Jurassic World

Rating:

DINO MIGHT

Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Vintage Fashion Dolls by GeekChickLoLo

Oh, Vicki Lester, you beautiful doll!

Normy and I have returned to Chateau Maine after finishing our shooting days on The Desert Song, my new terribly modern operetta.  The raw footage is now off with a brilliant new film editor, Mr. Brewton, who is bound to whip it into an absolute masterpiece of low budget musical filmmaking.  Normy and I are now shopping it around to the finer streaming video services so that it can be DVRd by people all over the world who crave the type of quality entertainment that only a Vicki Lester picture can provide.  I’ve also been working on a marketing tie in with Sara Lee.  The new pound cake packaging will have a still of me and Tommy Tune with wind whipped hair under a desert moon and the legend ‘Have a Desert with your Dessert’.  Such guerrilla marketing tactics are the idea of my new marketing firm of Walter and Lovejoy who are hard at work getting the Lester brand back in front of the great American public.

I have been sadly neglectful of my retail empire in recent months due to the craziness of our desert shooting schedule.  I became acutely aware of this last night when on a midnight jaunt to the necessary, I tripped over a case of Mrs. Norman Maine collector dolls that someone had left in the hall.  As I was nursing my bruised keister, I mused over all of those Lesterene beauty products, GlamourPuss gowns, VickiWear fashions and other items that simply need to be making the humdrum lives of ordinary American ladies just a little more lovely.  I am simply going to have to find a wonderful new conduit now that my contract with Pic and Save has come to an end.  I’ve heard through the Hollywood grape vine that Tim Cook of Apple fame is a fan so I’m going to have my people give him a call and see if we might be able to join two iconic American brands together in a symphony of mutual sales success.  I smell gargantuan profits and the means to finally get a little necessary repair work on Chateau Maine.  The collapse of Neely O’Hara’s golden toilet tower some months ago apparently damaged a foundation and if it isn’t corrected, I could lose the whole west wing.

Speaking of gargantuan profits, Normy and I finally caught a matinee showing of this summer’s blockbuster, Jurassic World, a sequel and rebooting of the Steven Spielberg classic Jurassic Park from 1993.  The original film was a minor masterpiece of suspense with a number of Michael Crichton cardboard characters running around a claustrophobic environment while Tyrannosaurs and Velociraptors had lunch.  It had style, pacing, and just enough anchor to reality to be believable sociologically and scientifically.  It was, unfortunately, followed by a couple of lame sequels, the first of which is probably the worst movie Spielberg ever directed and the franchise was essentially out of gas.  Now, fourteen years after Jurassic Park III, Universal Pictures has come roaring back with its new entrée, bigger, scarier and with more teeth.

The time is present day, twenty some years after the events of the original film.  (The events of the two sequels are not alluded to so I guess in this universe, they never happened).  John Hammond’s dream of a dinosaur theme park has become a reality on his Costa Rican island and Jurassic World has become a reality, complete with Starbucks, Brookstone and ride a baby triceratops enclosures for the kiddies.  Two ordinary American kids, teenage Zach (Nick Robinson) and prepubescent Gray (Ty Simpkins) are sent off by their parents to visit their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is some sort of high powered managerial executive type at Jurassic World – we know this at a glance from her power hair and her three inch Jimmy Choo spike heels which she seems to believe are the best footwear for running around a tropical theme park all day.  Also at the park is an ex-Navy man, Owen (Chris Pratt) who appears to be some sort of raptor whisperer, training the little monsters to obey commands.  Also in the mix are Dr. Henry Wu, brilliant geneticist (B.D. Wong reprising his role from the original film) who is busy cooking up bigger badder dinos that nature never thought of, a gajillionaire park owner who thinks he has everything under control (Irrfan Khan) and a villainous paramilitary employee of the evil InGen corporation (Vincent D’Onofrio).  After a lot of unnecessary exposition, we get to the heart of the matter.  Jurassic World has invented a new attraction, an intelligent carnivore they call Indominous Rex but she isn’t behaving herself and the powers that be are worried that she may not be ready for public display.  Needless to say, the Indominous escapes her pen, starts heading towards 20,000 tourists and soon all hell breaks loose.   Before you know it, helicopters are crashing, pterodactyls are tossing British ladies in the air and velociraptors are crashing through windows in pursuit of prey, both human and non.

The film is a great summer popcorn film, a wild theme park ride about a theme park which rockets off towards a new action set piece every time the energy starts to flag.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself as all of the tropes of the genre were competently ticked off one after the other.  However, the film pales when compared with the original.  Spielberg managed to take stock characters and breathe life into them in a short period of time so we could care something about them when they were placed in mortal danger.  There were also a relatively few individuals for us to keep track of.  In making the canvas so much broader, director screen writer Colin Trevorrow working with other writers including Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, often loses his characters amongst his CGI cast of thousands.  Chris Pratt isn’t really playing a true character.  He’s playing a snarky everyman hero of the type he perfected in last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  The romance with Claire is completely unbelievable and she comes across not so much as a human but as a misogynistic man’s  idea of a woman of authority.  The supporting cast don’t come off a lot better although I did find young Mr. Simpkins coming through with an unaffected and honest performance.  He may have a future in this business we call show.

My other major quibble with the film is its need to be self-referential and snarky, always reminding the audience that we are in movie land rather than in a true alternate reality.  It happens by having a character wearing a ‘Jurassic Park’ T-shirt, having the kids practically high fiving each other after narrowly escaping death rather than being reduced to the gibberish of terror that would more likely be present.  I kept expecting someone to come out with a line like they felt trapped in a Spielberg movie.   Still, even with these quibbles, it remains a lot of fun and there are far worse ways to spend a sunny summer evening.

Hilton hotel.  Chromophore discussions.  Waterfall jumping.  Gratuitous Jimmy Fallon.  Bad helicopter flying.  Shark eating.  Confused ride operators.  Shredded commandos.

To learn more about Mrs. Norman Maine, see our Movie Rewind introduction, visit her entire back catalog and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/missvickilester

photo by GeekChickLoLo

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