Is it me or is it the height of dumbassery to trek out to a park where if the animals get loose, you’re their snacks?
Honestly, wasn’t it proven in the first movie that an amusement park filled with dinosaurs simply wasn’t a good idea? Human control of dinosaurs is an illusion! “Mummy, Mummy, look at the fleas!”*
Can you see yourself going by ferry to an island filled with herbivores and carnivores and for which an ‘incident’ could mean you end up on the dinner menu? And it’s not as if people don’t know what happened on Isla Nublar twenty-two years ago. In the second film, mention was made of the Incident being suppressed, but once a T. Rex roamed San Diego, the dino was out of the bag. Discrediting Ian Malcolm no longer worked, and both he and Alan Grant published books on what happened. So people knew it could happen again. Putting your lives in the hands of computer technology does happen every day, but a subway breakdown ordinarily doesn’t mean the dinner bell is rung for carnivorous animals.
The movie had the usual death-by-chomp and other gruesome ends, especially for Zara, Claire’s assistant, who is the first female to die in a JP movie. The characters were a mixed bag: Owen was bad-ass, able to control the raptors (at least part of the time) and charging off with the InGen security men to take down the I. Rex but Claire ended up pretty bad-ass too by standing in front of the T. Rex. paddock and ordering it opened.
The brothers were both annoying and touching. Finally Zach stopped perving on girls and became his little brother’s protector, and Gray had his moments.
The movie was interesting with the amusement park theme, a change from the events of Jurassic Park II and III. I also found those movies to be almost relentlessly grimdark, while this movie had the veneer of normality with the park, though that made it all the more jarring when the inevitable breakdown occurred. There was more of a sense of wonder in this film than II and III, which had brief moments of the wonder from the first movie.
What this movie lacked was suspense. Of course the first film had the advantage of being the first, and the trailers (if I’m not mistaken) not showing any dinosaurs, and there was no Internet for spoiler pictures. Instead the tension built up until we see the T. Rex for the first time. The scene in the touring cars during the tropical storm as the power goes out and the characters are stuck is a powerful one. The water in the glass ripples with the force of the T. Rex’s footsteps, and the goat that was left as food for the T. Rex disappears when Timmy looks with his infra-red goggles. Then the mangling of the electrical fence is loud and creaky just before the dinosaur roars.
In Alan and Ian’s car, they’re talking in low tones while the rain pounds down, and the entire setting is filled with foreboding. I didn’t see much of that in the fourth film, though the scene in the I. Rex’s cage was pretty chilling. The scratch marks were all a diversion as the I. Rex intelligently came up with an escape plan. Another Clever Girl, as Robert Muldoon would say.
A sad and chilling scene was the brachiosaurus graveyard as Owen says grimly that the I. Rex isn’t killing for food, but for sport. We also see the raptors turn against their human handlers after communicating with the I. Rex, who is revealed to be part raptor.
Dr. Wu, the seemingly benevolent scientist in JP I, is a full-fledged villain here as he works with InGen’s Hoskins, the paramilitary chief, to come up with creatures for military use. Wu only cares about his experiments, not about the people who will end up dead because of them. The next film will probably deal with Wu and his creations as he escapes successfully from Jurassic World with the embryos that have been genetically engineered.
Breeding dinosaurs that are bigger, stronger and faster with raptor DNA? What did Wu think was going to happen? Raptors are extremely intelligent and lethal hunters. Splicing in the raptor DNA was the dumbest thing a smart man could do.
Back to lack of suspense. The build-up just isn’t there, even though we know the inevitable: people get chomped on by dinosaurs! Still, I felt that they could have shown more of the workings of the park, both from visitors and workers’ POVs. That Disneyesque happy veneer could have been a sharper counterpoint to the horror that was to come. The build-up was too brief. We went from some quick scenes of park attractions to the immediate danger of the I. Rex escaping.
I'm also not sure that I buy the 'domestication' of the raptors under Owen's control, but the whole set-up of creating dinosaurs is out there to begin with, anyway.
At least the black guy didn’t get eaten this time around, though the fat guy once again ended up dino food.
I am a fan of the first film (I also ship Alan/Ian so hard!). It will always be the best, IMO, but sequels rarely live up to their originals. Only The Empire Strikes Back managed that little trick (and possibly surpassed A New Hope).
If you liked the first three films (or even just the first one), you will probably like this one. Of course there are horrific deaths (the death of Zara has created some controversy, I hear) so beware of that. If that disturbs you, steer clear!
*In the first film, John Hammond talked to Ellie about a flea circus he used to have, and how he wanted his attractions to be something real and viable. That once they got control back, they could launch the park, but she counters with that it's all an illusion, like the flea circus. They never had control. A pity the people who built Jurassic World didn't subscribe to that philosophy.