*Just a quick warning: this week's Movie Madness review is a LONG one. I honestly tried to cut it down as much as I could, but I had so much to say, it still ended up being 'monstrous' (geddit?? This is a review about Jurassic World so...oh forget it...) in length. I've tried to break it up with pictures but even so, you may want to grab a cup of tea before you start reading - or y'know, just skip to the end. Your choice.*
Welcome back to another Movie Madness post! This week, I went to see Jurassic World, the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park franchise.
Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park - Jurassic World. Located off the coast of Costa Rica, this luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs; including the park's newest attraction, the vicious and highly intelligent Indominus Rex. But when this formidable dinosaur escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes chaos throughout the park. It's up to a former military man and animal expert Owen (Chris Pratt) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out prehistoric assault.
I went to see this film five days ago and I'm still having trouble forming my thoughts coherently.
First off, move over Chris Hemsworth, I've found a new man crush: Chris Pratt. I loved him in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he's every bit as funny, charming and, let's just say it, manly, in this film too. So even if you don't like dinosaurs that much, Chris Pratt makes some pretty damn good eye candy to make up for it.
Okay, moving on to the actual film...if I'm completely honest, I'm not a huge Jurassic Park fan. Not because the films aren't good, but because I last watched a Jurassic Park film about fifteen years ago and I cannot for the life of me remember anything that happens (except the scene in the kitchen - isn't there a scene in a kitchen?). So when the Engineer wanted to go and see this film, he practically had to drag me to it. A film about dinosaurs? Please, that is so 1990s.
But in reality...this film just blew me away. I know I didn't have the highest expectations for it, but even so - it was funny, it had heart-stopping action, it had characters that were relatable and that were actually developed (and continued to develop as the film went on); but most surprising of all, this film was scary. And I totally wasn't expecting that all.
There are quite a few scenes (obviously) where the new scary dinosaur chased our heroes through a variety of different settings, and each and every time, my pulse started going because I was absolutely terrified that one of them wouldn't make it out. Rationally I know that the writers wouldn't really kill off every major character in a film rated 12A, but they did such a good job of making me believe the utter terror of the situation that I simply couldn't tear my eyes away from the screen, no matter how much I wanted to. Turns out dinosaurs definitely are terrifying creatures after all.
I've already briefly mentioned the characters and although I've racked my brains, I cannot think of a single character that I disliked because they weren't well written. I disliked certain characters because they were the bad guys - and damn good ones at that. I loved the chemistry between Owen and Claire (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) and although it was pretty obvious how their relationship would develop, I still really enjoyed their on/off romance. For those of you who are Netflix geeks like me, you may recognise a certain Vincent D'Onofrio who pops up as the villain in this story. Having already seen him in Marvel's Daredevil, I already knew he could play a chilling villain. Although he's probably not quite as cold in this film (this is a essentially a kid's/teenager's film after all), and his motives are more obvious, he still does a stellar job of playing the bad guy. I was willing him to get his comeuppance - especially after what he does/wants to do to Owen's raptors - and I wasn't disappointed in the end. I didn't even mind the two children that were centre stage in this film (child actors can be pretty hit and miss sometimes - sorry, but it's true), as their acting was actually pretty good and I loved the bond between the two brothers.
Moving onto the other stars of this film: the dinosaurs. Jurassic World simply wouldn't complete without them, would it? Like I said, I can't remember any of the events in the previous films, so the Engineer had to fill me in on a bit of the backstory; but if you're a Jurassic Park fan, there are quite a few familiar faces that pop up. First of all, the Velociraptors; I know dinosaurs are savage and ferocious animals, but I still really wanted to pet one. Especially if Chris Pratt was with me. They're small, fast, kinda cute and have a lot of guts. I can see why people in Jurassic Park were so terrified of them, especially with their hunting and herding skills.
The Indominus Rex was quite simply terrifying. And it was made all the most terrifying by the fact that something like this could be created one day. We already have the science and technology available to clone and genetically modify animals, so the history behind this dinosaur was a bit too close for comfort for me. But what I loved most about this film was the fact that the dinosaurs were treated like animals and had to raised and taken care of properly, just like you would take care of a dog or cat. I never thought about dinosaurs having to have social skills before, but the Indominus Rex is proof that if you keep any animal in captivity and don't raise it properly, it can have terrible consequences for everyone. Also, there's a nice surprise at the end of the film as a very familiar dinosaur (who's probably the scariest dinosaur aside from the Indominus Rex) pops up to save the day...
Hint: it ain't this guy. The dinosaur 'hero' has stumpier arms
I'm going to have to stop writing this now, otherwise I could go on and on and on forever. I genuinely can't think of one bad thing to say about Jurassic World, and that's a first for me when it comes to writing reviews. I went into this film expecting to see lots of dinosaurs and chases through a jungle (which didn't disappoint), but I came away with a head full of characters that I can't get rid of, and a new-found respect for the franchise. It gave a nod to it's predecessors, while ultimately standing on it's own two feet. This film made me laugh, gasp and cry (yes, I actually did cry over the fate of the Apatosaurus and the Raptors) and most of all, it made me think. It wasn't just an all-action, brain fluff film - it made me think about serious social issues surrounding animals, and how the scenarios portrayed in the film could be applied to our everyday lives. I enjoyed this film so much, I'm actually trying to convince the Engineer and go and see it again with me.
So, in conclusion, if you do one thing this week, go and see this film. It's completely worth it.
And here's one last picture to leave you with:
Have you seen Jurassic World? What did you think of it? Do you like the original Jurassic Park films? Would you ever consider writing a book about dinosaurs...?