Film review: Jurassic World

Thank you, Jurassic World for refreshing my irrational fear of velociraptors this weekend. Irrational because they’re extinct, that is, and because if they were real, they would only reach up to my waist or so. I think… But fear nevertheless.

In the trailer they hint at the raptors having been tamed and following Chris Pratt’s orders. There’s also the Indominus Rex, this massive dinosaur genetically engineered to be bigger, bolder, meaner, so it goes to follow that’s the one you should be scared about, and don’t get me wrong, it is scary, but you know, whatever.

As usual, I’m going to mention every single detail I can remember, spoilers included, so read at your own risk!

We start the film with this family who are leaving on holiday, actually, just the kids. For some reason, we are shown that the older kid has a girlfriend he’s not interested in that much, and the younger kid is very enthusiastic about stuff (and dinosaurs, mainly). The kids are going to spend a week at Jurassic World, where their aunt works as a… she’s a very busy person.

And indeed, we’re introduced to this lady, Claire. The first thing I notice about her is that she’s not human. OK, she is (supposedly), but the fact that she’s completely dressed in white, and has that weird haircut, and her eyes are so blue and she doesn’t seem to show any emotion at all… Replicant, I’m telling you.

She’s a big fish, because she has clearance to many places and is on really good terms with the park owner. They hop on a helicopter, which the owner is flying (they make a point of telling us he still has two more days to get his license), and go to the Indominus Rex paddock, to see what’s cooking there.

When they get there, they can’t see it, because it’s hiding. We see that the glass has been cracked, and learn that it’s an intelligent animal who is trying to figure out how to escape and eat its captors. We also learn that it ate its sibling. Nasty. The park owner asks Claire to have Owen inspect the paddock, to be completely sure that it’s safe, because we all know what happened to the original Jurassic Park, even though they had the best engineers and all that jazz.

Owen is somewhere else on the island, playing with velociraptors. The bloody things are terrifying, even when there are no humans/bait next to them and when they’re just showing off their tricks (sit, shake claws, roll over… OK, maybe not that sort of trick, but almost). Owen (the gorgeous Chris Pratt) is giving them commands from a safe platform while a bunch of people stare in awe. As usual, there’s the typical guy who has a hidden agenda (Vincent D’Onofrio) and thinks he knows best and he wants to weaponise the raptors and use them in the military. Owen tells him that just because he’s convinced them he’s their alpha, it doesn’t mean they’re domesticated, and it certainly doesn’t mean they won’t eat him tomorrow. They’re dinosaurs and they’re wild animals, so yeah, you know, rawr might not mean I love you in dinosaur after all…

Also, in true there’s always one style (does that make sense in English? I just sort of translate it from an expression in Spanish), some guy falls in the paddock and the raptors are super happy that their takeaway has just arrived, rare, just as they like it. This means that Owen has to get in the paddock to try to save the idiot that fell. He will be forever remembered as that idiot. This was a tense moment because the raptors sort of tolerate Owen, but mainly because he gives them food when they do the tricks from a safe platform, and nobody knows if they’re going to be so calm and peaceful once they have the chance of sink their teeth on Chris Pratt, I know I wouldn’t be able to hold my instincts given the chance, am I right, ladies?.

Owen has a great exchange and rapport with the raptors, talking to them, making sure they know he can see them when they try to sneak behind his back, and overall does a really good job. Of course, he does run and escapes the paddock as the gate closes, and the raptors sort of show him they’re still just tolerating him, alpha or now. On that note, did you notice the names of the raptors were Charlie, Delta, Echo and Blue? It’s funny because Owen is the alpha raptor, and Blue is the beta one, but they didn’t name it Beta, that would have been so degrading, or something.

So, from all this we learn that Owen doesn’t control the raptors, and it’s more a case of them letting him work with them.

Owen lives in a hut somewhere in the island, and Claire visits him to ask him for his help. Here, we learn they went on a date and their personalities clashed massively. Personally, I side with Owen, because seriously, what diet doesn’t allow tequila?. Owen goes to the Indominus Rex paddock and discovers claw marks on a wall. By performing some sort of heat scan they fail to locate the dinosaur inside the paddock so 1+1 (claws and no trace of dinosaur) equals crisis (gigantic predator on the loose, and with no social skills to top things off). A few of them go inside the paddock (Owen, no, don’t!) to check what’s happened and while in there, the control room sees that the tracker implanted in the animal is still inside the paddock, which means… It’s a trap!

Sure enough, the dinosaur had been camouflaging in the foliage (it has cuttlefish in it’s genes) and appears super big and super mean, and extremely hangry. He kills a couple of them but Chris Pratt, I mean Owen, manages to escape (aand breathe). He is clever, and he knows smell is a thing between animals, so he hides under a car and douses himself in petrol to mask his manly smell. I-Rex sniffs around and leaves.

Meanwhile, across the island, the two kids are being watched by the rather useless assistant to Claire. She’s the typical fashionista assistant who has better things than to keep an eye on a pair of brats, so she’s clueless. The kids manage to escape her hawk eye vigilance and get in a pod called… gyros-mobile? I don’t know, something like that, the hamster ball, as they call it at some point. Once it’s known that the big predator has escaped, a containment anomaly is announced throrought the park and everyone is called in, all attractions are closed and guests are requested to go back to the main area and, I don’t know, do some shopping or something. The two kids, being rebels as they are, decide to ignore this and go off the trail. The bigger one is trying to cheer his brother up, because their parents are going to get divorced and he’s feeling a bit sad about having two birthdays and two of everything. Fair enough, but when you see a broken fence leading from the trimmed, pretty field into the overgrown jungle, right after you’ve heard a message to return to the hotel because of a containment anomaly, call me chicken, but I wouldn’t just go off track myself.

They see many dinosaurs, and they ride amongst them in the hamster ball, until the I-Rex appears having the munchies. It kills everything it can, and the kids are stuck in the ball, being quiet and scared, after having been pushed around. The hamster ball is broken and they’re not standing upright any more, but that’s OK, as long as they keep quiet. Unfortunately, their aunt has realised she should probably be checking on them, and is calling them on the mobile phone, which is vibrating on the glass. Of course, they can’t reach it and the thing is making a deafening noise (similar to what mine does whenever I get WhatsApp messages and it vibrates on the desk, seriously…). Cue to big, bad dinosaur’s eye looking at them through the glass (does this remind you of any other similar scene in a similar film?). One funny moment was seeing the dinosaur trying to eat the hamster ball and getting its teeth stuck on it, exemplifying the biting more than you can chew saying, only I-Rex has incredible teeth and jaws, and pretty much crushes the hamster ball. Somehow, the kids manage to escape and they arrive at… The abandoned original visitors’ building of the original park! Yay! So many emotions, so much nostalgia…

Meanwhile, Owen and Claire are looking for the kids. Thanks, Owen, for mentioning Claire’s ridiculous shoes when she suggests she wants to go with you to find the kids. I was hoping more would be said about the matter (Owen’s look after she rearranges her outfit, and his question about what it all meant were gold, by the way), but one can only hope, and be disappointed. So yeah, Claire running around the jungle in high heels only helps my hypotheses about her being a replicant.

The kids remember they used to fix cars in their spare time, and when they find one of the old cars in the garage, they fix it (incidentally, it’s one of the same cars that appeared in the first movie, the one in which Hammond rode). They leave just as Claire and Owen arrive, Owen completely baffled as to how the kids managed to fix a car, the adults being chased by I-Rex.

The park owner decides it’s a good idea to fly the helicopter to try to kill the mean dinosaur, which is clever as an idea because it can’t get you if you’re flying higher than it can reach. BUT. We’ve all seen the trailer. We’ve all heard the instructor say he still has two more days until he can get his license. I feel sorry for the brave soldiers that were in that helicopter with him. So, big crash into the aviary, and a lot of pterodactyls set free. I really enjoyed the scenes of them flying into the main visitors’ area and just hunting humans (and baby dinos from the kids’ area). It was enlightening.

Blah, blah, blah, a lot of things happen, and they finally convince Owen that the only way forward is by using the Raptor Squad (is there merch? Are they doing badges? Maybe jackets? I’m getting one!) to hunt the I-Rex. Owen isn’t keen about setting the raptors loose on the island, but OK, what option do they have. Here’s when the famous scene from the trailer happen, and we see Chris Pratt riding a bike and the raptors running along. Beautiful.

Soon enough, they get to where the I-Rex is, and uh-oh, we find out another species present in the genetic mix of the creature. The raptors and the Indominus are communicating because it has raptor DNA! The raptors have found a new alpha! Oh, no! Poor Chris Pratt! Are the raptors going to eat him now? Can they save me some? I mean… Right, focus!

The raptors turn on their humans (man’s best friend is still dog, it seems), which is what they had wanted all along, and hunt them down. Claire is driving a big van with the kids at the back, and at some point, we have another wink to the original movie when the siblings are trying to turn a taser on, but they can’t, in order to fend off a raptor that’s trying to jump in the back of the van (in the original, the kids were trying to turn off a torch).

They all go back to the main visitors’ area and we see big fights and chases. At some point, the raptors have surrounded the group, and Owen tries to win them back, which he manages. He frees one of them from the GoPro-style camera the military had put on them, and the raptor realises that family is not just about genetics, but it’s about those who have always been there for you, gives a mental hug to Owen, and goes fight I-Rex. And dies.

One of the kids says they need more teeth, because they’re losing and I-Rex has a lot of teeth, so Claire runs off to a secluded paddock (which in theory should be much farther than it took her to get to, but you know, the magic of Hollywood). When the paddock opens (thanks geek guy!), we see the one and only, your friendly neighbourhood, Reggie! Claire does the now familiar scene of catching a T-Rex attention with a flare, and starts running, Reggie just behind, probably wondering why is this human-looking robot is running away with the stick instead of throwing it so they can play fetch.

So now we have I-Rex fighting Reggie. And then we see the last standing raptor, which I assume is Blue, coming to help. And Reggie manages to push the I-Rex towards the water attraction where the mesosaurus awaits, jumps out of the water majestically, and pretty much eats the Indominus Rex. Round of applause, please.

Another job well done, Reggie leaves without a second look towards the humans. Blue at least has the decency to say bye to Owen (the way I see this exchange is as Blue wanting something more out of the relationship, and Owen just shaking his head slightly as if saying Sorry, Blue, but it would never work between us, to which Blue nods and sends him a mental hug, running off into the distance, and turning sharply at a corner).

And everyone is happy.

At the end, we have the whole sunset, and the stereotypical conversation between the hero and the girl in which she asks what they’re going to do now and all that, and then they walk into the sunset, in this case, leaving the hangar. The parents come to pick up their kids, who are hanging out with their aunt Claire, everybody cries, everybody smiles, etc, etc.

Best moments of the film? LOTS! OK, here are some:

  • Lowery, a geek kind of guy played by the dude from New Girl is wearing an original Jurassic Park t-shirt he bought on e-Bay. Of course, since the first park was a failure and people died, he gets told off by the replicant.
  • The assistant’s death should be a film in itself, first the pterodactyl grabs her, then drops her into the water, then plays a bit with its food, to be finally eaten by the mesosaur.
  • In true end of the world situation, geek guy approaches his colleague to kiss her passionately, only to be told dude, I have a boyfriend. When asked why she’s never mentioned him before, she simply replies it’s because they’re at work. One of my favourite scenes of the whole movie.
  • Any scene in which Chris Pratt is being badass, especially if the raptors are involved. Seriously, he’s amazing in this film (and pretty much anything he does!).
  • I-Rex can camouflage itself. It’s a bit like the Magic Eye posters, you can’t see it, until you do (and then it’s probably too late, your friends have moved on and Magic Eye is not a trend any more).
  • Claire assuming the kids mean her when they say they don’t want to leave their side ever again, but they mean Owen’s not hers, yep, definitely his.
  • Vincent D’Onofrio getting his due for being the sort of dude everyone hates for getting evil ideas into something as beautiful as the bond between a man and his killer dinosaurs.
  • Dinosaur baby rides for kids. Priceless.

I must say I loved the film. Some (many) of the characters are flatter than the head of a Pachycephalosaurus, but the film just works. It’s fast paced, the CGI is awesome, the battles are great, and dinosaurs!

I remember when I watched Jurassic Park, it was at the cinema and I put my feet up on the seat during the kitchen scene. They played the film on Sunday on TV, and I could feel myself getting scared again, my pulse quickening.

When I came back from the cinema on Saturday night, I had to walk next to an enclosed set of houses near my flat, which have a big garden and it’s pretty much in the dark at night. I was wearing my earphones, and I removed one as I always do when walking alone at night. After walking along the fence for a few metres, I actually said out loud Yeah, I can’t do this and removed the remaining earphone. Yep. I felt scared a raptor was going to appear from the darkness, so I walked faster. Not that many films make me feel that way (although many other films would make me feel safer in Chris Pratt’s arms, to be honest).

Have you watched it yet? What did you think? I want to watch it again!