Friday, 12 June 2015

Review: Jurassic World

World of Blackout Film Review

Jurassic World (3D) Poster

Jurassic World*1 (3D)
Cert: 12A / 124 mins / Dir. Colin Trevorrow / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

To be fair to the Jurassic Park franchise as a whole, there are really only so many ways you can spin "we may have built a theme park full of murderous carnivores which we've underestimated a tad". Each film is an unashamed variation on that theme, and the fourth entry to the canon is no different.

Thankfully, most of the preachy eye-rolling is contained to the film's first act, as is most of the perfunctory plot-setup, and as soon as Chris Pratt is done scowling at some scratch-marks on a wall, it's carnage-central (y'know, in a sort of agreeable, 12A-friendly sense). In terms of Summer blockbuster action, you'd be hard pressed to ask for anything more, and Jurassic World is an enormous amount of fun, but it's never anything more. The film's main handicap is that it spends so much time trying to recreate the beats of its predecessors (1993's Jurassic Park in particular), that it forgets to really develop any ideas of its own. And it does have some, they just feel as tacked on as the underused 3D post-conversion.

That said, at least director Colin Trevorrow has taken the time between JP retreads to riff heavily on Aliens, too. Luckily that lends the film its only real sense of menace, as there's precious little coming from the dinosaurs. The series has never managed to top the raw danger emanating from the Velociraptors of the original film, and JW sees them pack-bonding with Chris Pratt's dino-tamer, Owen, which anthropomorphises them slightly too much to be any real threat. They're pretty cool, but they're not meant to be cool; they're meant to be fucking terrifying. That mantle is also supposed to be handed to the film's new creation, Indominus Rex, and also misses its mark by some way there, too.

Look, I'm being far too hard on the film, but it's no Jurassic Park. And this wouldn't be a problem if all of Universal's pre-press and trailers hadn't tried so desperately to convince us that it is. The sense of awe, the sense of wonder, the sense of danger… all lost in a frantic bid to up the ante for the 2015 Summer crowd. I can't work out if Park Director Claire's cynically hard-nosed line about needing bigger attractions to maintain visitor numbers is overflowing with self-awareness, or echoing around an empty barrel.

As enjoyable as it is (and it is), Jurassic World really makes me want to watch JP again. And that's not necessarily a compliment…

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
If Summer blockbusters are your thing, yes it is.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
If you're on the fence, probably a rental. But you'll want to see it on the biggest TV in your house.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Not quite.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Not quite.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not really.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Fairly sure I heard one during the pterodactyl-attack, yeah.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Chris Pratt's breakthrough role was of course Peter Quill/Star-Lord in 2013's Guardians Of The Galaxy, a movie which also starred Peter Serafinowicz, who voice Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And it's nice to know that there are enough people on the internet who can't spell the word 'Jurassic' that the first predictive, auto-fill hashtag on Twitter is for #JurasicWorld

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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