I’m just going to come right out and say it: this film had its moments! If you haven’t seen it yet I recommend you stop reading now because I’m going to be discussing it in detail and I’d hate to ruin the surprise for anyone.
There. I’ve done all I can. If you still see spoilers it’s all on you.
Big surprise: the first dinosaur that you see all of is completely feathered! That said, it’s an avian dinosaur: a full-fledged modern bird. The best thing about going into it with the lowest possible expectations was that I was half expecting them to try and explain no feathers by removing them from modern birds in the Jurassic Park universe, so I was overjoyed when they didn’t do that.
In fact they even had a crack at explaining the absence of plumage: Dr. Wu defends his creation of the Indominus rex (the Tyrannosaur x Velociraptor x Cuttlefish x Amazonian frog hybrid) by telling Masrani, the new head of Ingen, that he’s done exactly what was asked of him. That he’s always made whatever the investors wanted and that none of the dinosaurs in the park are natural and would look very different if they were. Essentially this is explanation #4 in my pre-film grumble about accuracy. The park’s bean counters don’t want real, they want “bigger teeth”. This is a very handy way to explain away any and all inconsistencies that a person might find in the dinosaurs and paves the way for inaccuracy in any future films there may be. It does help with the suspension of disbelief but at the expense of the moral message of the film.
Every story has at least one moral message. Some hide it better than others but they’re always there. The first Jurassic Park had a message of respect for nature and that man’s attempts to control it will ultimately fail because “life will find a way”. According to the exchange between Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow and Gizmodo journalist Gerald Lynch, we are told that the intent of the movie is all about real dinosaurs being cooler than artificial ones. If that’s the direction I salute it because it hints at future films being more accurate than the current story trajectory (although the embryos are on the hands of the military now so I’m not holding my breath). The film itself does feature the real dinosaurs and mosasaurs working together to defeat the Indominus rex freak and shows the Tyrannosaurus reclaiming her throne with a hearty roar, seemingly supporting Trevorrow’s assertions about the film’s underlying message. Dr. Wu’s line that all the dinosaurs in the park aren’t natural undermines all that. At best we can say that the moral message of Jurassic World is that less artificial dinosaurs and mosasaurs are better than artificial ones if they behave in an artificial way and work together for a common purpose. That’s a pretty watered down message!
In conclusion, the human performances were good and the dialogue was genuinely entertaining, the style of certain scenes drew enough on my emotional attachment to the first film to really move me. The grand delivery made me long to be there and wish even more that the dinosaurs looked better, it would’ve been an exceptional piece of movie magic if they had. Meanwhile, the concessions made to explain away the inadequate dinosaurs, pterosaurs and mosasaurs compromised the delivery of what could have been epic.
The good news is that we have this film to look forward to. Fluffy Tyrannosaurus, yay! In the meantime, take a look at the twitterverse’s efforts to build a better fake Theropod than the rather dreary Indominus rex. Mine’s below: