I loved this video essay, exploring a not-great movie’s self-awareness and the way it subversively advertises the blockbusters that paved the way for it. (Narrator Tyler Smith co-hosts two podcasts I also love, Battleship Pretension and More Than One Lesson.)
Jurassic World. There are at least three establishing shots early in the movie that make sure you’re ready, later on in the movie, for a terrible jab about high heels. It’s that sort of dedication to the stupidest things where this movie really shines.
I’m curious about how this amped up B-movie plays for a young audience that doesn’t have ties to the earliest film. There’s a lot of fan service here with “remember how ___?” nudges throughout. The cellphone ringtone that pulls from the main theme was a nice touch. Along with those references, I thought I saw some borrowing from other movies, too: *Predator*-vision with people getting killed in the jungle; *King Kong*, where a monster looms over a woman in a tattered dress; flying creatures pouring over the horizon, like *The Wizard of Oz*; the scene people with tossing air tanks off the back of a vehicle has a hint of *Jaws* to it.
There’s also a complete orgy of product placement! Converse, Beats, Samsung, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Blackberry, Mercedes, Starbucks, Margaritaville. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting another 5-10, minimum. Totally shameless.
It’s too bad that Chris Pratt is no fun here, mostly posing stiffly and asserting. They killed his charm, but he’s somehow still the best thing going here. D’Onofrio manages to make his Hoskins character more interesting than it should be, with all the swagger and bluster. Most of the others are pretty bland. Least (spoiler) favorite (spoiler) part (spoiler): the viciously indulgent death of the British nanny. Other downsides relate to its general overstuffed-ness. Earnest family bonding moments and a vast insider corporate conspiracy?
That I have so much to say about this says… something. So anyway, go watch Jurassic Park instead.
Jurassic Park. Damn this movie is good. One of those movies where just skimming through search results looking for a good headline image had me smiling. Dr. Sattler is up there amongst the best heroines of the last couple decades. Smart, tough, funny, bold, decisive. (“We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.”) There’s a lot of humor I’d forgetten in this one.
“Are these characters… autoerotica?”
“No, we don’t have any animatronics.”
Some catchphrases (“Hold on to your butts.”), and a few great monologues, like…
I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it.
Also nice to see an action/thriller that, despite it’s crazy dinosaurs, is very human. It isn’t heavily reliant on overt evil, just self-interest and shortsightedness that devolves (see what I did there) in just about the worst ways possible. And the heroes are pretty regular people, out of their depth, but thinking on their feet and for the most part working together. Even the kids make some good decisions.
Maybe the best sequence in the whole thing is where that teamwork is undercut by each group working with limited information. Dr. Grant and the kids are making their way back to HQ, while the folks at HQ are working to get the power back on. It’s brilliant. Each group is separately in danger, each one needs to succeed, and the success of one group of good guys, at the wrong time, is really gonna screw over the others. I’m surprised more movies don’t do something like that – the same team accidentally working at cross-purposes.
If you haven’t seen this in a while… fix that.