Chris Pratt’s character Owen Grady hurls himself in to the raptor paddock and strikes the pose inspiring zookeepers the world over. That’s when I sat up straighter and felt like I was going to enjoy this movie. The focus and intensity of that scene cemented it as one of my favourites from the film and I was probably a significant contributor to the number of views it has received on Youtube.
I had seen only Jurassic Park III from the film series and all I could remember was my dad telling me that Sam Neill starred in the earlier movies. No memories of the creatures, landscapes or characters. Considering the third movie was released in 2001, I was more than ready for a refresher course on a dinosaur-related blockbuster franchise.
Being practically a newbie in terms of Jurassic Park, I was not sure what to expect from Jurassic World, having found the movie trailer somewhat bland and not too explanatory in terms of the story, as well as reading (predictably) both good and bad reviews online.
In the end I had a spectacular time and experienced tremendous enjoyment from what felt like a revamped classic blockbuster experience with the Spielberg touch. Not being a film critic I was as usual disposed to be more curious than critical. The standout likeability of Owen Grady was a definite factor and I felt strongly that Chris Pratt filled out the role very nicely indeed. Except for that scene when Owen asks Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who’s trying to place a work-related request, with looming audience suspicions of their short dating history, “You wanna consult here, or in my bungalow?” Really? At least she just looks at him, wrinkles her nose, and says back, “That’s not funny.” “A little funny”, he chortles. So I calm down a bit when I see she can hold her own, and hope this is just a short demonstration of his primitive and unapologetic humour.
But shouldn’t I be concentrating on the dinosaurs? Well, if character stories are presented to me, I can’t help but pay attention. I also can’t help but pay attention to the pristine whiteness of Claire’s monochrome outfit as she moves about the park and premises. But it’s when things pick up on the dinosaur danger front and Owen tells Claire to do something about her “ridiculous shoes” that I yell, “Finally!” It’s exactly what I would tell a girlfriend if she had on heels and was about to trek through a South American jungle. Then again, Claire gets as grimy as the rest of them as events unfold.
I won’t go in to a discussion about Claire’s running around in heels throughout the entire movie, because I was already preoccupied with that distracting me from the dinosaurs and the main focal points of the story. But of course I discovered later that the internet was already ablaze with articles on the subject, as well as discussions on the heels being a feminist statement. To be honest, I was simply concerned with notions of realism and comfort. But as my friend sitting next to me thoughtfully pointed out, there were dinosaurs running around like a given thing, and one got frustrated with a woman wearing heels on jungle soil. Such is life, I suppose.
I couldn’t help feeling sorry about the killing mission in the film, once it’s clear that a genetic experiment got out of hand, as the creatures in the story are not ones that asked to be created this way or be part of a dinosaur safari, though they certainly have more than enough space to roam and live.
The dinosaurs were as impressive as I hoped they would be, snapping their jaws most convincingly and not looking like blown-up plastic toys. That underlined the familiar idea of humans dealing with the consequences of what they themselves relentlessly put in motion – pushing the boundaries of science for ultimately commercial purposes. “You just went and made a new dinosaur?” Owen asks Claire incredulously. “Yeah, it’s kind of what we do here”, she answers, with a touch of light sarcasm.