is that it had a mix of everything.  Perhaps Crichton wrote the original book this way, but the movie makers would do well to allow some other races and genders be represented.

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