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The Park is Open! Is it Worth the Admission?

Well, it was better than Jurassic Park III! I think that at least was something we were all hoping to get out of this movie.
                Jurassic World is the third sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece Jurassic Park, and the first in thirteen years. Somehow despite the events of any of the other films, Jurassic World is open and has been for over a decade. But people have apparently gotten bored with dinosaurs so park owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) has authorized the creation of the genetically modified Indominus Rex. But would you know it, it breaks loose and starts terrorizing people, causing a manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) to bring in velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) along to rescue her nephews who are stranded in the park. There are some nice call-outs to the first film (including an appearance by Dr. Henry Wu), but there are also some parallels which go a little too far: main kids being relatives of a management figure, wonder over an ailing herbivore, etc. There are times when anyone who’s seen the first film will be able to predict the story beats, which keeps the film from being really suspenseful. There are some scary moments, but they lose tension fast once you realize how a scene is going to play out. You know which characters are safe and which ones are the redshirts.
                Many of the actors especially Howard are playing stock characters for most of Jurassic World’s runtime. She and Pratt’s character do develop as the film goes on, but they are saddled with an unnecessary romance. And there’s one supporting character who from their very first scene, you know exactly what will happen to them. It’s unfortunate the characters are so uninteresting considering people seem to forget the characters in the original film were one of its best merits. And since the first film, we’ve wanted to know what an open park would look like, and it’s nice for a while, but I think I preferred it closed. While there is something exciting in seeing hundreds of people fleeing dinosaurs, the fact that we have no investment in them makes it less effective when they’re picked off.
                And these effects aren’t helped by the special effects. Where the first film became a revolutionary technological achievement in its melding of practical and state-of-the-art CGI which still holds up better than many films since, this film relies mostly on CGI which is pretty good, but at times looks a little too much like a generic monster movie. The aquatic dinosaur is very fake and the raptors still don’t look as convincing as they did in that famous kitchen scene. But despite all this I will say a few things; it’s a great introductory blockbuster for director Colin Trevorrow, it’s somewhat fun and well-paced, and it has a fantastic climax that everyone wanted! At the showing I was at, there were cheers!
And to those cheering, they were satisfied. Some would say that this is just a great popcorn flick, but I feel a Jurassic Park film should be more than that, which may be why the sequels haven’t been that great. It should be a cinematic experience and storytelling marvel, and while Jurassic World came the closest not having the plot and structural incoherence of the second film or the sheer lack of effort of the third, it still doesn’t quite hit the mark.


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