So up until this point, this WordPress blog has been vaguely professional, kinda bland, and mostly about writing and fiction.
Today, Imma ditch all that and talk about dinosaurs.
***********Movie Spoilers Ahoy!!!**********
I literally just got back from watching Jurassic World about five minutes ago. This movie and Mad Max: Fury Road are the only movies I’ve seen this year that have left me energized after leaving the theater, though Mad Max left me a bit emotionally drained since I was riveted on the edge of my seat for nearly the entire film, and then screaming various things about Valhalla on the way home. (I enjoyed that movie, in case you couldn’t tell.) Jurassic World, though, had me chattering excitedly about all the things I liked in the movie, and there were a lot, especially when it came to the science. Because SCIENCE. I can’t say without research how accurate the movie was regarding all the technical details, but it certainly felt like the writers had done their homework, and the social behavior of the big bad dino felt particularly well done. (At least until the end… she settled unbelievably quickly into the role of pack alpha after being isolated for her entire life and then displaying extremely aggressive antisocial tendencies once out in the “wild.”)
Now, there were some plot things that niggled at me, mostly because they didn’t get resolved. These ranged from minor things like Zach’s disinterest in his girlfriend to medium things like did those flying dinos, by any chance, make it off the island all the way to much, much, much… much larger things like letting the T-Rex out (I know you needed more teeth but once the big thing is killed by the bigger thing, what does one do about the bigger thing???). In spite of all that, this was still a fun movie, and watching Chris Pratt ride around with a pack of velociraptors was all kinds of amazing.
Makes me confident that he’ll be able to successfully defend our galaxy once another big bad finally decides to get out of his cosmic armchair.
But anyway, back to the dinosaurs.
I have to confess that I had not seen the original Jurassic Park until last Thanksgiving. I don’t know why, but that was a thing, and when a visiting friend found out that I had committed this cinematic crime, it was immediately decided which movie we would be watching that night. That was another fun movie, and while I’m no film authority, Jurassic World seemed like it enjoyed staying loyal to it’s predecessor, and seemed to literally and figuratively build off of it quite lovingly. Until, that is, it crushed the bones and burned the banner, but hey, one of those things was about a blatant power display and callback to the original film, and the other was about plot-related survival. I’ll let you guess which was which.
There were instances where the references felt a bit heavy handed (new dinosaur crushes old dinosaur bones! Shot recreation! RAWR!), but at the same time, it was fun to point at those elements and have and “OOOOOHHHH!!!” moments. I’m actually excited for the critical analyses to come out (and you can be certain that they will come) because I’d love to see what symbolism there is just below the surface of the movie that I may have overlooked, and I’m sure there’s a fair bit. For example, Jurassic Park had that moment in the helicopter where a faulty seatbelt needed to be improvised using the two female ends, which was an amazing way to foreshadow the big plot twist that came later in the movie. Jurassic World definitely had a moment like that in the control room where Claire and Lowery talk about chaos and control and everything being on the brink of falling into disaster. Then a cup of soda gets knocked over just after Claire knowingly pushes a trashcan into position to catch it. Not exactly as subtle as the seatbelt detail, but an interesting moment of foreshadowing, I’d say.
I also liked Claire’s neat, clean, and notably white appearance devolving into this dirty, stained, chaotic mess as she gradually accepts that she cannot hold her vice grip on her life forever while trying to outmaneuver the genetically engineered dinosaur, who also happens to be white and weirdly in control of her own abilities. And when I say weirdly, I mean terrifyingly. That was a pretty cool dinosaur, though I wish the movie had shown her using her abilities more than once. Intelligence, camouflage, even what was basically natural a heat sink. I understand why it wasn’t necessary, but it would’ve been nice to get something like that rather than just giant dinosaur nuzzles truck and may or may not smell the terrified protagonists hiding behind it (though we all know she definitely does… you just can’t be that close to a dino nostril and not be detected!). The intelligence definitely came through for most of the film, from the distraction in the holding pen to the quick understanding of how the plate armor worked on the ankylosaurus, though she kinda devolved into pack leader by virtue of size alone, and then into just giant muscles and teeth by the very end, which was then defeated by bigger giant muscles and more teeth. It wasn’t the most satisfying way to solve the genetically engineered dinosaur problem, at least from my point of view. I was really hoping for something a bit more involved, and less trying to dominate the Indominus Rex through brute force, but at least there was Blue.
Aside from all of that, there was the generally fun, sometimes subtle, sometimes on-the-nose, sometimes IN YOUR FACE commentary the film made on today’s world. I suppose you can’t really genetically engineer an ultimate predatory dinosaur and not take the opportunity to say something about humans going too far too fast. Or at least you can’t in the Jurassic universe. Though, I have to admit, I kinda love the fact that the genetically engineered dinosaur is called Indominus Rex, because that means they made an iRex.
I’m serious. It’s an iRex. The first model came in white. And there were plans to make Minis, too!
One thing I NOT like about the movie was the death of Claire’s assistant. I didn’t mind that it happened, and there were plenty of deaths on screen that it wasn’t really a big deal at the end of the day, but I did mind that it was oddly drawn out. Everyone else died rather suddenly, and while those deaths were brutal and pretty horrifying because how much do you REALLY want to see someone get eaten by a dinosaur, this was a graphic death, and I am saying that after watching I don’t even know how many other people get eaten by a dinosaur. I should’ve been a bit desensitized by that point, but I think the problem was that it was not only longer than all of the other deaths, but also made a point of following the assistant throughout the entirety of her long, scream-filled death scene, all for the sake of showing the mosasaurus again. It felt unnecessary, or at least unnecessarily long. That’s my take on it, at least.
All that aside, though, I really did like this movie, and I would happily watch it again. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s humorous, it’s dark, it’s even poignant at certain points. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it was good enough that I wanted to pop over here and write 1200+ words about dinosaurs.
But then again, dinosaurs are awesome.