Jurassic WorldI saw it pointed out on Tumblr that, by replacing the last word of the original title with “World,” the Jurassic Park franchise is following the same pattern as Super Mario Bros. for its fourth installment. I actually never saw the second or third movies, but from what I understand I’m not missing much, and there were very few references to them anyway.

SPOILER ALERT: The dinosaurs get out of their cages and eat people. There’s also stuff here that isn’t so easy to guess, though, so don’t read ahead if you want to see it and haven’t yet.

While there were plenty of callbacks to the first film, even those kind of didn’t make sense, because the premise requires audiences to believe that someone went back to try the bad idea that got a lot of people killed. Granted, people do keep doing the same things over and over again, but I’m not entirely sure why it would be legal or receive any sponsors. It almost works better as a sort of what-if. The only actor to reprise his role from the original was B.D. Wong as geneticist Henry Wu.

The back story has it that John Hammond left the rights to the company to some other guy, which makes me wonder what happened to his family. The plot of this movie focuses on two brothers whose aunt is the park director, played by Bryce Dallas Howard; but she’s too busy to actually spend time with them, so she foists them off on her oblivious British assistant. They sneak off, and for her negligence the assistant is punished by the movie by being tossed around by pteranodons and fed to a mosasaur. In her defense, I’m not sure babysitting was part of her job description. The other main character is a Navy veteran played by Chris Pratt, who manages to keep a pack of velociraptors under control because they consider him their alpha. Well, except when they don’t.

He and Howard went on one date, and he thought she was too uptight and she thought he was too casual. Yet for some reason, even though he apparently found her boring and she’s his boss, he still constantly hits on her and they hook up at the end. Was there a reason we were supposed to be rooting for these two to get together? Vincent D’Onofrio plays basically a sleazier version of General Ross from The Incredible Hulk, trying to find a way to weaponize the dinosaurs. Yeah, that might have been useful back in the days before tanks, drones, and guided missiles. Obviously the audience is supposed to want this guy to be one of the casualties, but I still found it a bit disturbing that Pratt’s character just lets him die when he has a gun and could just shoot the dinosaur attacking D’Onofrio. It’s one thing when the film itself has it in for a character, but quite another when the supposed good guys do. Another plot element involves the park having genetically engineered an entirely new species, Indominus Rex, which is basically a bigger tyrannosaur. The thing is, when it appears in battle sequences, it’s hard to tell it apart from the other tyrannosaurs.

It’s hyper-intelligent, but also a jerk, killing other dinosaurs just for fun. There’s a brief bit where the cuttlefish DNA that was spliced in enables it to camouflage, but that seems to be forgotten about after the one scene. The Indominus Rex is eventually eaten by a mosasaur, proving once again that there’s no dinosaur problem that can’t be solved with a bigger dinosaur. (And yes, I’m aware that a mosasaur is not technically a dinosaur, but a prehistoric marine reptile.)

So, yeah, there’s a lot about it that doesn’t make sense, and quite a few plot points that never went anywhere at all. For instance, at one point, the older brother mentions that he thinks their parents are getting a divorce, then this never comes up again. It looks pretty neat, however, and it’s not like I regret seeing it.

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