Jurassic World: Perfect Pacing & Dinosaurs Outclassing Their Human Co-Actors [Review]

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This movie is based on one premise: Dinosaurs are awesome. If you want to see a movie about that, this one is for you and it’s the best one yet. Every moment of this movie was aware of this, every scene served to instil the awe of interacting with something of that scale.

Located off the coast of Costa Rica, the Jurassic World luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs, including the vicious and intelligent Indominus rex. When the massive creature escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the other dinos to run amok. Now, it’s up to a former military man and animal expert (Chris Pratt) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out, prehistoric assault.

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We see dinosaurs flying, dinosaurs swimming and especially dinosaurs hunting and fighting. Logistically and scientifically it’s a bit of a mess, but it really DOES capture the how exhilarating it must have been for our cavemen ancestors when they hunted down T-Rexes and whatnot, though of course the characters in this film rode jeeps instead of Woolly Mammoths or triceratops. Based on excitement alone, this is definitely a good movie.

Thematically it’s about Authenticity. Authentic relationships verses artificial ones. Authentic entertainment verses artificial entertainment. What does it mean to take care of someone and interact with them honestly? The boys in the start had an inauthentic relationship with all caregivers: their parents hid the fact they’re getting a divorce, their aunt (whom they are visiting) doesn’t have time to see them but doesn’t want to hurt their feelings, they’re given a pass that allows them to skip line-ups but they don’t get quality time or real emotion.

The park is based on artificiality too – real dinosaurs are not enough, they have to get artificial (genetically enhanced) dinosaurs. Later it’s pointed out that dinosaurs in this day and age are artificial in any event. If this is not a commentary for Hollywood and the entertainment business in general, I don’t know what is.

Spoiler alert: though the movie DOES seem to come down on the side of ‘authentic is better’, all this relationship stuff gets tossed out the window during the second half of the movie when the dinosaurs get loose. Then the theme switches to the much simpler one of Survival. They never come back to the original themes but that’s not what this movie is about. The only reason there’s a theme at all is that it gives the characters something to talk about while they show us the Awesome Dinosaurs.

The acting very good, especially where it concerned the dinosaurs. A character would do something and a dinosaur would react to it, there was an interaction there. You could tell what the dinosaur must have been thinking or at least feeling. The relationship between the human characters and the non-human ones was often complex and compelling. The human acting was less good – Chris Pratt didn’t take his shirt off once, making Guardians of the Galaxy an objectively better film.

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The pacing and direction of the film was perfect. It hit all the right notes at the right times, the build-up in the beginning with the payoffs at the end, the mid-point shift, the hopeless end of the third act. By the time they finished showing the entire park we were ready for the action to shift and it did, right on time. Heart racing sequences were intense and then had little breaks and it gracefully built in magnitude as the plot progressed. It was technically very well done.

In short, I think you’ll like it. It’s a great summer pop-corn flick, though it IS Movie Chinese Food: sure I was entertained at the time, but I was bored again a half hour later.

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