Jurassic World

Raptor Squad: America Force
"The park is open."

Hello people who were my friends before I wrote this, and welcome back to The Tagline! Today I thought I would stop putting off the inevitable with ridiculous movies about lycanthrope law enforcers from Canada and talk about the recent box office smash Jurassic World, the latest entry into the Jurassic Park franchise and currently hanging out right underneath a billion dollars for worldwide gross. Congrats and party streamers to everyone involved for that, but I think that with Chris Pratt as the lead and some dinosaurs, no one doubted this movie would be profitable. Was it good though? Well depending on who you ask you might get a different answer. I did some looking around after I saw the movie to see what reviewers had thought, and I observed something kind strange that I've seen a few times before, I remember most notably seeing this with Avatar. Jurassic World has a 71% on RT, but a lot of the "fresh" reviews have opening lines like:

"Not the most stimulating S'berg project." "Jurassic World offers one-dimensional characters, misused actors, nonsensical motivations, retrograde gender politics, insipid pseudo-science and a whole lot of fun." "If you limit your expectations for Jurassic World to "more teeth," it will deliver on that promise. If you dare to hope for anything more-relatable characters, narrative coherence-you'll only set yourself up for disappointment." "At its best, it's good enough to take your mind off its worst, which is saying a lot."

Well those sound like really inspiring endorsements to me. Now don't get me wrong, I get it. Not every movie is going to be poetry in motion, and it doesn't have to be. At the same time, sometimes a movie is just not very good, and I think it's okay to say "hey, this movie is kind of shitty, even though there are parts that are okay." I understand that we all love Jurassic Park. I'm going to go so far as to say I liked The Lost World, mostly thanks to its enhanced Goldblum content. All that aside, being a fan of a franchise does not mean you have to defend every shitty movie released under the header. I love Star Wars to an embarassing degree, but let's face it, I'd be lying to myself in an insane way if I tried to tell you Episode III wasn't a steaming pile of bantha poodoo. I feel compelled here too to admit that Jurassic World is a turd of Brontosaurus proportion, and no amount of "good for what it is" talk will convince me that I shouldn't expect more out of this movie.

Super Monkey Ball gone wrong?
I'll start by talking about the things that I thought were neat, because there were certainly aspects which were endearing about the film. I actually think this movie thought of details that were relatively high level, while neglecting the foundation of the movie. It's interesting for example that this movie takes place in continuity with the others, where the original park disaster was covered up for dollar bill reasons (very believable in the world we live in) and the park has adopted relatively stringent safeguards to make itself into a successful attraction. I thought it was kind of cool that they give a nod to the fact that dinosaurs probably didn't look this way, basically saying that all the animals on display are designer babies, made to look cool and like people expect, rather than true to history. I even think that the callbacks to the original were nice touches most of the time, but that's where I start to have problems. See this movie knows that people loved Jurassic Park, and it is not afraid to exploit that fact at every opportunity. What percentage of the movie do you figure is scenes of people trying not to move while a dinosaur (mostly A SINGLE DINOSAUR) slowly lowers its big scary jaws down next to them, and then something violent happens? This happens maybe a half dozen times in the movie and like... okay we get it. T-Rex. Raptors. Slow burn before jump scare. Great. Also help yourself to an incredibly indulgent setup, where the sweeping shot of the island at long range lasts foreverrrrrr until finally cutting to some raptor hangout time.

Sea World is getting pretty metal.
I am going to talk more about the fucking raptors, but I want to save that for last, because it is integral to the fuckfest that is the film's conclusion. Let's talk about the characters first instead. I use characters generously here, because honestly I could not tell you what any of their names were. There was two kids... really emotional mom, icy aunt who will later have her heart thawed by children... Chris Pratt... some guys from Law & Order (a conspiracy between BD Wong and Vincent D'Onofrio, should have known guys come on). Everyone was written as if it was a terrible chore to have actual characters in a movie, and I assume that an intern wrote the script in about ten minutes, because it was terrible. I don't actually find it endearing when some guy in a bungalow hits on his boss in a very blatant way, no matter how sure I am that she'll come around later. It is really pretty weird, and like... this lady is your boss dude. It's okay though, because he is the raptor whisperer, and everyone clearly knows what an awesome badass he is... even though we only get vague snippets about who he is or why he can do all this shit. All you need to know is if you don't listen to him you're definitely getting killed by fucking dinosaurs. The movie could not be LESS subtle about dinosaur related fatalities. Everyone knows Vincent D'Onofrio is getting ganked by a raptor before the movie is over. Chris Pratt knew it, his buddy knew it, the raptors definitely knew it... I felt like even he sort of knew it. Also scene where Chris Pratt and fat security guy go into the cage together I WONDER WHOS COMING OUT OF THIS ONE ALIVE.

The now memed raptor scene.
You know who else doesn't get to live? People who don't love kids apparently. The biggest theme of this movie seemed to be that if you don't love kids more than anything, then you're a fucking asshole and you better change your mind or you're getting chomped by every dinosaur this movie could find. Like the 'bitchy' assistant, who is supposed to literally babysit one sullen, horny teenager, and his spastic little brother. Yeah well if you were the assistant of the director at fucking trillion dollar dinosaur park, you might feel like being kind of a bitch too if you were told to play nanny for the week. I could kind of see where she was coming from, and we only saw her for a total of maybe like five minutes, so I didn't think she especially deserved the squirm-worthy, drawn out death scene, where a flying dinosaur carries her off and throws her down and grabs her again and then they both get eaten by the sea monster. Come on Vincent D'Onofrio's character was a huge asshole who we saw a bunch of, and he basically got an off-screen death. We can assume I guess that while a war-profiteering shitbag, he likes kids okay. Also the most important part of the aunt's character arc was when she realized that she should stay with Chris Pratt's character, presumably to make babies and do family woman stuff, not be some DUMB EXECUTIVE ICK WHO EVEN CARES ABOUT THAT. Thanks for all THAT shit 1950!

This is a job for Bert Macklin: FBI
I could nitpick a little more, and I will, like why is the T-Rex cage conveniently right next to Starbucks? That seems a little out of place given all the other dangerous dinos are on the far side of the island. How come the best containment plan for an escaped dinosaur is "send like 6 guys with non-lethal weapons and hope shit works out"? Did that fucking work in the first movie? These could have justifications alone, but they sort of pile up as the film wears on. Anyone could see this death trap coming if they weren't too busy making women feel threatened in the workplace.

Worst vacation ever.
It's okay though, because there IS one other alternative plan. RELEASE THE RAPTORS. After all, Chris Pratt has demonstrated an extremely tenuous ability to dominate them, so let's set them the fuck free. Now I'll grant that even most of the people in the movie thought this was a dumbass idea BUT THEY DID IT ANYWAY DIDN'T THEY. Basically everything that happened after the raptors were led out was clearly happening only to fit in as much dinosaur fighting as possible before the movie finished, to make up for a distinct dearth of dinos in the front end (don't get me wrong, T-Rex fighting super-dino with raptor backup gets the attention of the kaiju lover in me) THE BIG ONE IS PART RAPTOR, and then the raptors obey it for a while. Then they change their mind, and then Bryce Dallas Howard runs in high heels (as she has been the whole movie) the short distance to the T-Rex/Starbucks, so she can wave her nostalgia flare and lure out the T-Rex. Sure we know this thing can haul, but not faster than a woman can run in high heels after standing in awe for like 30 seconds. I guess. Anything to set up dino super fight. Then once the T-Rex leaves, it basically fist bumps the raptor, and they all just piss off, because why bother eating the tasty frightened humans at that point. It's been a long day after all, though there's still time to fit just a little more terrible dialogue in.

Delicious morsels ala carte!
Now I get it man, you want to like Jurassic World. Dinosaurs are cool. Everyone knows that, and I liked watching dinosaurs chase people, or a T-Rex fight a SUPER T-Rex. I like watching raptors get up to crazy raptor hi-jinks. All of that is true. It doesn't excuse a movie that is generally awful though. A movie that is frequently dumb, poorly written, and filled to the brim with offensive gender crap so blatant that it just can't be ignored. It tries to be clever about things like corporate greed and sponsorship, while in the same breath filling the movie with actual name brand placement, basically punching you in the face with a 3-D Mercedes emblem. In the same season as Fury Road was released you aren't going to tell me that this is the best I can hope for. I know that we could hope for better, and it shouldn't have been that hard. They had all the pieces, and chose to make this. If dinosaurs in a terrible movie is good enough, then I'm not here to shame you or dissuade you, but I'm also not going to say that I thought this was anything but a bad movie, and I won't waffle on the fence and say "this movie was dumb as shit, but its fun because dinosaurs" and then give it a gold star.

I believe that is everything I have to say about the matter, and hope that you either found this post amusing, or can learn to forgive me. Join me again next week, when things get sexy... or not.

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