‘Juras­sic World’

The China Post - - ARTS - BY JAKE COYLE

Along the scaly spine of the Tyran­nosaurus Rex runs the evo­lu­tion of Hol­ly­wood “block­bus­ter­ing.” Twenty-two years ago, Steven Spiel­berg’s “Juras­sic Park” set the stan­dard for the kind of movie the in­dus­try has, ever since, bred like test-tube di­nos. Their genes are ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied for the req­ui­site com­puter-gen­er­ated ef­fects, mer­chan­dis­ing tie-ins and theme park-style at­trac­tions.

While it’s easy to lament the kind of films born out of Spiel­berg’s box of­fice record-set­ter, “Juras­sic Park” was — and still is — a kind of pop per­fec­tion that has since been end­lessly copied but rarely equaled.

“Juras­sic World,” the lat­est in­car­na­tion of the fran­chise, is lack­ing the deft sense of won­der­ment, wit and sus­pense that guided the orig­i­nal. Direc­tor Colin Trevor­row, who ended his first and only other fea­ture, “Safety Not Guar­an­teed,” with a Spiel­ber­gian mag­i­cal twist, has in­stead made a more bit­ing thriller hung up on the cor­po­rate man­dates of post-“Juras­sic Park” Hol­ly­wood.

What was once a charm­ingly hokey, if fa­tally mis­guided is­land re­sort off Costa Rica cre­ated by a wealthy, wide-eyed car­ni­val show­man has grown into a sprawl­ing, mono­rail-tra­versed theme park worth bil­lions. Juras­sic World is a Dino Dis­ney World, com­plete with long lines, bored teens and no shade to speak of. For bet­ter or worse, “Juras­sic World” has done a very good job of recre­at­ing the theme park ex­pe­ri­ence.

The feat of bring­ing dinosaurs back from ex­tinc­tion is no longer enough of a draw for the park, an ob­vi­ous par­al­lel to the pres­sure on Trevor­row to am­plify en­ter­tain­ment and main­tain fran­chise profit. New species of dinosaurs have been ge­net­i­cally cre­ated to sat­isfy the masses stream­ing through the gates. Some even get out­fit­ted with elec­tronic head­sets, bring­ing us ever closer to the cinema of Dr. Evil: “sharks with frickin’ laser beams at­tached to their heads.”

“Big­ger, louder, more teeth” is the de­mand of the park’s cor­po­rate over­lords, which in­cludes the serene CEO Simon Mas­rani (Ir­rfan Khan). But the real face of the new Juras­sic World is op­er­a­tions manager Claire Dear­ing (Bryce Dal­las Howard), a busi­ness suit-clad ex­ec­u­tive who calls the dinosaurs “as­sets” and de­scribes the park in terms of rev­enue, not awe.

When her two neph­ews, a brood­ing teenager named Zach (Nick Robin­son) and his younger, more ex­cited brother Gray (Ty Simp­kins) ar­rive for a visit, Claire still spends most of her time in the NASA-like con­trol room or host­ing po­ten­tial spon­sors.

The only one who seems to un­der­stand the dinosaurs is Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady, a kind of Ve­loci­rap­tor Whis­perer. He’s trained a four­some of Rap­tors, each sport­ing their own nick­name, by click­ing sounds. He shouts com­mands (“Stand down, Blue!”) that would sound more fit­ting for an over-friendly Rus­sell Ter­rier than a res­ur­rected Raptor.

When the dinosaurs’ in­tel­li­gence is again un­der­es­ti­mated, chaos re­turns to the park, cour­tesy of a wily, fe­ro­cious hy­brid of mys­te­ri­ous ge­netic makeup called the In­domi­nus Rex. He’s part T-Rex, part frog and all busi­ness when it comes to the chompy-chompy — none of that ten­der­ness of the Tyran­nosaurus. He’s a fo­cus group-tested prod­uct for max­i­mum ap­peal — again, just like “Juras­sic World.”

The cor­po­rate com­men­tary in the screen­play, by Trevor­row, Rick Jaff, Amanda Sil­ver and Derek Con­nolly, comes across as heavy handed partly be­cause it’s not smoothed by hu­mor. If the mod­ern block­buster could use any­thing, it’s a re­work by a few tal­ented com­edy writ­ers. As a con­trol room techie, Jake John­son lands the only real laugh.

The 3D “Juras­sic World” is also an ugly, over-sat­u­rated movie; CGI has run amok here as much as dinosaurs. Af­ter nods to John Wil­liams’ clas­sic orig­i­nal, Michael Gi­acchino’s un­re­mark­able new score punc­tu­ates the ac­tion, as the char­ac­ters grad­u­ally come to­gether from lo­ca­tions across the park. Vin­cent d’Onofrio’s opportunistic mil­i­tary con­trac­tor is also lurk­ing.

Pratt, the Har­ri­son Ford heir ap­par­ent, slides per­fectly into the film. But it’s Howard who makes the big­gest im­pact as a cor­po­rate cog whose con­trolled world is im­plod­ing. It’s not a sub­tle por­trait — she keeps her heels through­out — but her trans­for­ma­tion is the most con­vinc­ing one in a film full of du­bi­ous evo­lu­tions.

English with Chi­nese sub­ti­tles Com­edy, Drama, Sport Ger­many 115 min.

2013 Paul Aver­hoff was a leg­endary marathon run­ner who once won a gold medal at the Olympics. Now over 70 years old, he an­nounces he is go­ing to train for the Ber­lin Marathon and win it. Di­rected by Kil­ian Ried­hof With With Di­eter Haller­vor­den, Tatja Seibt and Heike Makatsch

Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dal­las Howard) face the chaos that the dinosaurs bring.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.