The press embargo on the film was in place until this morning. Most outlets won't violate an embargo in order to keep their access. This isn't terribly late for a film of this size.
I went to a press screening last night. It's always fun to visit a dinosaur park, but what a dumb story. It could have been really terrific if they'd just kept it simple. You could feel the artifacts of a thousand different script iterations in every scene. So many character arcs are needlessly established and given undue screen time just to be left as boring dangling threads. Those same characters are completely different people with opposite motivations or feelings from scene to scene. Some of the human characters have been given so little thought that they're simply less believable than the dinosaurs!
Jake Johnson is the analogue for the audience, playing a 30-something operator in the control room of Jurassic World. He's wearing a faded Jurassic PARK shirt that he got off of eBay for $100 bucks. After he's admonished for being insensitive, he agrees but adds that he has a lot of respect for the original JP - "That park was legit."
Chris Pratt's character is waaay too nonchalant about everything that happens. It works for Star-Lord, but it doesn't work for a regular guy watching people torn to shreds by dinosaurs, nearly dying himself several times over. Please don't carry this approach over to Indiana Jones if he gets the role! He falls victim to all the cooks in the script kitchen along with everyone else. In one scene, he's trying to convince everyone that this new dinosaur is going on a rampage and will kill everything in its path. Not ten minutes later, he's shocked at a field of dead dinosaurs, wondering that it's "not even eating them... It's hunting for sport..."
Vincent Donofrio's character is utterly nonsensical. He's intent on using Pratt's barely-trained raptor squad for military applications. It simply cannot wait - the sense of urgency he projects is ridiculous. Pratt and his team have been working with these animals from birth, and they barely follow this one guy's direction from a walkway up above them as he throws them treats. The trainers explain to Donofrio that their sessions usually don't go so well, and after an inexperienced handler falls into their pit and Pratt comes in to rescue him, Donofrio witnesses just how likely they are to eat their trainers. That's ALL this guy has to go on, and he wants them in the field straight away. Why NOT test them out on an escaped dinosaur? Let's ship 'em to the middle east and embed a few raptors in every unit! The film didn't need a human villain of this kind. We've got the new genetic monster to fight, and the greed that created him is failing enough from the human camp.
Speaking of the trained raptors: the movie simply doesn't need them to be trained, at all. It's such a nonsense distraction, and when you're working hard to tether this thing to the one beloved (original) film keeping the raptors as ruthless and efficient as they were established to be would have gone a long way. "They should all be destroyed." When they finally do "field test" them, they turn on their masters. As dumb as the setup was, I was glad it blew up in their face (quickly, but not quickly enough). Unfortunately, the raptors change sides again by the end. Sigh. They never should have been used this way, even having them established as trained. Pratt, clearly shown to be the only person with a shred of influence over them and with no interest in seeing them used as weapons, is told that "this is happening with or without you" before it cuts to them getting ready to roll out, Pratt at the helm. If he'd said no, as he had every reason to, the movie has established absolutely no way for it to "happen without him."
Indominus Rex. Fine! It's 2015. I can accept the one-upmanship as an echo of the first film's theme. "your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." It's top-secret, grown at an accelerated rate and out of the public eye. They're courting Verizon Wireless to sponsor the new attraction at the opening of the film. Dr. Henry Wu makes his return in JW, and eventually he explains some of what's in his genetic stew. He's able to camoflauge himself. He can also control his infrared signature, so the heat sensors won't detect him. They discuss early on that he grew bigger than anticipated and they're working on building the walls of his pen higher. When they don't see him in his pen and the heat sensors indicate he's gone, Pratt notices claw marks going up the 40-foot wall and they head into the pen to investigate while the hunt begins outside, in the park. Here's the thing though - he's actually still in the pen! He'd camoflauged himself, adjusted his infrared signature to fool the heat sensors, and planted the claw marks to lure people inside. God knows how he knew to do any of these things, nevermind all at once. It's clear that nothing has caused people to enter his pen unprotected for any reason in the past, nevermind try to escape through the dinosaur-sized door (it goes right from his pen into the parking lot) which he can also use to get out. No clue how he knows about the heat sensors or how to trick them, or why the animal has never exhibited any of these characteristics in its life before now. The last, top-secret part of its genetic makeup? It's not human, in case you were worried about that. It's raptor DNA! The Indominus Rex is responsible for turning Pratt's pack against the humans initially. It can talk to them and assumes the Alpha role, subverting Pratt.
The CG dinos look pretty good, but a little restraint would have gone a long way. I can't tell you (really, I lost count) of how many CG cameras were swallowed by digital dinosaur jaws. If a meat-eating dinosaur comes on screen, prepare to get a closeup of its tonsils. If you see an herbivore, it will be way too expressive like something out of Land Before Time. I swear one brachiosaur turned its head downwards towards the camera, smirking, and winked at us. Unfortunately, the practical dinosaurs look very lifeless and rubbery. They often have CG eyes, and I think the dying Brachiosaur that Pratt and Howard comfort had a digital body extension.
Hammond's successor, Masrani, is introduced as an idealist in the Hammond mold. "This park was build to show humanity how small we really are." "How is my park doing? Are the people enjoying themselves? Are the animals happy?" "When John Hammond entrusted me with the care of this place, he never once mentioned profitability!" That's all in his opening scene. Unfortunately, he's also saddled with a B-story about incomplete flying lessons, and he's another hugely inconsistent character. It's later shown that he wanted "cooler" dinosaurs from the lab. When he's shown the Indominus Rex and tells Howard that it will give even adult guests horrific nightmares, he exclaims that it's "perfect" like a Bond villain. Just weird.
The other human stories are clunky and keep you from liking anyone. I can see in retrospect that they were trying to plant hints of the family drama and reveal why things were rocky for the lead family late - more than halfway through the story one brother reveals to the other that their parents are talking to divorce lawyers. This isn't the Usual Suspects, and I hadn't wondered at all why their mother seemed so over-emotional on the phone. The brothers don't get along well off and on, but not in any interesting way. There's a ton of attention given to the teenage brother's infatuation with girls, but for all its screen time it never pays off. The younger brother is called "a genius" (again, kind of late) by his older sibling after we see him identify molecules, a 1992 Jeep (model, year, trim and factory paint color), and various dinosaurs but he never exhibits any practical intelligence and his "genius" never comes into play in the story outside of IDing those few things. There's zero chemistry between Pratt and Howard (she's just awful in this), but they better hope it works out because early on she's assured that she'll have kids someday. The two boys we follow to the island at one point run away from their chaperone. It's so abrupt - there was no indication at all that they'd been hoping to get off on their own. The abrupt running away and later taking their gryoball "off roading" through a dino-damaged fence without establishing that the dangerous adventure is appealing to either of them is boring because it doesn't ring true. So much weird, useless people stuff.
Once you've seen this bloated mess, imagine that they streamlined it:
The park is open to the world and has been for a while.
The owners got greedy and reckless and made a new dinosaur. It's smarter and bigger than they expected, and it climbs out of its pen. It doesn't pretend to and then camouflage itself and trick heat sensors that it couldn't possibly know about with some insane scheme - it's just bigger and badder than they could control in the ways they expected to.
Indominus Rex tears through the park, calling loudly with its horrible large-scale raptor chatter until it finds its ilk in the raptor pen. Dinosaur Marco Polo. It frees the worst of the worst from JP1 and they follow him as their Alpha. No need for humans to have any control over them beyond their electrified fences. Let them be ruthless and scary.
A family sends their kids to the park with their aunt because they're getting a divorce and need the time to deal with it. That's fine, easy to file away sort of character setup. If we know that, and the boys know that, they can go to the park and bond with each other. Let them be friends. Let the older take care of the younger. Let us know and like them. If they're hoping to run off and see dinosaurs on their own terms, establish that and let's go on an adventure!
A Jurassic World handler, the modern-day Muldoon, has some first-hand knowledge of the animals and their behavior and manages to get our main characters (most of them, anyway) through the park safely. I'm fine with the Mososaurus eating Indominus Rex. It's established up front as an impressively huge predator. I would have loved seeing the humans edge Indominus towards the pool, and let him fall in and thrash before being pulled under. Some turbulence, bubbles and blood would have been much more satisfying than the silly jack-in-the-box mososaurus chomp we were subjected to instead. Boring. They gave the boys' chaperone the death scene the dinosaur villain needed (she has the most brutal death seen in any of the films).
Somehow, despite all of these flaws, it's still fun to visit Isla Nublar (for me). Not a good film in its own right though.
Saw the film at an advanced screening last night. It's not without its issues - most characters aren't that fleshed out and some of the dialogue was painful - but overall I thought it was a really fun movie and worthy sequel of the first film. It's certainly miles better than 2 and 3, that's for sure. Most of the FX was still heavy on CGI (some not done particularly well) but there were a few scenes with very impressive practical effects. I do recommend suspending disbelief, some parts are a bit ridiculous but c'mon it's a movie about a dinosaur theme park. If you're a fan of JP and are paying to see some serious dino mayhem and dino vs dino fights, this is worth the price of admission. Lastly, Chris Pratt is awesome and Blue is my boy!
Part of why the first movie is so great is its flow and pacing. The book was so well boiled-down that you're just on the ride. They gave the humans some character and clear, simple motivations/lessons. The setup and flow of the story are actually so strong that you look past its flaws and contradictions. Once you're so invested, it never occurs to you that a car is dropped straight down a wall and ends up rooted at the top of the far side of a massive tree, nor that the tremendous drop itself represents the spot where a goat sat and the T-Rex walked across the paddock fence minutes earlier.
The third movie is a lighter monster movie, for sure. Jurassic World is like that, but without the clear, clean simple character motivations and plotlines. It's really convoluted. But, as they said, still fun to watch.
I rank them as 1, 4, 3, 2, with 3 and 2 pretty far back. The character developments in all the sequels were weak, so for me it all boils down to the dino action, and I thought JW had JP3 beat pretty thoroughly in this regard. The best part of JP3 for me was the Spinosaurus, and the I-Rex is just way more terrifying, plus the final tag team battle at the end of JW more than made up for the Spino-Rex fight in JP3 that simply didn't last long enough. While the original JP cast as a group was very engaging, as individuals none of them hold a candle to Owen Grady. Chris Pratt just has IT, whatever the heck it is, and it makes for great entertainment.
Chris Pratt definitely does have charisma and star power! It'd be nice if he'd been directed to seem to notice at all that crazy horrible stuff is happening to him and people around him, though. He's just too cool with it; it reinforces the fact that there's nothing on set to be afraid of. Can you imagine how easy it was to act opposite Stan Winston's T-Rex? I bet that shaped Sam Neill's psyche straight through production.
The more I think about it, the more I see JW as a mashup of elements of 1-3.
The self awareness in Jurassic World has characters questioning the park's existence and corporate direction thus mirroring some of the doubts of the audience in regards to this franchise.
I liked the early pacing of the movie with its gradual build up, as it then kicks into gear and it stays that way for a while. And though I liked hearing John Williams' Jurassic Park theme music through the course of the film, I wasn't too pleased when they introduced it early on without it being part of a momentous occasion; even though I know I can't expect them to replicate the revealing awe moment like in the first film.
The characters aren't really all memorable and some of their actions and motives seems dubious, but they didn't make me cringe and Chris Pratt is a delight to watch even though he toned down his usual charm for most parts.
The movie was overall fun, delivered plenty of good dino action with some genuine scary moments along with few surprises. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing another sequel exploring the fallout from this movie.
I agree with a lot of what people have said here. I thought the PA's death was unnecessarily brutal and prolonged, and at odds with the tone of the rest of the JP movies. Characters usually die heroically, or with a darkly humorous twist, and there was no need to see her flailing about for so long.
Overall I enjoyed the film but it definitely would have benefited from streamlining.
Huge JP fan here but I went in trying not to fan boy out at the fact it's a Jurassic Park movie (albeit named 'world').
The nods to the original both in props, scenes and even camera angles (think the InGen chopper flying into the island in this one) really made me happy.
They did a great job building off what JP was but of course it's 22 years later so needless to say things had to change, both at the park as well as the movie.
JP was new, huge and cutting edge. I mean they had dinosaurs on screen that looked believable and REAL.
Spielberg himself said they needed GOOD actors to interact with them and make them believable.
Did we get that with JW? No.
Did we get an updated theme park catering to the needs of todays adventure hungry public? Yes
Did we hear Clare say 'kids look at a Stegosaursus nowdays and see an Elephant in a zoo? Yes
Because after a few years of being open, JW is old news and the funds they need to run the park require constant attendance.
I loved the fact we see the oldest messing on his cellphone when a Mosasaur is about to devour a Great White Shark.
The eventual story of using the dinosaurs for military application...that goes back to the original script (we all dry-heaved when we heard it) of the raptors being mercenaries.
It wasn't believable but the movie needed a villain outside of the I-Rex and we got it.
I ***** my pants in the old garage scene (mainly because I drive a #18 Jeep) and overall I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.
It's not Jurassic Park, nothing ever will be because that time has passed.
Movies now need action, adventure, a pretty girl, a gruff guy and a bad guy you just want to see get killed.
This movie has it all because that's what sells tickets.
That being said I felt let down by the music.
Obviously I'm basing it on the original John Williams score which has flowing melodies that build up nicely.
I felt the score had the soft melodies but it never built up to anything.
I was sat there waiting for it to kick off....it never did in my opinion.
Again I'm comparing and I know one will never live up to the original...but it's what I do.
I'll be seeing it again but I do not see there being another Jurassic 'Park' movie,. simply because this is the 3rd installment of a 'failed theme park' (be it both the actual parks from 1 and 4 and the 'idea/plan of one' from 2) and the story is just played out.
Jurassic World is the park we all hoped would succeed from the original, only the original magic has gone and it's bottom dollar time for the corporation.
A very good sequel, but still no cryocan to close that story arc from JP1 (unless you count the game)