Jurassic World

The film poses a small, interesting question. What if the U.S. could release velociraptors on enemies like ISIS?

Jurassic WorldYou knew from the beginning that Jurassic World was going to be an entertaining film regardless of its weaknesses. I have previously described my many wonderful trips to both Disneyland and Disney World, and the thought of dinosaurs and pterodactyls attacking some of the visitors is a savage yet exciting thought. After all, wouldn’t it be appropriate if you had to risk your life when you were on a boat listening to the song, “It’s a Small World”?

I must also acknowledge that it helps when you are accompanied by your 13-year-old granddaughter and 18-year-old foreign exchange student. I love them both, and the fact that they found the movie “great” is good enough for me.

However, I have to begin any review with a slam on Hollywood’s repeated use of sexist themes. In San Andreas, the camera constantly focused on the “bouncing boobs” of The Rock’s daughter as she continually ran for safety. What was the purpose other than to titillate teenage boys and attract them to the theater?

Unfortunately, with the new Jurassic World, Director Colin Trevorrow found a need to focus on the heels of Bryce Dallas Howard, and it became laughable. Yes, I will concede that it was tolerable to get a close-up of her shoes when she first appeared as well as doing the same thing when she later exited a helicopter. However, Mr. Trevorrow would have us believe that she was able to outrun dinosaurs in the jungle in those same 4-inch heels, and I am not exaggerating when I say that she never, and I mean never, bothered to throw them away to gain needed speed.

Quite frankly, I was reminded of the old comment about Fred Astaire being a great dancer, but Ginger Rogers did the same thing only backwards and in heels! If indeed Ms. Howard could be this athletic in heels, why not require female basketball and soccer players to wear them during competitions? After all, if you can out-maneuver a Tyrannosaurus Rex, you should have no problem speeding down-court against a defender.

Nonetheless, I can only repeat that it always remains a bit of fun to see dinosaurs acting like dinosaurs. The movie takes place over a single day, and it is worth noting that the special effects are indeed special.

In this case, two brothers, Zach and Gray, are sent to Jurassic World to spend a week visiting Claire (Ms. Howard), their mother’s sister. Imitating Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park (1993), you knew that their lives would soon be in danger. And though I don’t want to give anything away, you suspected that  they could always outrun a velociraptor even if they were denied Claire’s precious shoes.

Claire was little more than a corporate shill who defends the artificial creation of a new dinosaur to increase attendance. At the bottom of the corporate chain is Owen (Chris Pratt), a muscle bound, iconoclastic employee of the park who has found a way to train four dreaded velociraptors. Naturally, a relationship develops between our sweaty field manager and the prissy Claire, but the unending chaos fortunately allowed you to ignore it.

Mr. Pratt is an interesting actor as he proved in last year’s wonderful hit Guardians of the Galaxy. He is genuinely funny even when his life is on the line, and he always manages to hold your attention even though he is given little to say.

Of course there is a villain, here played by Vincent D’Onofrio. He is a corporate security man who is full of arrogant suggestions that all go wrong, and you suspect from the beginning that he is going to prove to be a tasty meal for one of the rampaging dinosaurs.

I must admit that I loved the first Jurassic Park which was directed by Steven Spielberg who served as the executive producer on this film.  Though you had to put up with the antics of Jeff Goldblum as he seemed to be working on his future role in the remake of The Fly (1986), it was a film that captured both your interest and your heart given the wonderful performances of Sam Neill, Richard Attenborough and Laura Dern.

Quite frankly, this new release captures some of that old magic, as it spends a great deal of time in the midst of dinosaurs who are attempting to find a way to exist in an artificially created environment. While several represent a continual threat to humans, particularly the new dinosaur addition, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for them.

Finally, as you watched visitors sit in grandstands around an enclosed lake as a gigantic, captured dinosaur rose from the water to snatch a dangling white shark from a descending wire, I couldn’t help but think how corporate America is promoting that same antic at Sea World in Florida. Sure, they don’t have any dinosaurs to leap from the small pool, but they train killer whales to do the same thing.

In the incredibly provocative documentary Blackfish (2013), you saw that these beautiful mammals were captured at sea, removed from a family that they would stay with their entire lives, and forced to live in confined quarters that were both demeaning and appalling. Unfortunately, it is clear that Sea World could care less as long as they are able to convince visitors to pay the price of admission.

So my advice to all of you is to find a way to take a teenager if you’re going to see Jurassic World. After all, it is sad but true that when teenagers are happy, adults are happy!