(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)
Just came back from seeing this movie, and let me tell you, I had in incredible time! Sure, the theater was insanely packed and our movie was sold out even though we got their an hour early and we had to wait for the next showing which was another hour later, but it was all worth it. This movie was a blast, and I’m glad to say it didn’t crush my expectations like Godzilla 2014 did.
Now, this is going to be a non spoiler initial reaction review of the movie, and I won’t go too deep into the plot details of this film. That I will do next time. For now I’ll just share my overall feelings.
I guess first off I’ll talk about the characters. I’ll be honest, this cast doesn’t hold a candle compared to the assemble in the first Jurassic Park. Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm, John Hammond, those characters are just classics. They’re memorable and interesting and completely compelling. However, I didn’t really expect this film to reach the greatness of the original, and these guys certainly aren’t bad. They just have their ups and downs.
Although Chris Pratt is considered the film’s lead, I believe that this is Bryce Dallas Howard’s character Claire’s film through and through. She is the one we see from the beginning to the end and has the most obvious character arch. And boy have I heard some mixed reactions on her character. I’ve heard people say that her arch is completely sexist and her entire character archetype is cliched and tiresome. Although I can see where people are coming from when they make these claims, I don’t think she’s nearly as bad as people have been setting her up to be. I’ll get into her story arch more in the spoiler review.
Owen, Chris Pratt’s character, doesn’t have much in the way of a story arch, but he is still an enjoyable presence. I’ve been a huge fan of Chris since Parks and Rec, and movies like The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy have only fueled that love. Here he plays it a bit more serious but his trademark charisma, charm ,and wit is still intact. Chris has also turned himself into a believable action star, and Owen is undeniably a bad@$$.
Some reviewers have come down pretty hard on the kid characters Zack and Gray in this film, with some saying their inclusion was unnecessary with others right out saying they brought the film down every time they came on screen. Personally though, not only did I end up liking these kids, I also felt they were a pretty necessary component to the movie as a whole. And this is coming from someone who normally hates kid characters in movies like this!! Their journey felt a lot closer to home than the corporate and military situations the other characters where dealing with, and using them to show what the normal guests were going through in the park was what I think an angle the film needed. Having these kids as guests and also being important to one of the main characters gives them a reason to be included in my opinion. Plus, I really like they’re relationship together. Some felt the older brothers character arch of him being annoyed by his younger sibling but then being very protective of him was rushed and unrealistic, but I bought it 100%. I mean, how many near death situations did they go through in this movie? If that doesn’t get you closer to your brother nothing will.
Masrani was probably the character that surprised me the most. I thought that even if he had some likable traits, he would ultimately turn out to be a bit of a scum bag. But surprisingly, he is incredibly likable, and he may be one of my favorite characters in the movie. He’s quite the optimist, and actually reminds me a lot of John Hammond. He even shares a lot of the charisma and charm. I remember when I first heard this character’s description, I was so afraid the film was going to take the stereotypical Arab business man that only cares about money route, but Masrani’s character is so much more refreshing than that.
Omar Sy’s character Barry was someone that Colin was hyping up quite a bit. He’d mention how he wrote the role specifically for Omar, and that he’d hope the character would have a lasting impact. Although he was certainly cool and I did like him, he didn’t really have all that much screen time. I have a feeling some of the more meaty scenes with him may have been cut or simply never shot. It seems that Colin had big plans for the character when developing him, but unfortunately the final film couldn’t show everything that he hoped to bring out. Thankfully, a sequel is already in the works, and perhaps one day we’ll see the Barry that Colin hoped to show us.
Vincent D’Onofrio’s character Vic Hoskins was probably the only character I couldn’t stand. I don’t know, everything he did was so over the top and cartoony, it was hard to take him seriously. On top of that pretty much every line of dialogue from him was a cliche and I could only think of one time when I thought he made a convincing point and I could take him seriously as a character. Other than that, he brought the movie down for me every time he came on screen, and I just could care less about anything he had to say. Thankfully, something wonderful is done with his character towards the end….
And of course. BD Wong returns as Dr. Henry Wu, still as dapper as ever. However, Wu takes a much more nefarious character turn than his small appearance in the original Jurassic Park would imply (although this isn’t surprising and somewhat expected to those who are fans of the novel). But what sets him apart from Vic is that there are times when he actually makes some good points and you can see where the character is coming from, even if you don’t agree with him.
The final character I will talk about here is Lowery, who serves as the film’s comic relief. And yes, this character is in many ways me. His screen time is somewhat small, but each time is memorable and often hilarious. Some have commented that this guys is almost like an alternate universe version of Dennis Nedry that wasn’t a double crosser, and I can certainly see where that comparison is coming from.
Now that we’ve got the characters out of the way, let’s discuss some of the dinosaurs. The whole ‘Raptor Squad’ dynamic that some were worried about I think works incredibly well in the context of the film. Only in a couple of points did my suspension of disbelief wear off to the point that I realized how crazy the things happening before me where, but in the end I’m really happy with this plot device. It’s different than anything we’ve seen in the films before, and it gives us a new impression of the raptors when before characters would just simply try and run from them, which you can only do so many times movie after movie.
Indominus Rex himself was pretty freaking incredible. I did have some reservations about it’s inclusion, but all those doubts were shattered every time she was on screen. She is absolutely terrifying. Every time she shows up it’s incredibly suspenseful, especially during the beginning. It almost brings back that great horror aspect that made Jurassic Park so great and that the other two sequels sorely lacked. I remember after one scene with her the theater went quiet and the silence was suddenly broken by one movie goer simply saying ‘wow’. Even her more fantastical abilities aren’t as distracting as I though they would be, and they really add to just how insane this monster is. I should probably stress that this creature is a monster through and through, not an animal like the other creatures are treated.
Unfortunately, most of the other dinosaurs like Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, and Gallimimus get pretty much glorified cameos (a Pachycephalosaurus gets an incredibly small appearance towards the beginning of the film). The Mosasaur and the pterosaurs obviously have their scenes, as does the Tyrannosaurus rex, but I’ll talk more about them in the spoiler review.
I guess this is a good a place as any to talk about the special effects. For the most part, they were fantastic! Although I have seen better CGI before, only a few times did the computer effects take me out of the movie. I think the effects were best done on the I-Rex, which looked convincing every time it came on screen. I hoped there would be more practical effects in the film, but only one scene really stands out where they used it. However, that scene is particular really did benefit from using the animatronic.
Overall, I found the film incredibly enjoyable, and although there were some problems here and there (particularly in the script) I still recommend you go see it for yourself. Now, stay tuned for the much more in depth spoiler review, which will come out after I go and see the movie again TONIGHT!!!