16 October 2015

Viewing Notes on Jurassic World

A few years ago I watched a lot of movies, wrote a lot of reviews.  Over the past two years my movie watching habit has mostly died.  First there was work, then I generally lost interest in the new releases. For the past four months I've been committed to a daily reading quota that has tended to eliminate movie-watching from my evenings, and from my weekly routine. I keep thinking to myself, "When is something worth watching going to come along?" Tonight I was looking through the recent releases and saw Jurassic World.  I remembered vaguely wanting to see it when it was still in theaters.  Here are my notes on it.  (Composed as I watched.)

  1. There's something odd about the makeup on the kids.  When the older son is saying goodbye to his girlfriend, I was momentarily confused—the girl, who is presumably a teenager, looked like she could have been his mother.  And their hair is way too carefully disheveled.
  2. The gender stereotyping is ridiculous and overwhelming.  The redhead protagonist is quickly typecast as the "lean in" business woman who lacks adequate maternal instincts.  The elder son seems to do nothing other than check out girls.  The girls he checks out seem to do nothing other than be checked out by this kid. The Chris Pratt character is not just an ex-Navy type. He gets to be a cowboy too.  And some sort of dino-whisperer. (Seriously people?) 
  3. And the wardrobe they dreamed up.  Redhead lives on a jungle island and wears pink heels and a dress.  Pratt wears a shirt which was apparently custom fit to perfectly hug his large latissimus dorsi and biceps while looking careless and dirty. And a leather vest. (That's right, not just a vest.  It had to be leather.) Everyone seems dressed to maximize their assigned type-identity.
  4. Pratt manages to sexually harass his co-worker within about 30 seconds of greeting her.  And then again.  And again.
  5. Starting around 35 minutes in it gets interesting.
  6. How is it that the command center has heart rate monitors on all of the commando guys who go to capture the dinosaur?  I guess it's the future, so why not.
  7. The gyro-car is really cool.
  8. CGI seems to be improving as the movie goes on.  Or maybe it's just that the action sequences make it easier to not notice.
  9. They interrupt the frantic search for her nephews... to lament the death of a brontosaurus?
  10. I really regret that the helicopter enthusiast billionaire guy died in the crash.  He was one of the better characters.
  11. Regarding the descent of the flying dinos on the resort:  latest bit of evidence that Hollywood no longer seems to care about portraying massive and senseless death and destruction. I can imagine some executive in a production company: "Collateral damage? More like collateral entertainment!"
  12. Super-commando bowlful-of-jelly guy is now the human villain to complicate the plot. (He doesn't understand that dinosaurs are living animals.) Obviously chasing the dinosaur wasn't enough.  He will inevitably be killed by the dinosaur.
  13. Jurassic Park 3 was pretty weak (though I like Sam Neill), but by now the franchise has made a familiar character of the velociraptor.  The tradition of interesting velociraptors is continued admirably here.
  14. ...oh of course the giant dino is part-raptor.  How did I not see that coming?
  15. The giant dinosaur represents us. It kills, not to nourish its body, but to feed its insatiable desire for death.  (Token profound thought.)
  16. Man, the main character holds onto those shoes through the whole movie?  Impressive.
  17. Character drama in this one wasn't well-executed.  Nothing was resolved.  The characters' personal problems seem to have been introduced simply because "well, they're humans, so I guess they have to be thinking about something".
  18. The ending sets us up for another two movies of adventures on the now-abandoned island.

Jurassic World: An entertaining continuation of the 90s blockbuster franchise, with more of everything. Sam Neill (reserved archaeologist) is replaced by Chris Pratt (ex-Navy cowboy "badass"), there's a bunch of vulgar typecasting, and the characters generally seem to have spent too much time with the wardrobe/makeup crew.  You won't regret having watched it, but you also won't find it especially spectacular. (3)