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DIRECTOR: Paul Ziller RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2015 RATING (US): PG-13
CAST: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard et al.
// review by Lydia


I was a dinosaur kid. Let's face it. Almost all of us were.

For some reason, when I was maybe three or four years old, my parents let me watch Jurassic Park several times. I don't remember much about it from then except for just wanting to see the dinosaurs. It didn't terrorize me at all. Apparently, I just watched with fascination oblivious to the carnage and horror of the movie. I watched it again when I was about 14, and it terrified me—an absolute terror that came with nightmares and a phobia of being eaten alive.

I just finished watching Jurassic World, and it just didn't terrify me. I'm almost...disappointed.

You might want to read this as more of an analysis than a review, although I will be giving it a score at the end as usual.

Right now, just a few minutes after watching Jurassic World, I almost feel gypped. The movie was good, but it felt like something was missing from it. I can't quite put my finger on it though. Right now, I'm thinking it's missing the suspense and innovation that the original had.

Since Jurassic World is meant to be some sort of homage to the original, I've decided to put the two together and compare. I will say, in all fairness, a movie that's the fourth in a series probably has to stretch to come up with ideas for how to take the series further. So, how were they similar? Well...there's a park with dinosaurs. Dinosaurs escape and wreak havoc and have a tasty brunch of whatever happens to be moving in their line of sight. An overconfident director. Two kids.

You would think a movie made with better graphics and such would seem more realistic than a movie made with animatronics, but this isn't the case at all. Jurassic World felt a little too fake to me. For one thing, the raptor training is way off. I'm not saying Chris Pratt is a bad actor, but he's not a very good animal trainer. I was scratching my head as to why the park got a Navy soldier to train animals. That doesn't make any sense! I was rolling my eyes when he was just kind of casually talking to the beasts. The Dog Whisperer would have made a better trainer. Training an animal isn't, "Animal, back away! Other animal, I see what you're doing there!" Animals don't understand English, but they are capable of understanding patterns. That's why you don't tell a dog to "Sit down right there, please." He might sit, but that's only because he recognized the word, "Sit." The other stuff is just...fluff.

Did you feel that?

A major disappointment I had in the movie was the suspense portion. Jurassic Park did a phenomenal job at it. The victims weren't killed as quickly as they were in Jurassic World. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but your heart doesn't race when someone's snatched up in half a second and the dino's moving on the next half. I felt Jurassic World depended more on jumpscares than was actually necessary. To me, jumpscares are just cheap horror. EVERYTHING'S using jumpscares these days. To put it in perspective, I asked myself, "What were the scariest parts of each movie?" For Jurassic Park, I thought of, obviously, the T-Rex scene and the raptor shadow scene. For Jurassic World, I can't really think of any particular scene that stood out to me as scarier than the rest. How in the world is a cup of water reacting to a dinosaur's footsteps scarier than an entire group of soldiers getting massacred by a terrible conglomeration of the scariest dinosaurs? One word: buildup. There was no buildup in Jurassic World. Things were fast-paced and there was no time to wonder what was going to happen. It was mostly, "Look!" "ACK, a dinosaur! RUN!"

Another thing that killed the suspense, I believe, was simply the point of view of the audience. In Jurassic Park, the audience was omnipotent but the characters were not. They didn't know where the dinosaurs were. They didn't know what happened to make the power go out. They didn't know the buildings. They didn't know the island. In Jurassic World, the characters know EVERYTHING, which made them exceptionally less vulnerable than the characters in Jurassic Park. That almost invulnerability killed a large chunk of the suspense in my opinion. How am I supposed to be scared if the characters are only scared a quarter of the time? I understand that the story was hinting on more of a helpless type of scary pertaining to those in the control room seeing "live count" numbers go down and watching the heart rates of people suddenly stop and knowing that there's 20,000 people who could possibly be in danger. However, that helplessness just wasn't enough for me. They had an incredible opportunity for terror with the dinosaur's camouflage (which might have been a homage to the second Jurassic Park novel), but it was sadly undermined by the focus on the dinosaur's intelligence. Womp womp. Oh, well. Too late now.

Standing alone, Jurassic World is a good movie. It has action and good graphics, but it's just not realistic. That realism is key to what I think makes a good suspense and/or horror movie. I almost want to give it two scores: one for the movie by itself and one for how it compares to the other movies. Maybe I should give it an average? 7/10 by itself and 4/10 to compare gives me about a five or six, so I'll give it a six. I'd watch it again if I was bored and needed a dinosaur fix, but that's about it.

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