Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Jurassic World" seems like an overblown Epcot, belonging in Orlando


Jurassic World”, by Colin Trevorrow, didn’t promise me anything new.  I remember a friend from Dallas had compared me to Jeff Goldblum from the earlier “Jurassic Park”. 

What I saw was a model world, a kind of Epcot park, belonging in Orlando (Oh, I forgot -- Epcot belongs to Disney, not Universal), but set up in Costa Rica (according to the script), actually filmed in Hawaii.  It took pretty good CGI to set up this little universe, which rather resembles an Adventureland. 
    
You have the ideal family leaving snowy Minnesota for a tropical Christmas vacation.  The two kids, Zack and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins), have tremendous charisma, you rather expect Zack to become Clark Kent soon, as he navigates the sphere through he wilderness, learns to drive a truck and helps rescue his little brother from the artificial predators on the loose in the park.

Chris Pratt (remember “Bright” from Everwood – and calling himself “Pratt” cubed on Twitter) plays the solid good guy managing the animals, competent, but with rather wooden lines.  

The plot, of course, concerns a nefarious project to create new creatures by genetic engineering to earn the park more money for Wall Street.  Predictably, the creatures run wild.  We wind up with effects that recall the Japanese horror flick “The Giant Behemoth”.  The creatures are intelligent and communicate (not was well as dolphins).

Dinosaurs were the ancestors of modern birds, and the movie does homage to that idea with an attack on the Epcot-portion of the park right out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.  But it is the monstrous reptile-like carnivores (they are supposed to have been warm blooded) that provide the entertainment, as various less desirable zoo employees get eaten up.  We don’t see arms and legs roll (or heads roll) as much as in some other films from the 80s (remember the end of “An American Werewolf in London” or even “Wolfen”?)
The next time I go outside, a friendly robin will great me.  He always recognizes me and doesn’t fly away.  He doesn’t know who is distant ancestors were.  There is a crow in the area who kept chasing me inside the day that Hurricane Sandy was approaching.  These wild animals know us better than we think.
  
The official site is here  although Universal says it is redoing the site.
The film was shot in the unusual aspect ratio of 2.00:1 to accommodate Imax formats. 
  
I saw a 3-D version last night at the AMC Courthouse, before a near sellout in a reclining seat auditorium. The theater seems to have reduced weeknight 3-D prices for seniors. 

Public domain picture of Maui Landsat, NASA  Most recently there in 1980 and drove to the volcano summit.

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