SPOILERS ALL SPOILERS EVERY PART OF THE MOVIE IS SPOILED
I saw Jurassic World and I had many problems with it. The biggest and most glaring problem with the movie is that I feel like it wanted a lot from me but wasn’t willing to work for it. It was basically trying to have these really impressive and powerful moments that generally just fell flat, and as a result the movie just felt lazy. Also it felt like there were a lot of rewrites because characters were often hard to read motivation-wise.
Let’s just list some of my thoughts on the matter.
#1. Claire was the Mom?
My movie senses tell me there had to have been a rewrite here. When Claire meets the boys, her nephews, for the first time in the movie the older boy, Zach, gives her such a cold shoulder about forgetting how long it’s been since they’ve last seen each other that it was confusing to me. What I suspect is that in an older version of the script Claire was actually their estranged mother and they were going to visit her in an attempt to reconnect.
In that way then Judy Greer’s character was probably Claire’s mother who had been raising the boys in her stead while Claire went to pursue a career on Jurassic World. That would explain why Judy Greer’s character was so intense about her “sister” connecting with her “nephews”. Otherwise it’s weird that her “sister” is so freaked out that she has to work ONE day while her nephews are visiting, so she lets them hang out in Disneyland while she finishes up her important (and it is very important) work.
#2. Claire, you need to chill out.
Simon Masrani, eccentric billionaire I think, and Owen, animal trainer navyman, both insist that Claire is too uptight. She needs to relax, chill out, gosh Claire you need to understand how to live. Only, the entire movie then proves that Claire is right: her job is serious and she’s responsible for the safety of 22,000 people trapped on an island. She takes her job seriously and frankly, everyone else is an idiot for telling her to just go with the flow.
No, she is on an island populated with genetically engineered monsters, every one else needs to chill IN. She’s set up to be this uptight person who has to learn to unwind by the end of the movie, and the position of her with respect to her nephews is supposed to make the audience not like her initially, but honestly all the crap heaped on Claire makes me hate everyone else in this movie more.
Also, she’ll have babies some day. Her sister assures her of this. My eyes rolled. Hard.
#3. Simon and Zach: The Brothers Waste-of-Time
I get it, you need children in this movie. Jurassic Park had children, so you have to have children. I think this was also a victim of rewriting. Simon is the older brother and his jam is, supposedly, that he’s in to girls? They spend a long time establishing that he has a girlfriend who is love with him, while he’s just not that in to her. They also spend a lot of shots having him checking out girls and posturing around.
Zach is a little kid with huge hair and is supposedly some kind of genius. This genius manifests mostly as extensive knowledge of dinosaurs, which means that most living and breathing children with access to dinosaur materials are geniuses.
Their relationship is kind of jarring because Simon is clearly supposed to be neglecting his brother because of chicks, but he actually never leaves Zach’s side, and only stares longingly at girls along the way. He’s kind of a jerk to Zach, but I can’t quite blame him for that since he’s in prime jerk age. The problem I have with both of them is inconsistency.
Claire their Aunt/Mom assigns her assistant to chaperone them. The audience is clearly supposed to not like the assistant, but the important part for this is that she’s hot. She’s an extremely beautiful young woman with a British accent. My point? Simon should be all about that. In fact, I thought that was obviously where that was going to go, but Simon, despite being established as obsessed with chicks, pretty much ignores her for most of the movie. Simon and Zach are real jerks to her too so… not a point in your favor, bros.
They’re sent to Jurassic World either because their Grandma/Mom Judy Greer desperately (and mysteriously) wants them to reconnect with their Aunt/Mom, or because their Grandpa/Dad and Grandma/Mom are getting a divorce and want the kids out of town. The divorce thing causes Zach to cry once, but otherwise doesn’t really matter much in the movie.
Also, as a coworker pointed out, the two brothers look so different in terms of eye and hair color, that it might be read that there was an affair at one point and one of these kids is a “Jon Snow”. That’s a Game of Thrones reference. I mean one of them is definitely not of the same parentage as the other, made only more suggestive by the fact that one is a “genius” and the other is pretty dumb.
(Also as a note, the assistant has the most horrific death in the movie … seriously. WTF did she do to deserve that? She talked on her phone a lot, says the movie.)
#4. Highlander: The Bad Decision-ing
There are point in a movie where things have to go wrong. Handling how they go wrong requires a great deal of delicacy on the movie makers’ part. It’s a difficult eye to thread with a needle. I am generally a forgiving audience when it comes to this. But there are several points in the movie where things go wrong because the characters do something that is so dumb.
So let’s break it down.
- Genetically engineer a dinosaur monster with super powers. Actual super powers. Forgivable mostly, but horrifically incompetent in that no one knew there were super powers.
- Given the choice between returning to safety or driving into a dark scary jungle, the boys chose the latter.
- Immediately driving away and THEN getting a tracking reading on the White Dinosaur rather than just getting a tracking reading immediately is really a huge plot element. Frankly, I’m surprised Claire didn’t just have a tracking app on her iPad.
- Instead of running the show Claire goes into the jungle wearing a dress and high heels to save her nephews (which she doesn’t).
- Instead of leaving the dinosaur battleground Claire and her nephews sit in a truck until dinosaurs are literally battering the truck.
- Instead of running away the protagonists stay within fifteen feet of a dinosaur battle.
Like a lot of things have to happen for drama to happen, but guys, c’mon. C’mon. C’mon!
Like, I get not knowing ALL the White Dinosaur’s super powers, but not knowing it has ANY?
I get that kids are dumb, but seriously going into a scary jungle filled with giant dinosaurs? Because your parents are getting divorced?
Like NOT IMMEDIATELY AND ALWAYS be tracking the White Dinosaur via tracking implant?
Like trusting the rescue operation of her nephews to professionals, while she stays behind to coordinate efforts to ensure the safety of the people on the island? Or just getting sensible shoes on her way to adventure? That could have been a cool micro-adventure, see: Die Hard.
Also, run away from monsters, idiots. Run AWAY.
#5. The Not So Bad Guy
There’s a straight up evil dude on the island. His name is Hoskins and he’s so clearly set up to be EVIL. EVIL guys, like super evil. Only… Hoskins isn’t actually evil if you judge him by his actions. Hoskins is eccentric to the point of possibly being deranged, but not evil. He’s excited at the opportunity of the emergency to take control of the island, but to be honest by that point in the movie NO ONE WAS RUNNING THE SHOW, so… yeah. OK. Good job Hoskins. What else does he do? He calls in paramilitary forces to KILL LOOSE DINOSAURS. Which yeah, also good, the situation is devolving into chaos and dinosaurs definitely need to be contained by extreme measures.
What does Hoskins want? This is the part where Hoskins is dumb: he wants to use raptors are basically weapons for the military. He’s super gung-ho about it despite the experts telling him that as of right then, the dinosaurs aren’t reliable. He disregards that a bunch, and while he has some grounds for doing so he’s wrong. Also he’s wrong about dinosaurs being the perfect weapons for the military and better than drones.
But still, not evil. He’s a jerk about it, but in general he appears to be operating within his rights as the private security consultant, to utilize the resources available to him. And let’s be clear HIS BIG EVIL PLAN works. It WORKS. He’s like, let’s use the raptors, and Owen is like noooooo and they do anyway and the raptors find the White Dinosaur. Instantly. The only reason why his plan fails is because every goddamn person they send on that mission was an idiot.
Later on in the movie Hoskins dies pretty horribly and I think we’re supposed to be happy about it, but honestly he was still not doing anything evil. He was just saving the research materials from the lab and monologuing. But he didn’t actually threaten or menace the heroes.
Again, I think this had to have been some kind of rewrite.
#6. What’s the deal with the scientist?
Seriously, there’s a shady scientist. He’s pretty cagey about what DNA they spliced into the White Dinosaur, but to be honest it was not nearly interesting enough to warrant all that build up. I thought they put human DNA in the dinosaur but nope. Noooope. The answer isn’t really relevant at all.
#7. The Monster
She’s not really that interesting. She has magical abilities she uses once each. She’s sort of like Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy in that way. Her deep dark secret is that she’s part velociraptor which wouldn’t really matter according to the early part of the movie because she’s never been socialized so she wouldn’t be able to communicate with the raptors, which she does and is a MAJOR plot point.
#8. What the movie should have been: How to Train Your Raptors + Die Hard
The most compelling characters in the movie were the velociraptors. The most interesting relationship in the movie was between Owen and his raptors. You got the sense that he had some sway over them, and he explicitly says he imprints them on birth, but you also got the sense that the raptors could not ever be trusted. But at the same time you got the sense that the raptors were highly intelligent and could understand Owen.
This bond really should have been the focus of the movie.
My suggestions for Jurassic World Redux: cut the kids plot. The story is now about how Jurassic World is a successful dinosaur park, but also running some shady genetic engineering stuff. Owen is training the raptors and clearly bonded with them. Only then the island gets invaded by these paramilitary thieves intent on stealing the White Dinosaur and the raptors. In the attack, the White Dinosaur gets free, and Owen is forced to go Die Hard on the island, running both from Hoskin’s paramilitary thugs, and the White Dinosaur, while trying to save the raptors from the bad guys.
It turns out then that the White Dinosaur has a heretofore never mentioned ability to mind control other dinosaurs. This leads to a massive turn of the tables in that the military thugs get killed off and Owen is being hunted by his own raptors. Only in the last moment before the White Dinosaur compels the raptors to kill Owen, the raptors out of their love for Owen, turn on the White Dinosaur.
Also it turns out that the dark secret behind the White Dinosaur is that it has human DNA spliced into it. So it’s capacity for cruelty and cunning are enhanced beyond anyone’s expectations. The White Dinosaur is clever and fast but also uses it’s ability to control dinosaurs (to contrast Owen’s ability to communicate and bond with dinosaurs) to seize control of the island and exact bloody revenge on humanity.
Also there would be baby raptors that Owen protects and they think Owen is their mom. And when Hoskins is beating up Owen and trying to steal the raptor babies the raptors run in and save their Mom/Owen and kill Hoskins. Their family reunited, the raptors and Owen go on one last ride to save the dinosaurs from the paramilitary thieves, and finally to save humanity from the White Dinosaur.