Jurassic World [IMAX/3D]
This movie is a conundrum. A fairly entertaining film that was poorly written, directed, acted and, sadly, scored. And yet, it will surely draw in the crowd. Mad Max: Fury Road is still the reigning champion of this Summer.
Even for someone like me who had never watched a single piece of trailer, teaser or seen a still from the film, there was nothing throughout its 124 minutes running time that shocked me, awed me or left me impressed. The best moment was when John William's iconic Jurassic Park score played in the beginning, and even there it was more nostalgia than anything else.
And therein laid the problem. Nostalgia.
Director Colin Trevorrow and cinematographer John Schwartzman tried, but nothing on screen captured the magic, wonder, fear, trepidation, surprise, triumph and awe of Spielberg's original.
The shallow script by Trevorrow et al certainly added nothing to the mix. The plot and contrivances were acceptable - ludicrous but acceptable - but the characters were all so poorly written and the dialogue were even worse: clunky and cheap. They really were mining for the lowest common humour.
Furthermore, they committed the biggest sin in movie making: show not tell, and to make it worse, they not only told, they rambled. Gosh, their target audience must be really dumb.
Trevorrow went too big. One of the key things that made Jurassic Park so successful were that we cared for the characters - yes, even the annoying girl. But here, the focus were not on the humans but clearly on the spectacle of the dinosaurs.
It actually bordered on being smartly meta - but I doubt they actually wanted that.
Oh, and way too much blatant and in-your-face product placements. It bordered on obscene.
But having well written characters was one thing, getting the actors to be the characters were another. Laura Dern and Sam Neil and Jeff Goldblum effectively became household names after Jurassic Park. We cared that they survive. We related to them.
Trevorrow did not coax such performances from his cast.
When Star Lord met The Kingpin, you wished something will just eat them up to end the moment.
Chris Pratt became a star after Guardians of the Galaxy, but this film is not doing him another favour. He should be glad that he signed a multi-film contract with Marvel. He excels in comedy, and comedy-action, but definitely not when otherwise. And obviously the director and writers did not know how to capitalise on his strength. Poor guy was really just strutting and putting on macho poses and giving his hero-stare.
Bryce Dallas Howard was no better. Joss Whedon was right. This movie is sexist. Howard had no real purpose other than to be the romantic interest of Pratt.
Ever since Daredevil, I look at Vincent D'Onofrio differently, but here he is such a cartoon villain. One dimensional, exposition-spouting villain.
The two children, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson, had a bond that should have been explored more. They offered a few of the better moments, but they were short and fleeting. And neither were really engaged with the audience.
As aforementioned, the stars here are the dinosaurs and not the characters. However, like the mantra of the film's theme park itself, it seemed that bigger = better. Not really.
It is sad when even the climatic big battle at the end did not engage the adrenals as much as it could.
And even sadder was that this was possibly one of Michael Giacchino's poorest score. It was distracting more often than not, and even his end credits suite paled in comparison to what he did for Cloverfield.
Having said all that, this movie should be watched on a big screen and in 3D. IMAX would be even better. But the extra cost will be harder to justify. Children would definitely love it.
They are so obviously planning for a sequel. Please make it better.
I am going to go listen to John William's score now.