director Colin Trevorrow
viewed: 06/27/2015 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA
Summer 2015 has been better already by a long shot over past summers for some while going back. Franchise re-boot Jurassic World won’t be the best film of the summer but it’s certainly part of the quality of the summer’s offerings. According to, or despite, what you may have heard, it’s a good summer movie with action, Chris Pratt and dinosaurs. It’s also indeed not merely vaguely sexist but seriously problematically sexist and doesn’t do thing to reinvent the summer movie genre.
But hey, summer movies are meant to be fun thrill rides, with splashes, explosions, and more than anything fun and entertainment. On that front, Jurassic World is pretty satisfactory.
There is a meta element to the film, self-reflexively commenting on corporatization, commercialization, and capitalism, in which humanity takes a back seat to profits profits PROFITS! And in which the idea of having to one-up the entertainment value of the need to ever-grow one’s market share and exceed expectations leads to genetically engineering a super dinosaur (because T-Rexes just were so 1993). This meta commentary seems deaf to its own echo of the fact that the film is a commercial project meant to land butts in seats, sell toys and junk, and to outdo whatever last version of Jurassic Park (1993) might still linger in our imaginations. The film is essentially what it mocks and condemns, though it’s doubtful that this movie will actually eat anyone or lead to massive deaths and trauma as the unleashed dinosaurs within the film do to their human counterparts.
Chris Pratt is probably a big part of why the film works. He’s a solid screen presence, handsome, hunky, funny, charming. And this matters because his female counterpart, Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), is a horribly trite and badly-written character. She’s all about that base, in the sense that the base is making money for her corporation. It takes the whole film to break her down to human feeling and by that point she’s a chick running around in heels being chased by a T-Rex until falling into a Fay Wray pose beneath battling dinosaurs.
A lot of virtual ink has been spilled on the sexism in the film. So I won’t try to personally belabor the analysis. I will say that it’s fair. It’s a serious shortcoming to the movie.
Really, the movie can be picked apart on a number of levels if you really want to go into it. The villains are shallowly developed and a lot of the story feels pretty perfunctory and underdeveloped.
But then again, it’s all about the dinosaurs, the new ones, the bigger ones, the genetically-enhanced ones, or even the giant sea dinosaurs a la Sea World. And it’s going to come down to a dino-battle at the end. And despite some levels of cynicism, there are also levels achieved of genuine entertainment and fun.
So, for my money, it was pretty good. Sure, it’s a qualified response, but not every movie can be Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)