Review: Jurassic World


Image: Universal Pictures
Image: Universal Pictures

‘It will eat you alive.’ 3D, IMAX or whatever new innovation might one day be able to chomp you in the comfort of your cinema stall. The only thing threatening Tarzan and Jane – sorry, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard (yes, that really is her name) – is the legacy of the past. Fans of the franchise have a similar fetish to Bond fans during Skyfall. All of the old favourites come out to play – sadly no Richard Attenborough – just swap the DB9 for a Jeep with a ’92 number plate. Oh yes, and Javier Bardem for an indominus rex as the bad guy. Both have nice teeth.

For those who thought Skyfall lurched into pastiche rather than appreciation, Jurassic World is firmly in the former category. Gory, yes, but director Colin Trevorrow daubs the franchise in the blood of its former glory. Much like BD Wong’s mad scientist, Trevorrow wants to make Jurassic Park bigger, better and cooler; in short, take it from a Park to a World. First impressions are low key to say the least. Alton Towers has nothing to fear from the South American islet (actually Hawaii) that forms Jurassic World. Anyway, the fun to death ratio is far higher here. It is more Longleat, as over 22,000 paying punters become prey for the prehistoric.

Death, destruction and a whole host of attempts to inoculate humour through Jurassic Park references, ensue for the next two hours. Comedy is best when it is not hatched in a test tube marked obvious. By the end, it will be boredom and laughter that are more likely to kill humanity than a bite from a T Rex. While the makers were certainly angling for the laughter, the boredom will be a major disappointment. But it bores badly. The CGI would make either Attenborough wince. Meanwhile, the action is so predictable. The next scare is seen from a mile away. The chase scenes from The Incredibles had more innovation. When Disney defeats the dinosaur, you know you are losing at life.

Trevorrow brings the world to the jurassic. The only thing out of this world is the preternatural product placement. A favourite being Pandora and Starbucks, whose shop fronts form the backdrop to the inevitable showdown between rexes indominus and T. Let’s just say he’s more of a coffee kinda guy. What Pandora could possibly gain from having its window smashed through by a flying Velociraptor (they couldn’t even fly!), is hard to say. Perhaps jewellery sales go through the roof under the imminent danger of death. Do they add a seam of realism to an otherwise fantasy tale? No. They are part of a grand scheme to detach the Jurassic franchise from any capitalistic complaints.

The lambasting of corporate identity is a constant within the film, with the danger of profiteering and the ever expanding nature of capitalism to seek more (dinosaurs). Yet, take a closer look and, like the giant aquarium that houses the showstopper Mosasaur, the film is full to bursting point with the murky waters of advertising opportunism. You will drink Coke, of course. You will watch this film on a Samsung, with international data coverage provided by Verizon. You will listen through Beats headphones. You will drive a Mercedes-Benz (they couldn’t avoid Jeep to be honest). This becomes a blanket so the film can sit snugly in its apparent critique of capitalism, while rolling in the dollars of these global corporations. Producing the halo effect to distract the fans from the fact that this is a flagrant attempt to resuscitate a franchise and milk it for all its worth. In an age where advertisers are increasingly subordinated by the rise of ad-blocking technology and recorded television, the big screen has become the billboard of the twentieth century. There is no opt out button when you have paid top dollar to enter into a two hour, themed advertising extravaganza. But Coke bottles do look even more epic in 3D. It is a 12A in the UK. Rumour is that the A is for Advertisements.

Another trend in film of late has been the resurgence of feminism. As the advertisers troll twitter and bombard women with tag lines like ‘Are You Beach Body Ready?’, Hollywood seems to appreciate the significance of female emancipation. Look at Mad Max, a reboot which stuffed pregnant women in the desert and made them cosy up to Tom Hardy. This trend ends with Jurassic World. Bryce Dallas Howard is the butt of jokes for all the wrong reasons. Her only salvation is that she rebuts the absolutely irresistible, oil drenched, Coke drinking Chris Pratt’s lecherous advances. At the film’s end, she even loses this gateway to credibility. She opens love’s door and lets him fly straight into her arms. She is a stereotype in tottering stilettos. The whole ‘back to the wild’ trope is just a strange man’s sexual fantasy put to film in some dark closet. She strips layers until at the end, gasp, she even gets off her high horse – sorry, heels. She is so utterly seductive, it is easy enough to mistake her for Pandora. She should definitely go back in her box.

So, as we await Star Wars, yawn, here was another completely pointless reboot of a franchise that should have stayed in the graveyard shift of lazy late night television schedules. Give it another sixty-five million years and maybe, just maybe, we might have had our last nostalgia trip into the film archive. But in the age of an unimaginative Hollywood driven by fat bankers, syndicate syntheses and share prices, originality has been throw out of the Wall Street windows. So here we have a fat, unimaginative, unoriginal pastiche that is sure to bulge the pay packet of the rich. Yippee! Celebrate that with a Coke, Mr Trevorrow…

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