Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jurassic World [2015]

MPAA (PG-13) CNS/USCCB ()  ChicagoTribune (2 1/2 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB () review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (M. Zoller Seitz) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review

As best as I can understand it, Jurassic World [2015] (directed by Colin Trevorrow story by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly) is a "reboot / sequel" about making reboots / sequels, asking the question: How can one beat a movie about bringing a T-Rex back to life (Jurassic Park [1993])?

Well what can one do? (1) One can make a movie about bringing SEVERAL T-Rexes back to life (Jurassic Park II [1997]) or (2) one can make a film about bringing back, or heck, about just genetically engineering (creating), something EVEN BIGGER AND BADDER than the T-Rex (Jurassic Park III [2001] and now Jurassic World [2015]).  Then (3) hopefully, one can improve upon the special effects -- that's perhaps the most obvious thing that distinguishes the reboots of the 1960s era Planet of the Apes [2011] [2014] and Star Trek [2009] [2013] franchises -- and perhaps (4) one can dig a little deeper into the origins of the principal characters involved (the current film's screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver certainly played with the latter in their POTA reboot).

The current film banks on #1 and #2.  #3 is iffy (the principal improvement promises to be simply that the film was shot in 3D -- at a cost of $3-4/family member going ... ouch!).  What about #4?  That will honestly be up to you Readers if you go.  I myself can not justify going to see this movie, certainly not a full price, let alone 3D price.  I did see value in the Planet of the Apes reboot as the special effects of the 1960s were still not up to the task of doing the story justice.  The Star Trek reboot I find a twitching A.D.D. embarrassment.  What made the original Star Trek series what it was, were the almost stage-play quality (dare one say almost "late-20th century Shakespearean level") dialogues.  I just can't see "a bigger, more monstrous dinosaur" worthy of the analogously more monstrous ticket price.

What does frustrate/ fascinate me is why Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly of lovely / excellent / award winning / SMALL, INTELLIGENT "indie" Safety Not Guaranteed [2012] fame took-on this project.  Perhaps it was an offer that they simply couldn't turn down, but honestly, big budgets aside, what a let-down. 

BUT I WILL CONCEDE ONE POINT regarding the current film, that being that ART DOES IMITATE LIFE HERE: When I was a kid, the wondrous attraction at our local Chicago-area Brookfield Zoo was its dolphin tank (We even read about it in 3rd or 4th grade about how they flew the dolphins out to Chicago wrapped in special wet blankets, etc, etc).  Twenty years later, the new Shedd Acquarium on the Lake added a tank featuring somewhat larger beluga whales.  And of course, the "Sea Worlds" around the world now have Orca whales (once, and perhaps once again known as "killer whales") as their principal (crowd drawing) attractions. 

"Bigger" sells ... And yet, honestly, at what cost, to the animals. and even to the spectators asked to shell-out ever more money on ever higher ticket prices?

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