The Park Is Closed – My Thoughts About Jurassic World

I saw Jurassic World on Saturday.  Spoilers for the movie are sprinkled throughout this post, so read at your own risk.

My original plan was to go see it last Saturday with some friends, but those plans fell through due to a sold out showing.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid spoilers at work, so I read reviews.  So I was aware of issues raised about the human female characters in the movie.  I thought because I was aware of them, I wouldn’t be as annoyed by them.  I was wrong.

I won’t go into the issues about female representation in general.  Many people have written about them more eloquently than I can.  There were a few other things that bothered me about this movie.  When it comes down to it, I think it’s missing the heart and the wonder of the first one.

I have two favorite scenes in the original Jurassic Park.  The first is when the dinosaurs are first revealed.  The second one is where they are close up and personal with the sick Triceratops.  There is an awe and a joy about those scenes.  I still have chills whenever I watch the movie or even hear the theme.  So I felt that moment of anticipation as the camera swept over Isla Nublar. I held my breath as the music swelled…

…And my heart sank when the reveal was the new visitor center.  Not a dinosaur in sight.

Watching the kids interact with the science exhibits in the Hammond Center was cute.  Watching Microceratus being ridden by children was cute.  I didn’t want cute. I wanted the magic and the wonder of seeing Brachiosaurs browsing off of the tops of trees. I wanted the amazement of placing an ear to the side of a Triceratops to listen to its beating heart. I wanted to be wowed.

Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the little call backs to the original Jurassic Park.  But those just highlighted for me what I was missing from the movie.  Then there were things that had me scratching my head, like the fact that the Tyrannosaurus Rex paddock was so close to the main drag of the island.  Or that there was no guard rail around the Mosasaurus to prevent her from snacking on the tourists.  I could think of three problems with the Gyrosphere scene alone (1. jerks that would harass injure the dinosaurs by crashing into them, 2. people would not be colliding with the fence try to go ‘off road’ and 3. there wasn’t an ‘automatic override and recall to homebase’ function to prevent 1. and 2.).

There were several scenes that I loved. I saw Blue, Charlie, Delta, and Echo as heroes, even though they were swayed by Indominus Rex.  There was a thrill of nostalgia seeing Tyrannosaurus Rex fight again. The smatterings of nostalgia did not make up for the rest of the movie.  I wanted more of people interacting with the dinosaurs instead of running from terror of them.  I wanted a dinosaur movie with heart, not a movie with dinosaurs eating hearts.