Friday, June 12, 2015

Review: Jurassic World

Dino Slasher Mayhem! Where's The Wonder Gone?

Two and Half Stars

Mini Review:

It is big, bad and bloody minded. It kills everything because it can. It's terrifying rather than awe-inspiring. And if you don't like mindless killing, there's only one thing left to do: run. As far away from the theater as you can, to the wonder inducing original.

Main Review:

I was terrified. I admit. I have clutched my handbag so tight it has a permanent imprint. I have clutched at the shirt-sleeve of the friend sitting next to me so hard, that only when the credits rolled did I realise that his shirt was wrapped around my face like some burqua and he was shirtless and frozen stiff thanks to the relentless air-conditioning in the theater.

This is perhaps the one time I have ignored the trite lines being spouted by the principal characters and actively looked at the background to check if the horrendous monster dinosaur was lurking in the trees. 

'Everything is going to be okay!'
'I want to see everything!'
'Have a wonderful weekend!'
'We have created attractions'
'They're not attractions, they are real, live creatures.'
'We set out to make Indominus the most fearsome dinosaur ever to be displayed at Jurassic World. The genetic engineers at our Hammond Creation Lan have more than delivered. At first glance, Indominus most closely resembles a T-Rex...'

So the predictability of the Indominus with the bhelpuri DNA from ordinary creatures like cuttlefish and tree frogs and other creepy dinosaurs going rogue makes for the story of this movie. It's not like they're trying hard to tell us something new. And it's done with really scary effects. It's scarier than The Conjuring and The Babadook and slasher movies. It's horrible to see the carnage caused by the rogue dino. I loved watching the Brachiosaurus in Jurassic Park, I remember how it reaches out to Alan and the kids resting on the trees... 

Well, I hated the Indominus so much, here is how you could make sure no cuttlefish DNA is left for splicing when they really start creating dinos in real life:

That taken care of, let's look at the cardboard cutouts called people in the movie: 

1. There's a career woman who talks numbers. 
2. The brawny lad who has a soft spot for the dinosaurs. 
3. Two kids who break rules and need to be rescued. 
4. One bad guy with an agenda. 
5. One heartless scientist in a lab. 
6. Tourists who are just dino bait.
7. Assistants who are expendable.

Remember other heroines in other dino movies? Laura Dern who is a dino doc, Tea Leoni as the distraught mother, Julianne Moore is a Paleontologist too. They made you feel good. You wanted to rescue them from the bad dinos, you wanted to protect them. In Jurassic World, the heroine is a number crunching, marketing person, a little like the lawyer in the original Jurassic Park. Hardly endearing. In fact, I was hoping that the Indominus would eat her up just as the T-Rex gobbled up the lawyer cowering in the loo. 

The hero is cute enough, placed there to get the young women going, 'Aawwww! He cares for dinosaurs!' but he doesn't inspire the same confidence as Sam Neill or Jeff Goldblum who are intelligent and look like they know what they're talking about. This one is just muscle. Let's say even if you think baby Indiana Jones is going to save the day, you are not confident as to how he would beat the big, ugly Indominus.

The two kids who need to be rescued are so boringly predictable, you want to ground them for life if the dinosaurs let them live.

The bad guy with the agenda is Vincent D'Onofrio and he makes his 'I'm a bad guy with agenda' thing so obvious, you are glad you marked him down for dino dinner. You stopped caring for him from Broken Horses, and his end there wasn't grisly enough for the stupidity of the role, so you whoop loudly with delight when he gets eaten up. 

Irrfan Khan plays the role of John Hammond, and his helicopter scenes are so bad, you know the good CGI guy was on holiday for those scenes. Speaking of bad CGI, you'll grin when the dinos are feasting on people, because some people in the crowd are looking elsewhere while ducking, others don't even react when the person next to them is eaten up. That brings me to the grisliest dino feast part.

The dinos in the crowd as dinner scene don't just pick up this dino bait assistant and eat her up. They pick, they fling, they drop, they pick, they fling, they lose her, another dino picks up flung woman, then drops her into the water, she struggles, is picked up and dropped a couple more times and then a grislier end for both assistant and dino.

I have never seen such viciousness in killing. Not even in the b-grade slasher movies. Those movies make you want to eat cheese with popcorn. This one just shook me up.

I missed Jeff Goldblum's witty asides and the British Hunter who says, 'Clever Girl!' The only dialog that elicited any reaction from the audience was when the heroine rolls up her shirtsleeves and the hero says...

Wait a minute. You are going to see this mayhem packed franchise, aren't you? Now matter how dull the story is? Then I don't want to spoil that one good dialog for you. 

The creepy eye of the dino doesn't scare you any more. There is no music to make you wonder at the science and the amazing scenes of grazing dinos in front of you. You nod your head at the clever use of props from the earlier stories (worth one star the movie earns!) And you miss the familiar John Williams score

The surprise in the end is worth all the shock and hatred I felt through the movie. That itself earns a star on its own. The CGI is sophisticated, and that earns the half star. But the last fight is horrid and goes on and on. And you do wish one of the dinos flicked its tail in the direction of the heroine who seems to be posing there and hurt her, just a little bit, so you would go home happier and not scared.

But I was not alone in my fear. There were parents walking slowly towards the exit doors with children permanently fused to their bodies, their nails embedded on faces and backs and whatever surface of the parental units they could find. 

Of course, the franchise will make millions. But my heart will still lurch for the little girl who feeds the little Compsognathus in the not-so-great version of the movie and gets eaten up...

P.S. When Jurassic Park plays on TV, I watch it. When this one shows up, I'll be surely tuning in to one of the saas bahu sagas. Less scary. 

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