Jurassic World is exactly what I expected it to be

Jurassic World is full of dinosaurs, which is pretty much all I wanted. I went to the drive-in (which I highly recommend, as in my opinion this is the best way to see these sorts of movies) to see dinosaurs eat people, and that’s exactly what I got.

It’s not a cinematic masterpiece, and the story isn’t great or even very good. I’m still not entirely sure I understand why the military would think training dinosaurs for battle would be a good idea, and I don’t really understand what B.D. Wong was getting out of the arrangement since he was already living in paradise getting to make dinosaurs for a living. I also don’t know whether the parents actually got divorced or not, which I guess doesn’t really matter, since all of the characters were basically cardboard cutouts of people who only existed so we could see a two hour movie about CGI dinosaurs.

Chris Pratt’s velociraptors were predictably silly, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like it would really be pretty rad to ride a motorcycle with my own personal pack of prehistoric killing machines. The mosasaur was gorgeous, although I don’t see how it could be kept in any way that would be safe for people or healthy for the animal. The pterosaurs were pretty cool, and I loved the dinosaur petting zoo. Of course there’s a dinosaur petting zoo, and it’s adorable.

Bryce Dallas Howard was fine as Claire. I’ve seen some complaints about the shoes she wears throughout the movie, but they’re plain old less-than-two-inch pumps that were perfectly sensible for the day the character planned on having. The way some people went on about the shoes, I rather expected some kind of six inch high spiked monstrosities, but that wasn’t the case, and I actually kind of appreciate the ability of the character to stay tough in a crisis. Honestly, I’m more amazed by her decision to wear a completely white outfit for a full day–personally, I’d have a stain or smudge on it by 10 am on a good day. I also kind of like that she’s the real hero of the movie. Chris Pratt and his raptors have gotten most of the attention, but Claire’s the one who orchestrates the, frankly, epic dinosaur fight at the end of the movie, and it’s nice to see a heroine being rewarded with a man at the end of a story for once rather than the other way around.

My only complaints are, first, that I really like Irrfan Khan and would have liked for him to get more screen time and, second, that the first death of a woman by dinosaur was so damn torturous. Zara’s death felt unnecessarily gruesome and drawn out for someone whose worst trait seems to be that she is easily outwitted by a couple of asshole kids. I know I said that I basically saw this movie just to see dinosaurs eat people, but I’d generally prefer that the really nasty deaths be reserved for actual bad guys.

Finally, the dinosaurs are the real star of this movie, just as they’ve been since Jurassic Park came out in 1993. I have to say that I’m not super impressed with the CGI. It’s okay, but I disagree with the people who say this movie’s dinosaurs are as good as the originals. It may just be that there’s no way I’m ever going to quite recapture what it felt like to see Jurassic Park when I was ten years old, but I felt like the comment in Jurassic World that people want their dinosaurs bigger, with “more teeth” is also true of audiences now.

Jurassic World is so packed full of dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes that they do start to seem a little commonplace. While there are a couple of new species in this movie, the overall look of the dinosaurs is the same as it’s ever been. It’s at once comforting and boring, to be honest. I do think that for it to still be a Jurassic Park movie, they can’t change the raptors or the t-rex that are so emblematic of the brand, but it would have been nice to see at least some of the last twenty-odd years of paleontological advancement shown on screen.

The indomitus rex and mosasaur were neat, but I’m starting to be a little concerned about the responsibility of continuing to portray dinosaurs in the same way they were shown decades ago. Jurassic Park was the definitive dinosaur movie of my generation, and I’ll probably always get teary-eyed watching the first big dinosaur reveal, but I’d hate to think that dinosaurs were being defined the same way for my daughter’s generation when we know so much more about them now.

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