Monday, June 15, 2015

Movie Monday - Jurassic World

So it seems that Movie Monday has turned into a "Kirsti periodically goes to the movies and has a lots of thoughts" series of ad hoc proportions rather than a regular thing, but OH WELL. It's my blog and I do what I want.

On Friday night, I roped Ness and her boyfriend into seeing Jurassic World. Neither of them had seen The Lost World or Jurassic Park III, so the fact that the movie is intended as a direct sequel to Jurassic Park rather than a fourth movie probably worked well for them.

So the first problem I had was nothing to do with the film itself and everything to do with the fact that it was a packed cinema and the air conditioning was broken. It was at least 32 degrees (that's 90 to you, America) in there, and I was stupidly grateful that I chose to wear a million layers yesterday rather than a jumper because it meant I could strip off back to short sleeves and only half die of heat stroke.

On the plus side, the movie theatre gave us all free tickets to make up for it, so we effectively saw the movie for free. SCORE!

The rest of this is going to get spoilery, so I'm gonna go ahead and put it under a jump cut. Join me there, friends. We'll discuss dinosaurs!

Okay, SO. When I was watching the movie, I really enjoyed it. But the more I've thought about it since, the more I've realised how many problems there were with it.

As tends to be the way with these things, let's do this in pro/con list form.

The things I loved
  • All the nods to the original movie. The flare. The gates. The night vision goggles. The fact that they use Jeep 27. Visiting the old visitor centre. The dilophosaurus. The gallimimus stampede. Mister DNA. The two-kids-in-a-vehicle-being-attacked-by-a-dinosaur thing.The T. rex (it's the same one - you can see the scars on its neck from the raptor attack). They were fun details added in for the fans, and they worked really well. 
See? Same T. rex. Also, source.
  • Chris Pratt's arms. Definitely the movie's MVP. 
  • It embraced the fact that it was totally silly from start to finish with a bunch of silly lines. Like "We should stick together. For survival." 
  • Tiny dinosaur petting zoo. I want nothing more in life than to go on a triceratops ride. And maybe to canoe with stegosaurs. 
  • A dinosaur with camouflage capabilities. Sure, you can argue that it's not REALLY a dinosaur because of all the genetic dicking about that they did with it. But it's a fun throwback to the second book, where they encounter a couple of carnotaurus, which can camouflage themselves perfectly. 
  • The gyrosphere ride. That just looked cool. 
  • The scene with the mososaur show. Sure, it gave off squicky Sea World vibes. But it also gave me goosebumps because it was showing us what we never got to see in the first three movies: a functioning park packed with tourists. In short, it was showing us John Hammond's dream. And that was pretty freaking cool. 
The 6 Best GIF Moments from the 'Jurassic World' Trailer
  • While it's never confirmed in the movie, Gray seemed to have a lot of characteristics of someone on the autism spectrum. And whether it was intended or not, it was pretty great to see someone with those traits having a significant role in a mainstream film. 

The things that sucked
  • The female characters. Oy, the female characters. There've been several TV shows and movies released this year that have given us INCREDIBLE female characters (Agent Carter and Mad Max: Fury Road to name just two). And as a result of this, the bog standard female characters that Hollywood delivers look transparent and poorly developed and generally awful in comparison. This, sadly, was no exception. Claire spends the entire movie running around in three inch stilettos and a floaty skirt. She traipses through the jungle like that. She runs from a T rex like that. In reality? She'd lose a shoe or break an ankle or hike her skirt up to her waist and kick off her shoes so she could run faster. But the movie ends with her still wearing her fucking stilettos. Add in the fact that despite being a woman in a high powered role at the park, she's effectively turned into a love interest for Chris Pratt, raptor-wrangler extraordinaire, and you've got me headdesking. 
  • Continuing on with the female characters theme, we only had a handful of female characters. There was Claire, who we've already discussed. Then we had Karen, who spends basically her entire time on screen crying over her children. We have Zara, who had no more than a few dozen lines - half of them about her wedding - and who then had the miserable distinction of being the first female character to die in the films. And we had Vivian, who didn't seem to do much besides pass on announcements, look horrified when people died in awful ways, and shut down her coworker when he tried to kiss her. Any other female characters were giggling teenage girls who served only as the subject of Zach's attention. 
  • I had so many issues with the female characters that I may have gotten a little ranty on Tumblr. Twice
  • The villains. Both BJ Wong and Vincent D'Onofrio were very much members of the School of Moustache Twirling to let us know from the get-go that they were totally evil OMG. Even the freaking velociraptors knew that D'Onofrio's character was evil, for crying out loud. In contrast, the original movie didn't HAVE a villain. It was just chaos, pure and simple. If anything, the villains were the dinosaurs. Here, the dinosaurs were tools at the hands of the villains, and it was just dumb.
  • The sponsorship was REALLY obvious. There was hardly a single shot of the park that didn't feature a giant logo from Samsung, Hilton, Pandora, Ben & Jerry's, AT&T etc etc etc. And the worst part is that I'm pretty sure they were trying to be subtle... 
  • A total lack of cameos. I MEAN, WHAT THE EFF. I get that you can't FORCE past stars into participating. But to not have a single returning cast member involved? That just caused me physical pain. 
  • The dinosaurs looked far less realistic than they did in 1993. Which makes precisely no sense. You've had 22 years worth of advances in technology. And yet, everything looks less authentic? Whut. 
  • Dimorphodons. Sure, it was cool to have a different variety of flying dinosaur. But they looked like some kind of Frankenstein's monster where the head of a mini T rex had been grafted onto the body of a pterosaur and it just...NOPE. 
  • So much of it made zero sense. I mean, sending a bunch of humans out into the park with non-lethal weapons to take down a fucking huge apex predator? Why would you even get out of the car?! Putting your hand out to a velociraptor. Of COURSE it's going to get bitten off. You wouldn't do that to a dog that was acting that way, so why would you do it to something much bigger with a ton more teeth that literally wants to eat you?! Going into a forbidden zone in a gyrosphere after they've recalled everyone to base? WHY. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT. A massive MASSIVE section of the stuff that happened relied on people doing incredibly stupid I'm-asking-to-get-eaten things. 
  • The final battle. It was so fucking stupid that I just giggled throughout because it was so OBVIOUS. 
  • Ian Malcolm would not stand for any of this. 
Look, I'm not going to come right out and say that it was a terrible movie. Because it wasn't. I still enjoyed it, it was still entertaining. The plot was, essentially, what you'd expect: terrible idea + 20,000 people + dinosaurs = disaster central. But there were a TON of problems with it, and sadly it's the problematic aspects that are going to stick with me into the future, while the things I enjoyed about it fade into the background. 

So while I would have said it was a 3.5 star movie when I came out of the theatre, after a few days of reflection, I'm going with 2.5 stars. And the half is for Chris Pratt's arms. 

Have you seen it? What did you think??

K xx

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