Jurassic World could’ve been special but instead we get thinly developed characters, a plot that’s a rehash of the original and a subplot that even Dr. Evil would think was ridiculous. But all of that could be overlooked if it were fun and entertaining; instead I found it to be on the dull side with little suspense to help mask the film’s imperfections.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Universal Studios | PG13 – 125 min. – $49.98 | October 20, 2015
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Jurassic World, the highly anticipated sequel to the long popular franchise dating back 22 years, finally is upon us and apparently unlike the majority out there, I found it to be rather mundane and, at times, even dull with only one scene standing out. I have to think the film’s popularity is part nostalgia and part the fact it is technically better than Jurassic Park III.
Claire Dearing (BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD) is the parks operations manager for Jurassic World, a popular amusement park located on Isla Nublar, the original locations during the events of Jurassic Park in which several people were brutally mamed and killed. The park has been open for ten years and despite having living breathing frickin’ dinosaurs roaming about, even some tame enough to pet and ride, CEO Simon Masrani (IRRFAN KHAN), taking over the company after Hammond’s death.
Visiting the park are Claire’s nephews, Zach (NICK ROBINSON) and Gray (TY SIMPKINS), but since she’s too busy courting sponsors for a new hybrid dino, named Indominus rex (or I. rex), a cross between the T. rex and several predators whom are only known to chief geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (BD WONG).
We are also introduced to, kid you not, raptor trainer and male testosterone extraordinaire Owen Grady (CHRIS PRATT) who has a special relationship with a trio of raptors nicknamed Delta, Echo, Charlie and Blue. However, they might be trained but they are still deadly, a fact lost on military contractor Vic Hoskins (VINCENT D’ONOFRIO) who, get this, wants to use these dinos in warfare, to ferociously attack the enemy in the Middle East. Seriously.
As with any Jurassic movie, all hell must break loose… literally. The I. rex is a smart bastard, able to lure its prey out into the enclosed playpen and in the process of the escape of the hapless security guard, opens the doors which allow the monster to escape into the wild, though, at this point, still a safe distance away from the park, of course you can guess, not for long.
I am actually amazed that in the 14 years since Jurassic Park III (which wasn’t very good in its own right) that this is what the writers could come up with. Conceptually, Jurassic World could’ve worked but thanks to the shoddy screenplay we instead get a disappointing flick that probably needed some re-tooling in many areas.
One such area are the characters. Each and every one of them is one-note. You’ve got Chris Pratt’s Grady who is a composite of every male lead you’ve seen in an action movie and strangely, and why Pratt was so good in Guardians of the Galaxy, he’s not terribly charming. Bryce Dallas Howard for her part proves she just might be the female equivalent of Sam Worthington: looks good and technically should be a lead yet has the personality of a plain cardboard box. However, to Howard’s and Pratt’s defense, their characters aren’t well written or well developed, and that includes an incredibly forced romance between the pair. And then you’ve got Vincent D’Onofrio who has the pleasure of spouting some of the more inane dialogue in this thing, particularly the militarization of the raptors.
Beyond the bland characters, you’ve got some questionable plot elements and contrivances. There’s the tried and true sporadic cell phone reception where it’s bad enough they used this horror-centric device once but do it again because, well, convenience (or lack of). There’s one scene where the two boys are on a gyroscope ride thingy and for some reason can control where they go and apparently there’s no mechanism to override it or stop it from going into restricted areas (as Honest Trailers rightly pointed out, there are stores that can stop people from taking their carts out of the parking lot…). There’s also the idea that, as I mentioned earlier, somehow people have grown kind of tired of the dinos and there was the need to create new ones to keep the public’s attention. Yeah, ok.
On the plus side, the visual effects weren’t bad yet unless it’s a SyFy made-for-TV movie or something from Asylum, one should expect good or great effects from a $150+ million budget Hollywood movie though that being said, the original 22 years ago still holds up well so not sure how big of a plus it is here. Also good was a fight scene between the I. rex and an old friend, not to mention raptors, which was one of the coolest scenes and almost made up for the flaws. Almost.
I can’t say I was vastly disappointed with Jurassic World but I did expect more especially given how the franchise was last left off with, to say the least, a lackluster effort. The writing was bad, the direction from Colin Trevorrow (who previously helmed Safety Not Guaranteed and is set to direct Star Wars: Episode IX) was generic and in spite of some nasty dinosaurs not all that thrilling and acting that was at best passable. Worse of all, I really didn’t find this movie all that fun or entertaining which would’ve easily masked the film’s shortcomings.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a front lenticular slip cover and the 3-discs (3D BD/BD/DVD) are housed in a standard Blu-ray case. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Deleted Scenes (6:08; HD) – We get a selection of scenes removed or cut down more than likely due to pacing and a few were just not necessary, including more character moments between the boys lost in the jungle.
Chris and Colin Take on the World (8:57; HD) is a funny interview with Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow including footage of Pratt’s video from years ago on starring in Jurassic Park IV.
Welcome to Jurassic World (29:52; HD) is a behind-the-scenes featurette and includes sound bites with Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, Director Colin Trevorrow and others in the cast and crew.
Dinosaurs Roam Once Again (16:29; HD) focuses on integrating CGI dinos with filming on set as actors must act against basically nothing.
Jurassic World: All Access Pass (10:11; HD) is a behind-the-scenes featurette that includes comments from the director and others. I think this in part was supposed to be integrated into the film but instead is just a short featurette.
Innovation Set Tour with Chris Pratt (2:01; HD) looks at the visitor’s center set.
Jurassic’s Closest Shaves (3:00; HD) is presented by Barbasol showing scenes from all the Jurassic movies.
2D VIDEO – 5.0/5 | 3D VIDEO – 3.75/5
Universal Studios Home Entertainment unleashes Jurassic World onto Blu-ray presented in its original theatrical 2.00 widescreen aspect ratio and unsurprisingly, the picture looks incredible. Detail is amazingly sharp while colors are brilliant and dark levels stark showing no obvious signs of artifacting or aliasing. This is basically reference quality work.
The 3D transfer unfortunately isn’t as impressive. The depth perception is OK at times but then others it’s not as apparent. That said, colors come through well enough and some interior shots look good as do wider shots so although it’s not as comparable with other recent 3D releases, it’s still fine, just more on the disappointing side.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
The movie was given a DTS-HD 7.1 track (interesting no Atmos for this) and as with the picture, it’s more or less reference worthy though not quite as dynamic or rich compared with other 7 channel offerings. Still, dialogue levels were crisp and clear and the numerous action sequence show off each and every speaker fairly well. I felt the LFE track could’ve been better but all in all, it’s a solid soundtrack.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Jurassic World could’ve been special but instead we get thinly developed characters, a plot that’s a rehash of the original and a subplot that even Dr. Evil would think was ridiculous. But all of that could be overlooked if it were fun and entertaining; instead I found it to be on the dull side with little suspense to help mask the film’s imperfections. The Blu-ray released by Universal offers up excellent audio/video transfers (along with a nice 3D presentation) and an OK selection of bonus material.
Brian Oliver a.k.a. The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.