Jurassic Park is a magnum opus in the monster film genre that best use simple, but engaging characters and escalating set pieces to its advantage to become a masterpiece of a blockbuster that offers everything imaginable. It’s sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, took a different direction making the main characters environmentalists that got more people killed than actually saved. The approach resulted in a misfire due to the sheer lack of care of carrying over continuity from it predecessor, and a bad pro nature message delivery due to the heroes action resulting in the same amount of deaths as the Dinosaurs. Need we forget the sheer idiocy of virtually every single character in that film. Jurassic Park 3 bounce back from a misdirection, but still wasn’t the sequel people wanted. Despite some improvements like the addition of muscle movements on the CG Dinosaurs not present in previous films, and a more tightly written story it failed to provide an engaging story being more of a solid popcorn flick variety than the masterpiece the original film was. Jurassic World on the other hand attempts to be a mixture of all the previous films minus the practical effects. The result is ultimately a better refined version of Jurassic Park 3, but a pale shadow of what makes the original significant to film history.
Now the writing is both dumber and smarter than you expect it to be. In a sense the movie is an example “dumbtelligent”; a made up word by me that encompasses the traits of writing of various level found in this film. For example, let’s talk about creating an entirely brand new Dinosaur in the context of the film. The dumb aspects of this is this Dinosaur is also known by writers as “Plot Conveniencesaur” due to the people who created it having no knowledge about it despite the park’s scientist being the one who created it.
In one scene the created Dinosaur, named Indominus Rex, is able to camouflage into its environment like a Chameleon to avoid immediate detection and kill its prey. However, such ability is only ever used once in the film rendering it a pointless addition in the long run. Another moment involve when Indominus Rex is planning to escape from his cage. In context, we have people who have created this creature from the ground up and have raised it in captivity for its entire life, yet didn’t know Indominus Rex could lower its own body temperature until the plot demanded. Not even thermal cameras are able to see Indominus Rex. So instead of using the brought up tracking device implanted in Indominus Rex to track his location and simply wait to get the coordinates the workers at Jurassic World open up his cage to investigate if Indominus Rex is still in the cage. Once again, the same people who created Indominus from the ground up and have records of what went into this creation do tons of stupid things. One of them being making a Dinosaur whose just as equally dumb. An inconsequential detail about the climax is leading lady, Claire (played by Dallas Byrce Howard), using a flare and throwing it at Indominus Rex because the T-Rex is established to only see by heat signature…yet when the flare goes out neither does the idea of using camouflage or lowering body temperature comes to Indominus Rex mind when in combat against other Dinosaurs.
The smart aspect of engineering Dinosaur is it’s made reasonable in the film context. It’s not the first that is immediately introduce, but a starting point to establish its fiction. In this world, people are bored by Dinosaurs like they are with regular animals. So the next logical step is to keep tourist coming back is create a Dinosaur from the ground up. Another nice touch to the park not seen before is a fully realized, operational park with some reasonable design choices. Some choices like the Gyrosphere for instance spell out questionable decisions like not including rails. People would be able to get attacked by Dinosaurs, and possibly harassed them with these machines. One must have would be making human size doors when entering cages, except most of the doors or gates are big enough for the contained Dinosaurs to walk/run through. Then comes a giant dome holding down Pteranodon that for some reason only has one dome of glass to ensure the Dinosaurs don’t fly away. For a park that spared no expense the park overlooked some issues in sake of tourism. However, an addition like security is upgraded so yes, there is more than one person responsible to ensure the safety of everyone on this island filled with Dinosaurs. There’s also other small touches like a full view of all Dinosaurs location, and implied Dinosaur trainers. Though, only ones for Raptors are specially shown.
Some writing choices are rather pointless. For instance, there’s a character in Jurassic World by the name of Lowery (played by Jake Johnson) whose purpose is to tell the audience this is not Jurassic Park. In case, you know, you couldn’t read the title or didn’t hear the name of the amusement park within the film. This character basically spout self-awareness in one of the first scenes he appears in. His dialogue in this scene amounts to saying we need more teeths, and bigger Dinosaurs to draw in park visitors. It’s a subtle way to directly tell the audience the dire need for the franchise to introduce new Dinosaurs to draw in viewers, but at the same time Lowery character amounts to no importance in the film. If Lowery was removed the only aspect would change would be less humor. Any character could have delivered this same self-aware dialogue. Finally comes the disregard of continuity. According to this film the events of the The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park 3 didn’t happen for unknown reasons or doesn’t exist in the same world. Classifying itself as a direct sequel to the original which is also troubling. Expecting you to believe you forgot the Pteranodons that flew away from the island from Jurassic Park. What happened to those Dinosaurs exactly as it never shows the main characters reaching their destination? Also, no one from the original film apparently wrote about their experiences in Jurassic Park including Ian Malcolm. While on this, as a self-contained story it doesn’t really answer the question of why a larger park was built despite a previous park being a failure? If Jurassic Park wasn’t mentioned or was established to be hidden from public knowledge than the existence of the park would be more believable for newcomers instead of leaving dangling questions.
The good aspect of the writing is everything unfolds in real-time. Forget the fact that more than half of the film occurs in broad daylight. This means there’s no distraction from the main conflicts. One that deals with a brand new Dinosaur being loose causing rampage and another that focus on a two brothers attempting to get to safety in a park filled with creatures that can kill them. No matter what the characters are doing it is always related to moving it story forward. For example, if it was operated on real world logic than two kids wouldn’t just magically fix a twenty year old broken car by simply changing the battery. By not operating on realism it allows the characters and viewers to see more of the park. From the onset embracing the B movie aspects of its own writing uses it to great effect to create entertaining, over the top moments of pure escapism. Ranging from the fact a CEO would fly a Helicopter in an attempt to capture a lab created Dinosaur to the sheer cheesiness that is “The Comeback” moment in the climax. Can’t forget the “Obviously Evil Bad Guy” who says ridiculous things whenever on-screen and pitching his idea for militarized Dinosaurs for war. The music might indicate to take this moment seriously, but given this character introduced by pitching this idea it’s more comedic than a starting point for a debate for a theme that goes nowhere. It knows this using the antagonist to enjoy at least enjoy one deserve killing in the film.
All of the issues with the writing could have been easily fixed if it was a half an hour or hour longer. A longer length would have benefited Jurassic World which has the caricatures for engaging ideas like two brothers bonding in the trouble background of their parents divorce or even the pro-environmental message could be expanded upon beyond simply showing disastrous results of hybrids in one scene. Now simply because it would be longer wouldn’t mean the film would have turned out better, but some the ideas it clearly wanted to use could have been expanded on and put to better use. As it is you’ll see many moments that could have made it reach greatness, but won’t rise up to those occasions.
Director Colin Trevorrow is heavily involved in how the film turned out from writing, producing, and yes directing. He made the right calls when presenting the “dumbtelligent” story. Cinematography is far away enough to see major set pieces. Pulling back away to see not only the major Dinosaur CG effects, but the smaller details like debris moving around when Dinosaurs are in movement or hitting a noticeable object. Then the blurred effect when characters are in a vehicle usually when escaping Dinosaurs in an attempt to capture a sense of speed in these scenes. Trevorrow’s usage of the original score, composed by Michael Giacchino, is also appropriate with his timing. I already mentioned before how “Obviously Evil Bad Guy” pitching the idea of militarizing Dinosaurs for war with serious music playing in the back ground. It works for presentation because it’s plays out like a B-movie. The fact there’s not many significant scenes without original music being played speaks for the writing holding its own. Giacchino score is basically a nostalgia trip at best if you’ve seen the previous movies or heard the iconic theme from Jurassic Park and at worst fades into the background if you have no connection with the series in any form. It best blends together whenever the atmosphere is being built in place and involving a Dinosaur as a key character. In the opening scene, anonymous music is played when showing a close up of an animal feet with sharp claws it to play against expectations. Aside from this, the only memorable pieces of music with what occurs on-screen is whenever it sounds similar to John Williams score in Jurassic Park.
The actor aesthetically fit into their roles. You won’t see anything resembling ranged from its capable cast. For instance, Nick Robinson, plays an older brother who switches from being neglectful when around with his little brother, played by Ty Simpkins, to becoming a supportive brother the next scene. The problem is also from the script turning emotions one-eighty when the actor are portraying characters. Though, the roles written are on auto pilot. Chris Pratt for instance plays one of the lead character no matter what the film required retains the same wide eyes facial expression. When he is scared he doesn’t act any differently when at he is at ease. All the roles provide limited ranged since all the characters must be scared, run in fear, and be in awe when facing a Dinosaur that looks directly into their eyes. Therefore memorable characters are off the table the same with notable personalities. Chris Pratt character having more experience in the park reacts the same way as Ty Simpkins seeing Jurassic World for the first time. There’s no sense of experience from certain characters giving this impression this the first time anything like this happened.
The actor that got the best written role for acting was Vincent D’Onofrio who plays a character that might as well be named “Obviously Evil Bad Guy”. When he’s introduce it’s an introduction equivalent to saying “Hahah. I’m evil”. His performance works the best since his character is escalating in one note evilness and priding himself in that fact. Smiling when he pitches his goofy Dinosaur soldier ideas, and wanting to make money at the cost lives. Vincent D’Onofrio is embracing the role seriously giving his character a goofy charm that fits perfectly with how it’s presented and written. He’s enjoyable villain simply for how over the top he is. Special effects are well done, but a downgrade from its predecessors which uses both practical and CG. However, the CG in Jurassic World are used for more complex scenes than anything ever done in the franchise. For instance, there’s a set piece where Pteranodons are attacking people around the park. A scene like this shows how far more advance the CG has become allowing a dozen Dinosaurs to be on-screen while attacking humans. In previous films it was usually one person being picked off despite large group traveling together. In Jurassic World, the fact that Pteranodons are seen picking up several people at the same time is a small achievement for the franchise.
Jurassic World is a not good continuation as a sequel, and doesn’t bother to learn from its predecessors. It has the same lackluster characterization preventing complex characters from being created and the same leap in logic in order for its story to be told. It’s pretty much afraid to have its own identity in fear of being a complete failure without relying on a proven formula. However, it does make for a decent film. What you won’t find is the same simple identifiable, engaging characters or sense of wonder that eventually become lost under heavy uses of CGI, but you’ll find escapism entertainment. It’s operates on B-movie logics containing set pieces that makes full use of its Dinosaurs for creative setups. Entertaining the film is, but an engaging experience it is not.