15 June 2015

No Expense Spared

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Now, before we go any further, I feel I should point out that I think that Jurassic Park is perfect in every single way. If you told me now that there was a movie starring Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern and Richard Attenborough then I'd have my pants off and my pop-corn ready before you even got to the title. If you then told me that the cast would then spend the bulk of the movie running away from huge dinosaurs then I'd probably just start crying due to how flawless that idea is. Sobbing whilst naked from the waist down really is the only proper way to react to a plot description of Jurassic Park. It has a fat man falling down a waterfall, a triceratops with the shits, and a sneaky, ninja T-Rex at the end. What more could anybody ever want from a movie?! The sequels decreased in quality as the franchise marched on but I'd argue that they were still never less than good. Sure Jurassic Park 3 isn't the best but it's not much worse than Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Neither films might reach the heights of the groundbreaking original but they both have their moments. The scene in which Julianne Moore falls onto a sheet of cracking glass is one of unbelievable tension, and if you don't like the idea of a dinosaur that's eaten a phone and now has his own ringtone, then I don't think we're ever going to get along. 

It is therefore with some excitement that I came to Jurassic World. I'll let you find your own joke in that previous sentence... It's been twenty years since the first Park went titties up but finally they've gotten the thing open and ready for the public. In order to keep visitors wanting to return however, it's been decided that they'll create a really scary monster-dinosaur-hybrid and then not bother figuring out what it can actually do. They half explain how they've managed this but it essentially boils down to mixing up a bunch of creatures like you’re making a fucking cocktail. Throw a load of shit together, shake them about and then leave to stand for a few minutes before plonking the results in an enclosure and hoping nothing goes wrong. Sounds a bit dangerous to me... If they wanted something odd to keep the tourists interested then they could have just had a topless Jeff Goldblum being forced to make his trademark weird noises as part of an enclosure. But what do I know? Anyway, as with the first film, it seems that mad scientists and fucking stupid staff members aren't a great combination and so people quickly find themselves being the crunchy element of a dino-snack. Meanwhile two kids are pissing about in the dangerous part of the now fucked area of the park and it's up to their Aunt who seems to run the thing to rescue them. Or rather, it's up to her to get a bloke that's blatantly sexually harassing her to rescue them for her.  

So like I say... I was excited. Very excited. The kind of excitement that could only result in one of two conclusions... I'd walk out that cinema screen over-joyed that I'd been taken back to my childhood or I'd walk out proclaiming that it'd just been raped. Luckily for me, I thought it was fucking amazing! I mean how could I not? It's got raptors running alongside a motorbike, it's got a weird hamster-ball dino-safari, and it's got a creature so big that it eats Jaws for breakfast. In fact, the only image of spectacle that it doesn't have over the original is a Robert Muldoon-esque character cramming himself into the shortest, tightest shorts I've ever seen. Seriously, I re-watched Jurassic Park the other day and I can only assume that the actor Bob Peck's cock must have been crammed down to having the density of a diamond during some scenes. I'm not claiming Jurassic World to be perfect because clearly it isn't, however as we left the screen it seemed that somebody had thrown their guts up and vomited all down the stairs during the movie. Before I stepped into a puddle of their stomach spew and based entirely on how exciting this film was, I couldn't help but agree with them.  

As far as roller-coaster rides go, this was one of the most fun and self-aware blockbusters that there's been in a long time. In fact it's so self-aware that that it seems to always have half a foot in the land of the meta. When they claim that they've had to create a new monster because people aren't impressed by seeing dinosaurs now, they're not talking about their tourists, but us as an audience. Do you really think that people in real life would ever get sick of seeing a Tyrannosaurus? I tend to go the zoo at least once a year and all you'll see there is an elephant trying not to go mad by using its trunk to role about a few lumps of shit. However since Jurassic Park was released twenty-ish years ago, we've had a slew of special effects movies that have desensitized us to the awe of the park's creatures. The film constantly refers back to the original all the time too. Beyond the obvious easter eggs such as old jeeps and discarded night-vision goggles, there's also the hamster ball attack which intentionally mirrors the T-Rex's attempt to eat the kids in the original. There's even an exchange between the two kids in this movie as they attempt to work a cattle-prod that is pretty much identical to one in the original where the kids try to switch on a torch. In a way, I think that this is simultaneously the films biggest strength and weakness. 

If you're a geek then now is a great time to live. Sure we might be socially repulsive to people of the opposite sex but the movies that are currently being made are fucking amazing. Not only have we got comic book films being shat out left, right, and centre, but all of our favourite franchises are being helmed by people who love them as much as us. This year alone we've got J.J Abrams doing Star Wars, Sam Mendes doing Spectre and now Collin Trevorrow making Jurassic World. As a huge fan of Jurassic Park, it's hard not to love this one too because it's essentially just one massive love letter to the original. The problem is that beyond that it doesn't really have much else to say. Not to suggest that the surface isn't both exciting as hell and a joy to have pissing into my eyes. But Jurassic Park continued the theme of parenthood that Spielberg seems so obsessed with as Dr Grant and the dinosaurs all came to terms with the idea of having children. Notice how on his helicopter ride in, Grant has two female parts of a seat belt, manages to make them work anyway and then flies home with two children under his arms? That's essentially an identical arc that the monsters go through. The only subtext that Jurassic World seems to have is “Wasn't Jurassic Park fucking amazing!!!” 

The other thing that Jurassic Park has over Jurassic World is that its characters are simply a hell of a lot better. In the original, they feel much more rounded and complete, their interactions not only seem completely natural but also usually push the story forward too. Goldblum's Ian Malcolm manages to not only flirt with Laura Dern but also explain the meaning of chaos and foreshadow why everything is going to fuck up.  Whereas in this new movie, every single person essentially plays an archetype of some form or another. There's been criticism regarding the sexist overtones of having Bryce Dallas Howard play the cliché of a frosty business woman but you could argue the same of Pratt's macho alpha-male. Although note that he still doesn't have the confidence to attempt something as brave as Bob Peck's short shorts. In fact by having traits of both he basically comes across as the bastard love child of Grant and Muldoon. They probably combined the DNA of those two characters and had Pratt hatch out of a fucking egg. The only reason that his character hasn't come under as much criticism is because as far as tropes go, his is a much more flattering one. Males get the cool guy who has his own pack of raptors and women get a moody bitch who tries to hide her humanity behind a clipboard. Even the kids in this only serve two sole purposes- the first is to act as our eyes into the movie and the second is as a McGuffin. We walk in with them and hear the same exposition that they do before they get themselves lost causing the plot to revolve around getting them back. I shouldn't be too hard on that aspect though as all Lex from the original seems to do is scream and lock doors when she sees a dinosaur. She might look like a little girl but based on her efficiency she's pretty much the best security system that Jurassic Park has ever had. 

Still, like I say, I did love this movie. Each character might exist solely to take us from one set-piece to the next but it moves at such a speed and with such joy that it's sort of hard to care too much. In fact, it's a credit to how good this movie is that being slightly hollow and full of two dimensional characters simply stops it being a masterpiece rather than killing it completely. People will probably start arguing about how stupid some of the scenes are but lets not forget how stupid parts of the first movie are too. Sure the method in which they bring the creatures back is closer to actual fucking magic than any real science but that's the way it's always been. And sure it makes no sense that they would open the park after everything that's gone wrong in the last few films but then SeaWorld is still open isn't it?! How many people need to be found naked in the Killer Whale tank having had their dick bitten off before that place gets shut down? I think if you're going to be pedantic about a film that has a ridiculous central concept to begin with then it's probably time you popped yourself down to the shops and got yourself a fucking life. It's easy to pick holes in a film like this but then it's also easy to love every single second of it too. Some of us have spent almost two decades wondering if there'd ever be a Jurassic Park sequel that was better than The Lost World but it seems that finally, life has found a way. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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