Keeping with the usual Jurassic Park unfolding of events, everything in Jurassic World goes to s*** very quickly, however, little is done to ensure we actually care about the outcome. Unlike its predecessors, the film boasts no interesting characters - any 3D is limited to highlighting dinosaur acrobatics, while the remaining cardboard cut outs converse awkwardly.
Semi-spoilers to come.
At the beginning of the film we are introduced to David Wallance and his wife shipping their children off to a distant aunt while making incongruous remarks about monsters and warzones that serve only as useful sound-bites for the trailer.
Bryce Dallas Howard plays Tussauds-escapee Jessica Chastain, an actress-turned-entrepreneur who manages the park and a slick bobbed hairdo. The three stages of aforementioned hairdo - straight, slight curl, beach wave - serve as a visual representation of Jurassic World's plot: fine, shaken up a bit, shaken up but now fine. Emotionally inept, she and her polar opposite sister serve to confirm that you either are a professional woman or a mother, and that the preferred latter can be learned. Nonetheless, she is presumably under the impression genetic meddling would be in the same vein as the discovery of peanut butter and jelly, and thus finds herself walking on tip toes around their new creation: Impending Doom Rex, or Armageddosaurus. Kept in a giant hamper basket, a surprisingly charismatic rich man calls for it to be potty trained and cites Owen as the man for the job.
|Tarzan sniffs Jane.|
To the delight of mothers and daughters alike, a tanned and oiled Chris Pratt stars as raptor-whisperer Owen, who remains throughout the film as the only character whose name we learn. Getting thirsty, he offers Jessica Abstain the chance for the pair to consult inside his shack. She insists he must come and evaluate the dinosaur and we learn of their one unsuccessful past date and naively think the film will be about dinosaurs.
What sets this film apart from the others is the impressive exhibits, though the use of live dinosaurs in a Sea World-esque fashion came not without controversy and a Change.org petition. Despite this, the film was a box office success and the Peta boycott campaign proved fruitless. In one disturbing scene, caged velicoraptors are visibly agitated as a militant Vincent D’Onofrio sings How Much is that Doggy in the Window? as they can most likely smell the capitalism on his breath. Good hearted Owen isn't having any of it, and tells Cruella the puppies are not for sale.
Opportunistic D'Onofrio eventually gets his own way but discovers the risky nature of the casting business. Newly recruited Bessie, Blue, Delta and Vera the velicoraptors find themselves tested on the nuances of loyalty when a plan to take down the now free-range Armegeddosaurus backfires; there’s a scene not unlike the moment when a tap turns on too fast into a sink and water splashes all over your unsuspecting torso, only the men aren't washing dishes, they're taking on loose dinosaurs with Nerf guns. At this point, Jessica is pulling her Alex Prager face and Owen is rolling his eyes and reaching to the words of park survivor Ian Malcolm: boy do I hate being right all the time.
When separated from their British CGI carer, the two young boys act responsibly and find another knowledgeable adult and avoid all restricted park areas. Somehow, their smart thinking goes unrewarded as they find themselves gently reminded things have gone to s*** … think dinosaur/gyrosphere = kitten/ball of string. Good looking little boy and his littler brother stroll back, but not before dusty remnants of the 1993 original are used to trick you into enjoying yourself. Sam Neill is nowhere to be seen.
One mishap simply wouldn't be enough, and disaster is now occuring with a domino-like tenacity. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, charismatic rich man drops a glass on the floor and spills pterodactyls everywhere. These are then used to put us off the scent of Hollywood’s Darwinian survival-of-the-most-attractive (American values instilled in that the first death was an incompetent fat man) as British lady is killed for a good twenty minutes of screen time; various dinosaurs play hot potato as she calls “bleddy hell” and spills tea everywhere. Jessica manages to avoid the falling tea, and her white dress remains impressively white. Impracticality (or unbelievable weaponised femininity) triumphs when Jessica later outruns a T Rex in heels. T Rex is not in heels: claims the race to be unfair and demands a re-match.
Soon dead bodies litter the streets and all that left to do is sunburn and hope the barista at Starbucks hasn’t been eaten alive. Admittedly, the film is fun, raising the what-would-you-do question, to which my answer is usually within the realm of soiled undies or just self-sacrifice. Unfortunately, lacklustre scriptwriting left us without characters that we could, ahem, sink our teeth into. That and the “mush!” commanded raptors detracted from what was otherwise a quite entertaining fourth instalment.