here be spoilers because this movie is a year old.
Jurassic Park was the first PG-13 movie I saw. My parents said they would take me to see it if I read the book first (because that makes everything better), and I remember going to the Uptown Theater with them and a neighbor to watch it. It was incredible, and scary, and my main complaint coming out was that they missed the scene with the ear on the floor that I remember finding so delightfully disgusting as a child. And yet, I’m squeamish by nature, so I never really was interested in seeing more of the movies in the series. And then they announced a few years back that there would be another sequel, starring my sweetheart Chris Pratt (who I loved most from Parks & Rec), and when it came out everyone was like, “OMG IT’S AWESOME”, and I didn’t get around to seeing it because of reasons. But I watched it recently, and I think you should all be proud of me in my continued laziness.
So I set our DVR to record it off HBO, and had a free afternoon where I decided to scare myself silly with dinosaurs. Because I’m an adult who still gets nightmares. Anyways – the story is one that you probably already know by now, either because you’ve seen the movie, you’ve read a summary, or you saw Jurassic Park as a kid and can guess at the plot (Humans create and cage dinosaurs. Humans get cocky. Dinosaurs escape. People get eaten. Good guys survive. Dinosaurs rule the island that they’ve thankfully been relegated to.) But there were a few things that stood out to me.
I think with any kind of monster movie, the goal is to one-up either yourself or the guy who came before. The creation of Indominus Rex is terrifying, and so the writers achieved their goal for the movie. Thinking of a creature who seems to have all these crazy abilities is horrible to think about because every time you think you might be able to beat it, there’s some new thing it can do to thwart you. But here’s a real science question: would the inclusion of temperature regulation and camouflage genes really be likely in the creation of this new dinosaur? I get the feeling that they were splicing small amounts of DNA in to fill the genome, and I’m sure that both of those abilities are more complicated than just a small strand of DNA since they would likely require many different proteins to enact. But you know…movies. Science. They don’t really get along.
Chris Pratt as Owen is adorable. I love him so much, and it makes me happy that he’s become such a huge star. His ability to emote and express tenderness and care for the dinosaurs made me go aww! Also, I was forced to take this picture of him doing it, because it gave me deep and wonderful feelings. The way he behaves with the dinosaurs is how you want guys to behave with children and animals and with you. Though the way that he treated Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire was obnoxious. Yes, we get that you’re more “in tune with nature” and she’s more business-y, but that doesn’t mean that her way of life is wrong. It takes all types to run a giant dinosaur theme park – get over it.
The most horrifying scene in this movie is apparently one in which I am not the only one watching with eyes bugged out in astonishment. I’m talking about during the pteranodon attack when Claire’s assistant Zara is trying to look after Claire’s nephews, and is grabbed and fought over by pteranodons, plunged multiple times into the ocean, and then eventually both Zara and the pteranodon are devoured by the mega sea-dinosaur Mosasaurus. It’s a horrible scene and lasts a very long time. I had such a hard time watching it, and when the Boy came home, I told him that this scene was the very worst of my nightmares – the being scooped up and taken high, dropped from a great height, being purposefully drowned, and finally being eaten. It’s so uncomfortable to watch, and I agree with the many bloggers I’ve seen who’ve written that this particular death is out of proportion for her character – she’s not a bad guy, she’s just the person who was assigned to mind her bosses kids who were behaving badly and ran away. She did no wrong, and so her death is more horror porn, serving neither as lesson nor comeuppance.
I did like that in the end it wasn’t the people who did anything, and that the dinosaurs – a team of T-Rex, Raptors, and final cameo by the Mosasaurus – that saved the day. I can’t even begin to imagine what the fallout was from this fictional experience. The fact that there’s a victim waystation somewhere and people caring for those who were attacked is just extra realistic, and a gut-punching feeling. How many people died in Jurassic World? You have to assume that all the guards weren’t a surprise – if you’re part of a team of highly trained guards at a DINOSAUR park, you probably set up a good life insurance policy for your family – but all those civilians, people who were just on vacation. I know that making the scope and effects of movie destruction more realistic is something that’s happening more now (see: Man of Steel), but it’s not the kind of thing you go into a big summer popcorn flick hoping to see and think about.
I don’t know. On one hand, it was an enjoyable movie. The big action sequences were exciting, and the new creatures were pretty darn cool. On the other, there’s this sort of blindness to the consequences, and a horrifyingly unwarranted death scene that still makes me shudder to think about it. I want to like it, but maybe I’ve become less numb to the destruction, because this movie didn’t really do it for me as much as I had been led to believe it might.
Thoughts? Has anyone else seen Jurassic World – or if you saw it last summer, have you re-watched it? I’m not overreacting about that death scene, am I? Do you like Claire? Owen? Do you want to strangle those boys for disobeying their minder? Let me know.
Details: Jurassic World, written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, directed by Colin Trevorrow. Available on DVD/Blu-Ray, HBO On Demand and VOD (iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, etc.).