This film had one job, and that was to be better than The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3. It achieved this feat, but that isn’t the most challenging thing to do. I certainly wasn’t expecting the film to be better than Jurassic Park, and why people thought it would be or used that as a measuring stick makes zero sense to me.
The only way for Jurassic World would have been better than Jurassic Park is if you invented a time machine and released that film first; and even then I wonder.
Was Jurassic World a bad film? No, it was fun. Was it a good film? No, it was not, and it isn’t because of the plot or the super 2-D characters or the fact that Claire is the fall guy whom the audience doesn’t care at all about; my beef with this movie is one thing:
It’s fun when a sequel or a remake does this, the nod to the previous entry or the first film, but when you nod so much that we begin to worry that you’re having a seizure, that’s when it’s a problem. We get the Mr. DNA, great, that’s something everyone wanted. Then you get the guy wearing the t-shirt from the original park design and getting called out for it, even though it’s the same design that’s plastered everywhere in the park. Okay, that’s funnyish, but kinda hypocritical.
Then you get the t-rex feeding scene from the first film, a goat on a chain, and a flare, and it all goes downhill from there.
This movie was pointing and shouting so hard at the first film to make sure we understood that it is not trying to be the previous two entries in the franchise that it began to resemble a five year-old child throwing a fit. It even took us to the original visitors center that had working goggles and Jeeps! We get it! You are not the other films, can we please move on?
When your movie is constantly doing this sort of thing it’s relying on the past nostalgia of the returning audience of the previous three films to go, “Oh yeah, I loved the flare thing!” and make the new comers go, “This must be important so how, but why? Better go watch the other movies.” The film isn’t standing on it’s own at this point, it’s leaning heavily on the foundation of the original film. Yes, The Lost World and JP3 did it too, but it was the singular nod, the one you’re used to seeing in a franchise film series because it is neat to revisit the places that blew your mind the first time.
This becomes an issue when the filmmakers don’t try to make new mind blowing scenes in the sequels.
Think about it like this, the riveting part in JPW is when the Indo-rex, t-rex, and velociraptor are duking it out, but even then it doesn’t stick with us after the fight is over. Why? Because the human characters are not really threatened here, they move around the fight, but t-rex is their friend here and is defending their honor.
JP3, the parasailing part was neat, but it’s a chase scene and it didn’t have a point of focus for the audience to grab on to and remember.
TLW had the velociraptors and they were being all velociraptoriee, hiding in the tall grass, pouncing, but the memorable scene in the compound on the island ninja-ruled these guys. They were laughable, which isn’t something you want associated with your monster.
None of these scenes stick with us because we are not allowed to be held in wonder, we are told that this is the exciting part!
Then you go to Jurassic Park, the power goes down, the tour stops in front of the t-rex cage, power will come back on surely? Then you get the rumble, then you see water move, then you begin to doubt. Then comes the flare and the potty humor and everything else we remember about that scene. It sticks with us because of the build up, even later on in the kitchen with the velociraptors, the build up matters; and this isn’t a build up of action but rather a build of tension. The action is the release of the tension, and for some reason filmmakers have forgotten that this is the case. Action can build up but it needs to go somewhere else for the audience, to a pause, to a moment, but instead we are drowned in meh-action. There used to be a moment in a movie when the action was over and you felt relieved, like you had just chewed the most refreshing gum ever, but I haven’t had that feeling in a long time.
I never truly felt that spearmint feeling in Jurassic World. This movie was throwing so much action at the screen, but none of it registered because there was no build up, there weren’t any stakes. As soon as the first ethnic guy and fat guy were eaten, I knew none of the main characters were in danger, unless they were ethnic. That lack of fear is a killer in an action film, even though we know most of the time the heroes won’t die, we still need a holy shit moment with them in order to make us care a little.
This isn’t to say that it is all doom and gloom here. The hidden gem, the treasure of this film, was one man:
B.D. Wong saved this movie for me because of his spot on performance as Val Kilmer. This isn’t a knock in any way, shape, or form; his mannerisms, the way he talked, it was eerie! If you think I am being a dick, I am not, and if you think I am talking crazy then re-watch his scenes and tell me you are not seeing 90’s Kilmer!
Overall, it was fun, but I found the experience to be a little hollow. Of course, it’s made over 200 million, so who the hell am I, right? I recommend you check it out because I want you to form your own opinion, and it can be in direct conflict with mine here, that’s your call.
But, I think we can all agree that B.D. Wong needs more feature films.