Year Released: 2015
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard
(PG-13, 123 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Mystery and Suspense, Science Fiction and Fantasy
“The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control.” Simon Masrani from Jurassic World
Hollywood, the ultimate arcade. Video games, comic books, and now a theme park brought to the big screen in all their slick and superficial glory. Corporate moneymakers that slyly impugn corporate greed while they revel in it.
Now that’s not to say that these summer blockbusters aren’t great spectacles, delicious eye candy that goes down as easily as cotton candy. You will certainly be entertained the entire 2 hours plus of watching these designer dinosaurs devour their fellow creatures with abandon, swooping up the fleeing humans like free happy hour appetizers.
In fact, both of my junior critics in attendance, usually fairly critical of film fair, gave Jurassic World a solid 4 out of 5 drums. At the time, so did Different Drummer herself. Five days later my fever has subsided, but not enough for me to dismiss its strengths.
First of all, a return to the celebration of manhood and boyhood in all their old fashioned machismo. Chris Pratt, playing raptor trainer Owen Grady, channels a bit of John Wayne, comfortable in his alpha status whether its with his 4 female raptors, Blue, Charlie, Delta, Echo, or his workaholic boss, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). And he brings a special quality to his acting, an underpinning of joy in that masculine charm. We missed that in San Andreas, where Dwayne Johnson’s earnest and taciturn Ray Gaines lets his sculpted body do the talking for him. The current Mad Max also lets us down a bit in Tom Hardy’s almost mute title character who more or less plays second fiddle to Charlize Theron’s Furiosa.
Having tired of the anti-boy bias in recent films, such as Frozen, my junior critics loved the perspective of Gray and Zach Mitchell (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson), the 2 brothers s touring the theme park The screen shot pictured above might as well be one of them riding the latest roller coaster, caught in that moment of joyous fear we humans are so strangely addicted to.
A perspective not too diminished, one hopes, by their ranking as the dumbest cast members in the film:
Zach and Gray Mitchell (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins)
How Dumb Are They? Almost literally too dumb to live. When the Indominus Rex breaks out of its paddock and the park goes into lockdown, Zach and Gray are cruising around Jurassic World in a gyrosphere. They’re given a warning message to immediately return their vehicle back to the loading dock, but they decide to ignore it. They also ignore a bunch of warning signs to take their gyrosphere through a hole in the fence that’s clearly been put there by dinosaur claws. They basically do everything they possibly can to get eaten short of covering themselves in barbecue sauce and stepping directly into the Indominus Rex’s mouth. Matt Singer
Yet, as another critic noted, we do have some nuance, here, perhaps too nuanced for the audience to notice a sly slap in the face. The very same audiences that spur Jurassic World to ante up the thrills – simple dinosaurs have lost some of the awe factor – are not unlike the movie going public that wants a bigger bite of the apple each time. Just compare the classic The French Connection car chase to what they now do in Furious 7 – dropping automobiles out of flying aircraft – to see how much we have pushed the envelope over the years.
Or as genetic scientist Henry Wu (B. D. Wong) says, rationizing his genetically modified Indominus Rex, says,
Nothing in Jurassic World is natural, we have always filled gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And if the genetic code was pure, many of them would look quite different. But you didn't ask for reality, you asked for more teeth.
And it turns out that more teeth also equals more brains. Our female Indominus Rex, who incidentally devoured her sibling, outranks all the humans, according to Matt Singer:
How Dumb Is She? The I-Rex is awesome. She outsmarts the security measures in her enclosure, plus Jurassic World’s anti-dino security team, plus the CEO of a global corporation. She rips out the tracking device implanted in her back because, according to Owen, “she remembered where they put it in.” I’m reasonably sure she’d score higher on the SATs than every human character in this movie. She’s so smart she’s really Jurassic World’s hero, and the end of the film is less of a triumph of the human spirit that a tragedy about a brilliant creature being dragged down and destroyed by the world’s ignorance. Matt Singer
I guess it says something about our dumbed down culture that a prehistoric clone actually seems smarter than its creators. And that we are forking out big bucks for viewing that humiliation.
But, as far as sequels go, this one skates pretty darn close to the 1993 original. Remember, rapids occur where the water is swift and shallow. So ride this raging river of thrills, while you remember that is it only still water that runs deep.
Okay, you’ve been a great parent or grandparent, maybe even dug deep into your pockets for the ridiculously pricey 3 D tickets for the kiddos to enjoy this latest Dinosaurorama.
Now it’s time to reward that good behavior with our Fossil Fuel Cocktail.
Fossil Fuel Cocktail
We’ve learned more in the past decade from flavored vodkas than a century of combining vodka with juices; and now, a whole new frontier of alcoholic beverages is upon us. This ain’t your grandpa’s drink, we’ve upped the ante with a twist of SVEDKA’s Citron and Raspberry vodkas to create a cocktail that’s sure to get any old bag of bones moving faster than a T-Rex (which we clocked at 32 miles per hour). –Christopher Osburn
1 part SVEDKA Citron
1 part SVEDKA Raspberry
½ part triple sec
½ part simple syrup
½ part fresh lime juice
Dash celery bitters
Splash grapefruit juice
Splash club soda
Combine SVEDKA Citron, SVEDKA Raspberry, triple sec, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass. Top with grapefruit juice and club soda. Garnish with a lemon, lime, and orange wedge.