Monday, June 15, 2015

5 Ways ‘Jurassic World’ Was Really Awesome

Now that “Jurassic World” made Scrooge McDuck-level coin over the weekend, it’s time for me to share my two cents. I mean that’s what everyone’s been waiting for right? What does that anonymous internet guy who writes 800 words on getting menaced by swans think about this pop cultural phenomenon?  
                Well wait no more. I enjoyed the movie. It was big dumb fun. I’d give it a solid B.
                It’s been 20+ years since the events of the first movie and the genetic-engineering conglomerate InGen has finally managed to open the island-based dinosaur theme park of its dreams. Humanity is pretty psyched about this for a while but then something happens. We get kind of sick of it. That’s right, people – with our ever-shortening attention spans – have grown weary of seeing animals of unfathomable sizes from millions of years in the past walking around in the present. Attendance is dropping off and InGen decides the only way to reverse course is to give us something bigger and scarier than silly old T-Rexes and raptors. So they cook up a genetically-engineered hybrid dino that is made up of all of the scariest parts of other animals. Needless to say, this goes poorly and eventually the hybrid (called the Indominus Rex) gets out and runs amok on the island. From there it’s up to Jurassic World’s chief of handsome and raptor training Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), its Director of Operations or whatever, to get the situation sorted out. Oh and also they have to find Dearing’s teenage and pre-teen nephews who are lost on the island (because kids) and deal with the scheming of Hoskins, (Vincent D’Onofrio) who seems to be InGen’s Director of Shady-Doings and who naturally wants the island’s raptors for his own dastardly machinations.
                There’s a lot to like about “Jurassic World” and so let’s stick to that for this post. Let’s make this post 5 Ways ‘Jurassic World’ Was Really Awesome since we’re all still riding high on a dinosaur and Pratt-fueled wave of good vibrations. 

Now keep in mind, there will be spoilers. Do with that info what you may.  

5. Going Back to the Beginning. I’m a simple man. Two of my favorite things are dinosaurs and references to things that happened when I was a kid. That said, the middle part of this movie, where our two teeny, tweeny heroes, stumble upon the ruins of the Visitors Center from the first movie, just made me so happy. The “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” banner and the Jeeps with the old (and better) red, black and yellow color scheme and Tim’s ridiculous night vision goggles, it was such a wonderfully-welcomed bit of nostalgia. It didn’t matter what characters we were there with, even the kids, I was fully enamored by looking around at old stuff. Side note, InGen, did you seriously just build your new park around the ruins of your old one? Does that send a weird message?   

4. Chris Pratt, Raptor Whisperer. On paper the idea of Chris Pratt playing Jackson Galaxy to a pack of unruly, murderous raptors sounds pretty dumb. Going in to the movie, I feared that in practice it would be even more dumb than it sounded and you know what? It wasn’t. More dumb, that is. It was dumb, but it was the good kind of dumb. I actually bought into the idea more and more as the movie went along. By the time he’s riding through the jungle on a motorcycle leading a herd of raptors, I thought nothing of it. This is just a thing that happens in that world.

3. We Can Make Her Scarier. We Have the Technology. Also dumb on paper is the notion that a park would build a super-dinosaur so big, smart and vicious that it couldn’t even hope to contain it. Taking all of the deadliest traits of dinosaurs and science-ing them into one creature is just about the worst possible plan. But then Claire starts going on and on about attendance figures and by the time you factor in the owner of the park’s (Indian Richard Branson) reckless approach to life, I’m sold. It’s all investor demands and bar charts and a crazy billionaire throwing money at insane ventures because seeing if he can spend his fortune before he dies is the only thrill left in his life. You know this exact thing is happening at Google right now.

2. It Gave Me the Sads. Pretty much the only thing in movies that is off limits for me is any sort of animal in peril storyline. I can’t watch the trailer for that goddamn Iraq War dog movie “Max” without getting all weepy-eyed. Apparently this extends to CGI representations of animals which have long since gone extinct. At one point in the film, Owen and Claire stumble upon a field of dying or dead sauropods, which the Indominus Rex has killed just for the hell of it. They kneel down to comfort one of the dying animals and I am not too proud to admit I felt a slight lip tremble. Didn’t expect a tear-jerker going in and I was presently surprised.    

1. Dino Battle Royale. Traveling to the complete opposite end of the spectrum, that dinosaur fight scene was the best. What’s left of Pratt’s team of raptors goes toe-to-toe with the Indominus Rex and they get their butts kicked. Claire, on the advice of the tweeny kid, gets more teeth in the form of the park’s T-Rex. The two beasts go one-on-one for a bit, but even the T-Rex is no match. Makes sense considering the Indominus Rex is made up of T-Rex parts among other things. Then, from so far out of nowhere it would make Randy Orton jump in surprise, one final raptor shows up. What we have now is one T-Rex and one raptor vs. the Indominus Rex. An inter-species grudge match for the ages. The combined might of those two knocks the Indonminus back on its heels, but doesn’t seem enough to kill it. That’s when the flippin’ giant, shark-eating Mosasaurus (not a dinosaur, marine lizard, but still) leaps out of her tank and pulls the battered Indominus in. It is absolutely sensational. The only thing the scene is missing is an “Ocean’s 11” style wrap-up where the three new prehistoric friends stand around and stare at the water until one by one they each drift away. Off to new adventures or the bliss of a long-awaited retirement, unsure if they’ll ever meet again, but knowing that on that night, they did something magical.    

                I’ll be back soon with the 5 Ways ‘Jurassic World’ Dropped the Ball.

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