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Offsite: My Letterboxd review of Jurassic World

Reblogged from my Letterboxd list:

I can see why the hype for Jurassic World cooled off fairly soon after release this summer, as it’s simply a Bad Movie. In lieu of a review as such, here are a few points that stuck in my craw:

  • We’re supposed to disapprove of Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) who can’t/won’t make time for her nephews because she’s too busy running the park, the classic abandonment/redemption trope. Except, they’re her nephews, not her own kids? Kids who, I might add, have been foisted upon her because their actual parents are going through a break-up or something? What real responsibility does she have to them, other than making sure they’re safe and having a good time, which is exactly what she does by ensuring her assistant accompanies them around the park? We’re supposed to shame her for being too obsessed with her job to see what’s really important in life, blah blah. But what if she loves her job? She doesn’t seem overwhelmed by it, even in the face of big changes needed to turn around dwindling visitor numbers. If we’re supposed to despise her hubris when it comes to the Indominus rex, the film makes pretty clear that she’s not responsible for its creation, nor for its inevitable escape, only for overseeing the project as an executive, so we don’t even have that much.

  • Even the film realises we’re not buying any of this and abandons the redemptive arc before we’re even halfway through, turning Claire into a typical damsel in distress behind the Gary Stu intrepid hero archetype Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) – albeit one with hints of Daphne Zuniga’s Princess Vespa in Spaceballs, of all movies, though the satirical edge of her losing an article of clothing between set-pieces is lost here. The high-heels thing is the least of this character’s problems. (Why do Claire and Owen kiss? They have zero chemistry! The story doesn’t even hint at any growing attraction! But wait, it’s a beat they have to hit because it’s expected as part of the trope, isn’t it? Now move along…)

  • There is no ‘wow’ factor, other than ‘wow, this CGI is fucking terrible’. Did they run out of time and budget? None of the digital imagery looks like it exists in the world; it’s only a step above the cheapo likes of Sharknado. The original Jurassic Park looks far superior, and that was 22 years ago! It was also scarier, whereas Jurassic World’s attempts at shock and surprise elicit barely a flinch (and this in the age of the jump scare?).

  • Speaking of the original, virtually every scene in this movie could prompt a pop-up from Conan’s Andy Richter in the corner of the screen bleating ‘Memba This?’ The film is all references fleshing out its thin-as plot, constantly distracting from its own shortcomings by evoking nostalgia for better times. And it doesn’t even stop at referencing the Jurassic Park series, with at least one bit riffing on RoboCop that I noticed. I’m certain further study would reveal more, but I’m not about to subject myself to that any time soon.