Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jurassic World - the best Jurassic Park sequel!

 

I just watched Jurassic World, first day, first show today here in Bangalore. With on the most un-enthusiastic and lethargic crowd I have seen. No one shouted, yelled or screamed during the movie. There was only a single kid in the audience. But that in a way, allowed me to watch the movie distraction free. This has been a 22 year wait for me ,and I think this is by-far the best sequel to the original Jurassic Park movie. It borrows a lot of ideas from the first book, and brings in lot of new ones as well. And you will best enjoy this movie if you take it as a direct sequel to the first JP, forget the two sequels which came out in the last 22 years, and you will be fine.

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The movie tells us a pretty basic and simple story, I will not bother writing out the plot here as somebody already put the whole thing on Wikipedia. But the gist is that after the events of the Jurassic Park movie, Ingen had to sell everything to a new company (Masrani), and they took the next step in the business. They now have a full fledged , functioning park on the island, with 25+ species. But seeing a real life dinosaur is not terrifying anymore, so they decide to make the mistake of creating an entirely new dino species from scratch, by mixing up dna from different animals. Just when things look stabilized, the new "asset" escapes from its paddock, unleashing terror on the island when it still has 20k visitors there. When all attempts to use modern "sophisticated" technology to capture the beast proves futile, they find the only way that will still work…another dinosaur !

Oops…almost gave that away. Spoilers follow: First they try to use the trained raptor squad to hunt down the i-Rex, but then, it turns out the i-Rex also has velociraptor dna in it! They communicate, and now the raptors have a new 'alpha'. When that plan too backfires, they unleash the resident T-Rex. The T-Rex was the hero (or heroine, she is a female, remember ?) of the first movie, saving some of the lead characters from the raptors in the first movie, and here that idea is re-used. So the two rexes fight it out, with a little help from blue, the lone raptor, and then finally, mossie (the mososaurs) finishes the i-rex off.

Surprises: Having read the books and watched the previous movies like a hundred times, I thought I had become a JP expert, and could predict some parts of the story. But I was surprised by a few things:

  1. Maximum Kills, maximum thrills. This is the Jurassic movie which has the highest number of deaths (both humans and dinos) on screen. Some of the gruesome kills are done offscreen, with only blood splatter for a little animation. I counted 7 humans dead, not including the entire ACU team, and many of the other dinos. While JP showed only a  4 kills ( Genarro, Nedry, Arnold, Muldoon), each one had a some focus (Arnold's death was not shown) building up to it. Here, the kills are quick and there is no build up. Except Masrani, he was shown to be someone who enjoyed watching and caring for the animals, but he pays the price of taking out the chopper without a license.
  2. Nobody important dies. The central cast survives the carnage. Hoskins is the only one killed by the raptor, but he was a bad guy anyway. The two kids, Claire and Owen escape with a few bruises. I was expecting Barry, Owen's friend (sidekick), the black guy, to be killed, but is shown in the end very much alive. Which brings me to…
  3. Henry Wu survives ! Again ! Henry is the only person who escaped form the incident on the original park, and then escapes again in JW, this time, with a lot of embryos and his work with him. This sets up the stage for the sequel, which I bet is gonna look stupid. In the Jurassic Park book, Henry Wu is killed by a raptor just before the novel ends, when he helps the team to try and restore power in the park. There is a part in the book were he argues that the dinos in the park are not-real, because they are engineered. And that part is now in this movie when he discusses this with Masrani.
  4. JP Nostalgia : There are some clever throwbacks to the original movie. The original JP tune is re-used, when the park is introduced in the beginning, when the kids explore it. Mr DNA shows up at the visitor centre. Lowery's console at the control centre is just as sloppy as Nedry's and he is wearing a JP t-shirt ! When lost on the island, the kids find an abandoned warehouse full of stuff form the first park. They find one of those 'expensive' 3d glasses, and a working gas powered jeep (number 29) in red and white which they use to escape to the visitor centre. During the raptor chase at the visitor centre, Clair turns on a holographic device, which renders the hologram of a dilophasaurus, which jeered with its frills, distracting the raptor. And….and the red flare. Claire uses a red flare to distract the T-Rex towards the Indominus Rex !
  5. Jimmy Fallon cameo: Jimmy has a cameo as the presenter during the gyrosphore trip, were they show him in his scientist suit, and the lab around him bursting into flames. Apparently, they spared no expense, just like when they used Richard Kiley in the first movie.

My only gripe with the movie was that there were really no surprises, most of everything happened just as predicted. The whole plot unfolded pretty much as in the first movie, Owen is actually brought in to inspect the paddock of the Indominous Rex, just as the experts are brought in to inspect JP, and the creature escapes. Nearly all of the key scenes were already released out, in the form of trailers and sneak peaks. The rest of the plot came out in the form of rumours and leaked photos, thanks partly to hyper active social media, and partly due to viral marketing. The only true surprise everyone wanted to know was what eventually would happen to the I-Rex, Mossie gets it ! The parts which were weird was were Owen 'communicated' to the raptors, and Hoskins repeatedly describing scenarios to use the raptors in battle. But still, I was happy with were the story went. This opens up a lot of possibilities for the sequels. For instance, many of the flying reptiles could have escaped from the island, what happened to them ?

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Colin Trevorrow has delivered a polished, intelligent, and crowd-pleasing would-be blockbuster.  Jurassic World accomplishes the task of being something of an original adventure within the confines of being a sequel. It has almost too many good ideas, while using the original film only when contextually appropriate. I wish the main characters were a little more refined, and I wish the film took the time to explore its subtexts beyond periodic seasoning, but that may be me wishing for a different film. The movie we got is pretty good, and Trevorrow has delivered what amounts to a best-case scenario for a novice director being handed the keys to a massive franchise.

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Download the cam rip of the movie from here.

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