Same story, different dinosaur

Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

It’s sort of weird watching a movie that tries to tell us that utter profit and self-aggrandizement can be destructive when the objective of the movie is actually not art but out and out box office dollars for its home studio, Universal.

Everything about Jurassic World spells “formula.” They made a movie reviving a 20-odd-year-old franchise with all its essential ingredients thrown in: man playing God, corporate greed running haywire, kids going through puberty, a hero who cautions against playing with this kind fire, a damsel in distress, and of course—magnificent dinosaurs!

There is very blatant “product placement” in the film—a Starbucks is at the main entrance of the park, the Jurassic World hotel is a Hilton, the dinosaur exhibit and holograms are in the Samsung Hall, and Chris Pratt’s character has a swig of Coke from an old fashioned bottle while he’s repairing his motorcycle. The story is predictable, with a dash of family drama.

Despite all that, the movie’s producers and marketers know kids (and many adults) truly have a dinosaur phase where they are just completely fascinated by these prehistoric creatures: the giants, the flyers, the frightening predators, the monstrous swimmers. And we apparently never outgrow it for the most part. So yes, people will lap this one up.

There’s nothing much that’s new in terms of story or visuals: perhaps the new way to experience this is to take it as a ride—watch it on the 4DX and feel the earth-shaking thumping of the nasty, genetically engineered Indominus Rex, or vibrate along the rumbling of a running herd of dinosaurs, etc. Or maybe see it on the IMAX.

Apart from fan favorite Chris Pratt in the lead role (Owen Grady), BD Wong reprises his role as Dr. Henry Wu from the 1993 Jurassic Park movie. Daredevil’s Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin a.k.a. Vincent D’Onofrio is Hoskins—a man who wants to veer away from the theme park route and use dinosaurs for espionage and warfare. Irrfahn Khan who gave us such elegance and gravitas in Life of Pi is reduced to corporate shark who tries to be “cool.”

As with any cautionary tale, there has to be grown-ups and teenagers doing a bunch of stupid things, including disregarding common sense and after that, not paying attention when someone screams the warning out at you.

Sigh, you wish the upcoming franchise re-imaginings would be as fresh, clever and ostentatious as Mad Max.

Jurassic World opened Wednesday and is available in the 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D and 4DX formats.


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