Hollywood Blockbusters are getting worse. Too remakes/reboots/reimaginings/”spiritual” spin-offs/whatever-you-wanna-call-em; or just straight-forward, crappy sequels continuing film franchises I grew up with in the ’80s and ’90s (when blockbusters were actually GOOD).
Ask my mates and they’ll tell you I’m sceptical of most things new. Every few years it seems there’s a Terminator film worse than the last; and I’ll never forgive those Alien Vs. Predator fuck-ups for trying, spectacularly, to destroy everything I loved about James Cameron and Ridley Scott’s Alien masterpieces (I’m still not over that… and doubt I ever will be).
Michael Bay getting his grubby hands into the Ninja Turtles franchise has by no means helped my faith in Hollywood Blockbusters; neither has the fact that the fifth Die Hard film is complete and utter tosh.
We aren’t talking spiritual successors anymore; we’re talking money. Hence why, at the minute, we see countless superhero movies being churned out one after the other, allowing whoever it is who’s bought the rights to quickly cash-in on the latest craze.
I’m getting side-tracked here already, but let’s just say films aren’t films anymore; they’re projects for money earners. It should be common knowledge the producers couldn’t give two fucks about what you, me or anyone else who needs their a fix. Like with most things, the reality is obvious: the bigger the profit, the shittier the output; and the less likely corporate execs are to care what the consumer wants and/or what the obsessed fanboy needs.
There’s been talk of a fourth Jurassic Park film coming out for years and I’ve kept my ear close to the ground purely as a Jurassic Park fan (I saw it at the pics in ’93 and had most of the figures). But upon hearing the news, I’ve never really felt excited or encouraged hearing the fourth film go into production; and the urge to see it as soon as it hit cinemas never really appealed to me for the reasons stated above.
Exaggerated science, well-staged action, likeable characters and big fucking dinosaurs worked with the first Jurassic Park; things got sillier in the sequel, The Lost World, but it was still entertaining; while Jurassic Park III ended up being pretty bad, in a b-movie sort of way. The last thing I wanted was another one of my childhood franchises being ruined and dumbed-down further, with boring characters and an overuse of green-screen special effects (and a video-game tie-in release thrown in for good measure).
Let’s cut to the chase. Jurassic World is a straight-forward sequel: no bullshit, the park is open and the dinosaurs are taking over. The surprising part, at least for me, is the fact that it’s actually good. Ok, it’s better than good. I saw it at the cinema a couple of days ago and already thinking it deserves a second viewing.
The fact that it shows human beings fucking around with nature and getting eaten for it through their own ridiculous use of science could be considered entertaining and successful for the most part, but Jurassic World works simply ’cause it feels like a Jurassic Park movie. The annoying kids, animal rights theme, obsession with Bio/Computer Technology advancements — they’re all there. It’s lacking the suaveness of Geoff Goldblum and the paternalism of Sam Neil; but Jurassic World’s got a tough frontman in the form of Chris Pratt, which was arguably lacking in the films before.
My biggest fear was seeing an endless amount of CG-effects and the dinosaur world not looking anything like the actual world. Come on, you know that feeling you get when you watch films with crappy computer-generated effects and it just feels like the human characters are overlapping computer layers and aren’t really there? Yeah, I know, they’re movies, but it’s nice to be immersed in the big-screen world, feel the tension and the struggle, otherwise what’s the point?
The first Jurassic Park blended CGI with live-action dinosaur robots seamlessly and is considered a milestone in bridging modern and more traditional special effects. Jurassic World made me reminisce of the days where the benefits of CGI were been utilized in big budget summer blockbusters, where digital sprites had a stage presence and were actually interesting to look at. This is a quite an appealing film to the eye, it has to be said, showcasing the strengths of CGI as it’s become more advanced since the days of the first film; while co-workers of the late Stan Winston even have a hand in the animatronics.
The effects are impressive, but they’re by no means the be all and end all of the film. The atmosphere of a fully-functioning dinosaur amusement park is generated through slow-building of early scenes and the viewer relating to the sceptical nature of its central character, Owen (Pratt). We all know things are going to kick-off, but we remain intrigued enough to see how.
I like the idea that Capitalism is basically nearing its peak of ridiculousness; so ridiculous, in fact, that the CEO of Jurassic World, Mr Masrani (Irrfan Khan), has decided he wants to “build” the ultimate dinosaur as a tourist attraction in the form of “Indominus” — half raptor, half t-rex. We’re moving away from the semi-Scientific realism of the first film here, to more King Kong/Godzilla territory, but the social commentary/satire is handled well to the point that it feels like we’re shouting down a long and empty corridor to try and get the big-money corporate execs to listen.
The danger of Jurassic World’s exploitative scientific methods is very much a realistic concept (I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if some big-headed science division thought it would be a good idea to re-create dinosaurs, sometime in the future, for the sake of opening a Sea World-style theme park and making profit). The decision to expand Dr. Henry Wu’s role (from the first film) is significant in making the point that human beings have the capabilities/stupidity to outdo themselves with their own creations, with no expenses spared.
Don’t you wish human beings would stop being so greedy and pig-headed in their attempts to define nature?
Me too. Still, it’s nice to see a few of them get eaten for it; and it’s good to see a franchise still going strong without a crappy sequel tarnishing its name in the modern day. I liked Jurassic World — I could see it again — I’m particularly impressed with whosever’s idea it was to resurrect the Wrangler jeep from the first film. Nice touch.