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Jurassic World: A Fallen Franchise

Okay so the title is a little harsh. I’d like to start this review with the disclaimer that if you were going to go and see this movie DO IT. Do not read a pile of negative reviews and change your mind, any dinosaur screen time is still worth watching regardless of what other people have to say about it! I promise I won’t reveal any major spoilers in this review, I don’t usually do this kinda thing so I’ve kept it short.

Thanks to ol’ mate Professor Flint for bringing me along as his +1. Fun times were had!

So we reach movie #5 in the Jurassic franchise. No one has managed to kill of B D Wong’s infamous Dr Henry Wu character yet so Hollywood can keep making dinosaurs from frog DNA until they manage to create a scene where he doesn’t slip away silently with vials of bright blue fluid in high tech Pelicases. This installment was timely released 25 years since the first film, capitalising on the first generation of fans wanting a hit of that childhood dinosaur nostalgia. Unfortunately, they wont get it. This is not a dinosaur movie, it’s a monster movie. Watching the previews, most of you probably already knew that, but it needs saying again because clearly no one involved in making the film was told enough. As an aspiring palaeontologist I was sitting in the cinema last night waiting for that breathtaking panoramic shot of pure dinosaur majesty somewhere in the film to fill me with that ‘science-is-awesome’ warm-fuzzy feeling like watching the herds of dinos in the first film. But that moment was entirely missing. I think they tried briefly at one point with the first sauropod appearance but it was rather lacking still.

Everything that is wrong or missing in this film ultimately derives from the lack of character development and storytelling. This movie is a string of action-packed-scene to action-packed-scene with very little holding it all together. I was waiting for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to jump out from behind some bushes at any moment with dinosaurs under each arm, saving the day. It’s that kind of movie.

There is one true hero in all this though, and praised be, they are a SHE. Yes that’s right. Hollywood managed to make a strong, independent, powerful, FEMALE character that didn’t need no man to complete HER! She opened up a serious can of kick-ass on all the bad guys without needing any help from men with guns and she didn’t do it to save a love interest either. Introducing the one and only: BLUE.

This movie is entirely worth watching just to see her in action. I won’t give away too much, but the dinosaurs totally make up for the lack of the human character development in this movie. There are a couple of personalities shining through from these guys, even in short roles.

Although there are so many things lacking in this film, I do think there is at least one message that comes through pretty strong. You will pick it up in the first few minutes and it’s the same message scientists having been screaming at you for years: it’s all your fault. The world is messed up, Jurassic World, or the one outside your office window. We did it with our endless thirst for entertainment and consumption regardless of the ultimate consequences (having your body fought over by an Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus, or swimming in an ocean filled with plastic; same thing). It’s an ugly truth but the movie does point it out fairly bluntly in a few scenes (there may or may not have been some animal-lover tears shed), so kudos deserved there.

I won’t give away much more, go see the movie for yourself. Complain about the missing feathers and oversized mosasaur because you know better. We all enjoy knowing someone with a budget 1000x times bigger than ours is wrong about something. Go watch it anyway because we all love how these films inspired us to become scientists and palaeontologists. Hopefully there are some clever kids in the audiences this year who come out equally as curious about whether or not any dinosaur fossils would be left after that eruption, and if the drowning ankylosaur bloats-and-floats later…

– Kailah (aka Professor Anning in the photo above)

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