Jurassic World: 5 Things It Got Right (& 5 It Got Wrong)
Jurassic World may have been a box office success, but many Jurassic Park fans find it a disappointment. Overall, it has its merits and flaws.
A fourth Jurassic Park movie had been stuck in development hell for years following the crushing disappointment of Jurassic Park III. After a number of scripts that failed to give Universal the necessary faith to pump $150 million into producing a fourth movie, Colin Trevorrow came along with Jurassic World, the story of a functioning park whose dinosaurs escape and attack the guests.
Although its $1.6 billion worldwide box office gross would suggest that fans were perfectly happy with it, Jurassic World wasn’t without its flaws. There’s a lot to enjoy in its big-budget spectacle, but it’s nowhere near perfect.
10 - Right: A Functioning Park
Right off the bat, the premise upon which Jurassic World was built is a great one. The idea of a fourth Jurassic Park movie in which a functioning dinosaur-infested amusement park is up and running was a doozy.
Colin Trevorrow raised the stakes from the previous Jurassic sequels with huge crowds of people being present for the dinosaurs’ rampage.
9 - Wrong: “Deep Blue Sea With Dinosaurs” Storyline
After coming up with a great premise, the writers of Jurassic World backed it up with a predictable storyline that’s been aptly described as “Deep Blue Sea with dinosaurs.” Some scientists genetically modify a dangerous predator to make it smarter and then it uses those smarts to turn on the scientists — it’s an almost identical movie, with a different monster.
And on top of that, the idea that people would get bored of seeing live dinosaurs in action after just 10 years, prompting the park to invent a whole new dinosaur, is just absurd.
8 - Right: Plenty Of Dinosaur Action
What fans expect from a Jurassic movie, above all, is dinosaur action. Any musings on the dangers of playing God, exemplified perfectly in Spielberg’s original movie, are just the cherry on top.
The dino-centric action is what really matters, and Jurassic World has that in spades. The Indominus Rex’s first full-blown attack on the mercenaries sent to kill it plays like a terrifying horror movie as the mercs are effortlessly torn to shreds.
7 - Wrong: Thinly Drawn Characters
In the original Jurassic Park movie, Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Ian Malcolm are all rounded, well-developed characters with distinctive personalities and arcs throughout the movie. In Jurassic World, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing are barely even characters at all.
Beyond Owen being roguish and charismatic (purely a result of Chris Pratt’s casting) and Claire being an uptight workaholic (one of three or four stock female characters that are seen in almost every movie), there’s not much to those characters.
6 - Right: Casting Chris Pratt And Bryce Dallas Howard
While their characters didn’t make full use of their talents, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard still made for a compelling pair of leads in Jurassic World.
Pratt brings the same goofy charm to Owen Grady that he brought to Peter Quill a year earlier (albeit without the earnest character development), while Howard brings a dry sense of humor to Claire’s humility as the indirect reason for all the chaos.
5 - Wrong: Needless Bloodshed
There’s an unofficial rule in the Jurassic franchise that the only characters who get killed by the dinosaurs are the ones who deserve it, like some jerk who stole their eggs.
For the most part, Jurassic World sticks to this rule, but there’s one scene in the middle of the movie in which the tour guide assigned to Claire’s nephews, a completely innocent and harmless character, is given perhaps the grisliest death in the entire series as she’s dragged through the sky by a pterodactyl, dropped into a big water tank, and devoured by a Mosasaurus.
4 - Right: Michael Giacchino’s Score
Michael Giacchino came aboard Jurassic World with a tremendous respect for John Williams’ beloved Jurassic Park score. He didn’t try to reinvent the wheel; in fact, he incorporated Williams’ iconic themes wherever possible.
Giacchino’s score for Jurassic World recaptures the magic of the original movie’s music better than any other Jurassic sequel’s score — including Williams’ own score for The Lost World.
3 - Wrong: Lack Of Suspense
A huge part of what made the original Jurassic Park movie such a masterpiece was the Hitchcockian suspense that Spielberg brought to each set piece. From the raptors-in-the-kitchen scene to the T. rex attack, Jurassic Park is a masterclass in suspenseful filmmaking.
By contrast, Jurassic World falls flat. The camerawork and editing fail to create any suspense. Rather than being shot from the humans’ perspective like Jurassic Park, putting the audience in their shoes, Jurassic World is shot from the dinosaurs’ perspective.
2 - Right: Popcorn Thrills
It would’ve been unfair to expect Jurassic World to match the original Jurassic Park movie. Very few blockbusters have been able to pull off the balance between high-stakes action and thought-provoking themes that Jurassic Park nailed.
In the summer of 2015, Jurassic World arrived in multiplexes with a surplus of popcorn thrills, which is really all one can expect from a $150 million studio product in this day and age.
1 - Wrong: Self-Aware Nostalgia
Much like fellow 2015 franchise reboot Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World makes heavy use of its audience’s nostalgia for the iconography of the original movie. But it goes a step further than The Force Awakens and makes that nostalgia weirdly meta and self-aware.
Jake Johnson’s nerdy control room technician character wears a t-shirt with the original Jurassic Park logo on it. His nostalgia for the failed theme park is supposed to represent fans’ nostalgia for Spielberg’s 1993 classic. In-universe, he’s nostalgic for a tragedy that killed several people and traumatized two children.