The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Jurassic World - Just A Good Fun Film

Jurassic World - 2015
If there is a word to sum up every Jurassic Park movie, it came from Dr. Ian Malcom in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).  Early on in that film he said, “Oh Yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts.  Then later, there’s running and um, screaming.”

Yep, that about sums up this latest addition to what might be called “Hammond’s Mistake.” One would think that after trying, and trying again, with each incarnation of the dinosaur theme park that we would have learned our lesson and realize that what has been extinct for 65 million years should probably stay extinct.  After all, dinosaurs were only interested to doing two things; eating and making little dinosaurs.

Well, it is now some 22 years after that first Jurassic Park incident and the all new Jurassic World is a fully functional and somewhat successful theme park located on Isla Nublar. Unfortunately, revenues in the park have been falling because the exhibits have become fairly common. It has been determined that they need to create new dinosaurs to perk up revenues and keep the park solvent.

Meanwhile, the park’s director, Claire Dearing is receiving a visit from her nephews Zach and Gary. Claire is one busy lady and has her assistant take over care for the boys.  They are supplied with nice accommodations overlooking the main plaza of the park and given wristbands that allow them access to all of the rides and exhibits.

Simon Masrani, the park’s owner asks Claire to accompany him to see the new exhibit that will most assuredly rejuvenate the public’s interest in the park. The new dinosaur has been dubbed Indominus Rex (Latin for Untameable King).  This new dinosaur, which never existed in nature, is made up from the DNA of numerous extinct species as well as a few modern ones. It is bigger, faster, louder, and more vicious than anything that has ever existed on land.  A special enclosure has been designed for it, designed by the best engineers, and there has been no expense spared.  Even with that being said, Simon wants the park’s Velociraptor expert, Owen Grady, to come in and check the enclosure for vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Owen is working with his Raptors on a part of the island that is not open to visitors.  He works with four animals that he has worked with since they were hatched.  He has apparently been training them to obey commands, which they do, but there is tension between Owen and the animals. Owen is approached by InGen’s head of Security, Vic Hoskins who is very happy with the progress that Owen has made and explains that he can see that the Raptors are able to take commands and could be used as weapons.  Just then, a member of the staff falls into the enclosure and Owen enters to rescue him, and then barely escaping with his life, proving that the raptors may be tame, but only to a point.

At about the same time, the boys manage to ditch Claire’s assistant and go off on their own to explore the park.

Claire goes to Owen’s bungalow to get him to carry out Simon’s request. At this point, we also learn that Claire and Owen have had a past relationship that has cooled. Reluctantly, Owen agrees to honor Simon’s request.  When they arrive at the Indominus’ enclosure, there appears to be nothing there, but Owen finds claw marks in the concrete indicating that the animal has escaped its enclosure. Owen and two members of the staff enter the enclosure only to find that the dinosaur has faked an escape. Indominus then attacks the trio killing two, but Owen escapes by hiding under a vehicle, cutting the fuel line and dousing himself with gasoline to hide his scent.  Indominus is now roaming the park.

InGen soldiers make an attempt to capture Indominus using nonlethal weapons and are all killed. Claire orders that the northern part of the park be closed, while at the same time, the boys are exploring there in a gyrosphere vehicle. Indominus arrives and attacks the boy’s vehicle, but they manage to escape and arrive at the original Jurassic Park Visitor’s Center.  The boys get one of the abandoned jeeps running and head for the new park. As the boys leave in the jeep, Owen and Claire arrive at the old building, but are also attacked by Indomenus.

Simon decides that he will take a helicopter and go after Indominus, but it escapes him by breaking into the aviary where the Pteranodons and Dimorphodons are housed. They begin to escape and attack the helicopter, which crashes into the dome of the aviary releasing all of the animals from that enclosure.

As Zach and Gary arrive back at the park, the flying dinosaurs begin attacking tourists.  Finally, Claire’s assistant sees the boys by is snatched up by a Pteranodon that flies over the tank that contains the Mosasaurus, a very large carnivorous ocean-going creature.  The Mosasaurus jumps out of the water and eats both the Pteranodon and Claire’s assistant.  Just then, Owen and Claire arrive and find the boys.

In the control center, Hoskins takes command of the park and decides that Owen must use his Raptors, that he has trained to hunt and kill, to track down the Indominus and kill it. However reluctant, Owen agrees that this may be the only way to stop the bloodshed.  When the Indominus, is confronted by Owen and the Raptors, Indominus (that is part Raptor itself) communicates with the smaller dinosaurs, turning them against the humans and more InGen soldiers are slaughtered, but again, Owen manages to escape.

Meanwhile, Hoskins and Dr. Wu are packing up all of the dinosaur embryos to take them off the island.  Owen, Claire, and the boys arrive and ask what he is doing.  Hoskins explains that he intends to continue to develop Indominus Rex into a weapon as he was intending Owen to do with the Raptors, but suddenly a Raptor arrives on the scene and kills Hoskins.  Owen, Claire and the boys escape from there only to find themselves surrounded by Velociraptors outside. Indominus arrives on the scene and apparently attempts to goad the Raptors into attacking Owen, but Owen has managed to reestablish his connection with the animals and they turn on Indominus and are apparently killed. As Indominus fights off the Raptor attack, Claire releases the Tyrannosaurus Rex and it chases her to where Indominus is. There is one remaining Raptor that teams up with the T-Rex and forces Indominus near the edge of the Mosasaurus tank. The huge aquatic animal lunges out of it’s enclosure and pulls Indominus in killing it.  The T-Rex and the remaining Raptor, having had enough, flee into the forest. The park’s survivors are evacuated to Costa Rica and in the final scene of the film, the T-Rex stands on a helipad overlooking the park and lets loose a thunderous roar.

This film is utterly predictable and follows the formula in every way.  It didn’t matter what the situation was, we knew that Owen, Claire, and the boys were going to survive and everyone else was going to get munched by one dinosaur or another, however, it was very satisfying when Hoskins got his.  But, that is not saying that this is a bad film, on the contrary, I found the movie to be very entertaining and worth going to see as an afternoon matinee. The pace was very fast and once it started, the two hours of the movie went by very quickly,  There was no guessing game and the story unfolded in the usual Jurassic Park way.

The acting in the film was well done.  Chris Pratt as Owen was not as over the top as I would have expected him to be, and his character was likable, as was Bryce Dallas Howard. However, it took a little time to warm up to her as she started out in the film as a typical corporate stooge, but later understood that the animals she was dealing with were actually living beings and not just assets. Hoskins was perfectly portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio as the opportunist who only wanted to exploit the animals as weapons he could sell, perhaps to the highest bidder. I enjoyed Irrfan Khan’s performance as Simon, and genuinely felt bad when his helicopter went down killing his character.  While his interest was to make the park profitable again, he didn’t feel like someone that would want to do that at any cost, and he did indeed rely on his staff to guide his decisions.  The one single actor that appeared in the first Jurassic Park film was B.D. Wong, who reprised his role as Dr. Henry Wu, the geneticist that was the mastermind behind the creation of the animals in the park.  I was taken a little aback when I learned that he was actually working with Hoskins (shades of Nedry?) to exploit the dinosaur’s weapons potential.

If there was an area of disappointment for me, I would have to say that I was a little disappointed in the film score.  One of the best parts of the Jurassic Park series was the awesome music of John Williams, who apparently handed over the baton to Michael Giacchino for this romp through the park, but as I listened, I found that the score, while it fit the action on the screen, was somewhat unremarkable and subdued.

Is there a message in this film?  What is the writers and director trying to tell is is the moral of the story?  Well, for me, the very first part of the film was what it was all about.  Now imagine what it would be like to go to a place like Jurassic World and see and interact with creatures that have been extinct for millions of years.  That in itself, for me at least would be beyond amazing.  But then, even when we are surrounded by marvels that are beyond the imagination, they soon become mundane and we look for bigger thrills, and when we cannot find them for ourselves, corporate society is only more than happy to provide them for us.

In any case, whether there is a deeper message intended or not, Jurassic World is a fun and entertaining film that is worth going to see at least once. There is really no new information (other than they are now creating new dinosaurs) and there are no big reveals. It follows the formula that was established in the first movie, starting with the Ooos and Ahhs, and then follows the running and the screaming, and as the people flee for their lives, the term fast food takes on a whole new meaning.

Well, there it is…