Posts : 1007 Points : 4484 Reputation : 70 Join date : 2012-04-06 Location : Chicago
Subject: VIDEO: The Problem with Jurassic World Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:43 pm
I will say this. The reviewer misses that a lot of purpose from the movie was intentional. The "ineptitude" was purposeful by Trevorrow. He wanted to portray a park that was more successful, thus leading to more confidence (and thus carelessness), but he always wanted to portray the Park as a corporate shill, and thus a shell of what the regal, grandiose style of the Park that Hammond dreamed of. He wanted to show that, had Hammond's Park been successful, this is the kind of bland, banal, flavorless park that it would become. It was no longer magnificent. It was watered down and Disney-fied. The Main Street itself is meant to evoke a kind of uninspired, unflattering copy of Main Street, USA, or the Epcot lagoon walk.
However, he does bring up a good point about Gray VS Tim. Tim, while talkative, energetic, and fanatical like Gray, brings a more subtle lifelike representation of what it's like to be a kid in this kind of setting. Gray was simply over the top and annoying. He reminded me of Lex from the novel in many ways, minus the over exaggerated whining. The way he rattles off numbers and statistics is, as the reviewer points out, atypical for a character that's meant to be representative of the every-child. When the movie first came out, questions arose: "Is Gray on the Autism Spectrum?" "Is Gray ADHD?" These are not the questions asked regarding your typical, every-child character. I'm not saying it's wrong to make a character autistic, or ADHD. Hell, I'm ADHD myself. However, either make the character so or don't. Don't write an every-character that has the traits of an overactive child. I'm writing this while listening to the review, and I got to the same conclusion he did, before I heard him get to it. I didn't know that the character was meant to be autistic and the idea was dropped. I came to that conclusion myself because it was obvious.
The reviewer also brings up good points about the characters lacking true personality. We fell in love with Ian Malcolm not because he was a Chaotician, because that wasn't what his personality, but because he was an oddball to the point of eccentricity. We didn't fall in love with Lex and Tim just because they were kids like we once were, not just because they represent a relationship of siblings that care about each even if they don't get along (just as Gray and Zach represent), but because they have their own distinct personalities. Tim is a dinosaur nut who idolizes Dr. Grant, and Lex is a reclusive computer nerd who gains a schoolgirl crush on Alan Grant. These are the traits that define them. Not just "annoyed yet caring older sibling" and "fanatical yet loveable younger sibling". The only characters that get personalities in the movie would be Owen, Masrani, and Lowery. Claire has, as the reviewer states, character traits that make up part of a personality, but no real personality herself. What Claire has instead, is a character arc. She moves from obsessive work-a-holic to caring, brave aunt. So what? We've seen that before. Grant is the same character from the plot point of view. He went from obsessive work-a-holic focused only on dusty old bones, to a caring fatherly figure to two kids whose family is broken.
And then the review goes and brings up the same point I've been talking about for a while now. This film has a problem with a suspenseful third act for the humans. You come to care more about the dinosaurs as characters than you do the humans. When you see the Raptors get hurt, you care for them, because you've come to know them better as characters than you have the humans. There's little tension to the Raptor chase because Owen trusts these animals, and has repeatedly made it a point of fact that he can have a relationship with them based on that mutual trust. So when you see them turn wild it doesn't feel like there's wild animals after you. They feel more like untrained dogs. Acting on instinct, sure, but there's still that human-animal bond that exists. Even Barry is able to have a relationship with them. Owen is still able to draw their attention and trust even after they've gone feral. The way the third act Raptor chase is shot is meant to evoke the Long Grass scene, and the Visitor Center chase, but it doesn't hold that tension because unlike the first movie - where you're repeatedly told these animals are dangerous to the point of needing to be destroyed and fears - in Jurassic World, we're repeatedly told these animals have a mutual relationship built on trust and respect with Owen, and Owen is one of the primary protagonists, so you can trust him too. There's a level of trust between the Raptors and the audience that wasn't there for the first three movies. Because that level of trust is there, you don't fear the Raptors as much as you should.
This has turned into a much lengthier post than I originally intended, so I'll wrap it up here. No, it doesn't have the same spirit of the first film, but that's okay. It's enough like the first film already. However, it does feel like it's missing the spirit of the franchise as a whole, and that's not okay. It became less of a film about man vs nature, and more about anti-Hollywood corporatism. In that sense, these anti-establishment sentiments make Trevorrow a perfect candidate for a Star Wars movie, but a less than perfect director for a Jurassic Park one. The problem with JW sometimes is that it tries to be similar to JP on a technical and plot level, but then turns around and doesn't take into serious consideration what it means to truly be a Jurassic Park movie on a thematic and symbolic level. It has the skin and clothes of a JP movie, but the soul of a modern action flick.