Jurassic World (2015)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 67%
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Ranked #172
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Connections: Jurassic Park

Twenty-two years after the original Jurassic Park failed, the new park, also known as Jurassic World, is open for business. After years of studying genetics, the scientists on the park genetically engineer a new breed of dinosaur, the Indominus Rex. When everything goes horribly wrong, will our heroes make it off the island? --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: November 14, 2015
A fourth Jurassic Park film has been in development hell for decades now. While I was under the impression the plan was completely shelved when Michael Crichton passed, I should have known better, and twenty-two years after the monumental first film was released, we have Jurassic World.

Before we get into things, let me just say that this movie seems to ignore the events of Lost World and Jurassic Park III and serves as a sequel to solely the first movie. Anyway, despite the disastrous events during Jurassic Park's inspection, the park has opened to the public as Jurassic World. Shortly before he passed, Hammond signed the park over to Simon Masrani. While the park is by all means a tremendous success, the paying public has begun to get jaded to a zoo full of living dinosaurs, and he's turned to engineering to bring another boon to the park. Led by Dr. Wu, the genetics team has genetically engineered a new asset, a brand new dinosaur. Starting with a T-rex and adding some other choice genomes, they've created a super predator, called an indominus rex, sure to spike those profit margins. Less than a month before the exhibit is set to open, and they're having some doubts with the creature. It's incredibly hostile and has caused a bit more damage to its confinement then they're comfortable with. In order to ensure the paddock's viability, he sends his operating manager, Claire Dearing, to have Owen Grady inspect it. A retired Navy officer, Owen has been working with a team of raptors, establishing himself as the alpha of the pack. However, he immediately notices that the indominus is a completely different animal. Raised completely in isolation, it's socially maladjusted, hyper-aggressive and most terrifying of all, missing. As Owen and a few guards investigate some claw marks on the wall of the paddock, Claire hightails it back to Control where she learns that the beast's tracking implant is reporting it's inside the confinement right where it belongs. Sure enough, it's learned to hide itself from the thermal cameras and escapes into the park. With this super predator on the loose, Claire and Owen set off to find her nephews who are enjoying the sights, and Masrani puts a plan together to stop the indominus before he gets to the twenty thousand tourist on the other end of the island.

Simply put, this is one of those movies that throws the action at you fast and heavy and refuses to let up. This was hardly a surprise going in, what with commercials promising a squad of raptors allying themselves with a motorcycle-riding Pratt and a brand new dinosaur to wreak havoc, and I was already turning my brain off as I settled into my seat. It wasn't the most intellectual film, but I'd be a liar if I told you I didn't have a huge smile on my face watching this beast go claw to claw with ankylosaurs, SWAT teams and the obligatory final battle with that raptor unit. It's amazing how entertaining two hours of dinosaurs fighting with each other can be. With all that said, I do have to say that I'm disappointed there wasn't more attacks on the populated area of the park. After all, the fact that the park was up, running and chock full of meaty morsels was a big part of the advertising, and while all the dino action that took place in the isolated wooded areas of the island was certainly a fun time, I can't help but feel a much better route was handedly ignored. The sheer chaos of thousands of people having to deal with a marauding indominus would have gone a huge way towards cementing Jurassic World's place in the franchise and shifting its tone a bit more away from a cheesy monster romp.

Yes, as much fun as I had with this movie, there's no denying that it's chock full of plot holes so big a T-rex could walk through. They range from the silly (Claire spends the whole movie running through the woods in high hills) to bad decisions (why do they enter the paddock before checking the tracking implant?) to just lazy plot devices (it's gonna take two kids more than a half hour to restore a jeep that's been sitting for over two decades). Now, admittedly, had this been a stand alone movie the collateral damage of these plot holes wouldn't have been nearly so problematic, but if you're going to make a sequel to a film like Jurassic Park, action-oriented cheese just isn't going to cover that up. That is a classic film, and at some point you have to at least try and measure up to its standards. Also, the entire laundry list of the indominus' abilities is extremely contrived. There's a lot of "well, we used this creature so it has this ability." It just seemed like a very cheap way to make a super monster. Again, in an original franchise I'd be OK with it, but not in Jurassic Park. Hell, they didn't even use most of these traits to their full potential. For example, they explain they used a cuttlefish for whatever reason, and as an unforeseen side effect, the creature can camouflage. It uses it once. At that point, why even bother?

I'll tell you, between this and Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Platt's popularity has exploded, and I couldn't be happier. The man has charisma for days and I can't wait to see his future projects. It's a good thing too, as he had to cover for his costar. Claire's a pretty flat character, so it's the writer's fault more than Bryce Dallas Howard, and she did have a few shining moments, but they definitely have to step up their game if she's going to go on to become a franchise character. Vincent D'Onofrio is always fun as a pseudo-villainous asshole, and finally, the two kids weren't that bad either. They're actually a bigger part of the film than my synopsis up above would imply, and Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson held up their ends extremely well. Especially Simpkins; he handled the autistic Gray without crossing that overacting line. Pretty impressive for someone his age.

The first time I saw the trailer, I knew right away it was going to be an action-packed dinosaur movie that would provide a lot of entertainment if you don't mind ignoring some glaring logic problems. Well, that's exactly what we have here. As Jurassic World I'm going with a 7.5, but as (the replacement) Jurassic Park 2 that score is much, much lower. Not to mention, I'm still annoyed that they changed the rex's iconic roar. There's absolutely no need for that.
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