Lets start with Mercedes, because there are a lot of them in this film. In fact every single vehicle in this movie (with the exception of a motorcycle) is a Mercedes-Benz. That would be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that every time we see a character in a car it is proceeded by an establishing shot reminding us that she is, in fact, still in the all new, 2016 Mercedes GLE Coupe, on sale now at your local Mercedes dealership. We must take into account however, that a film such as Jurassic World requires a massive budget and any sort of funding is necessary and understandable. So let’s move on to the film’s characters.
Unfortunately, Jurassic World features the same cookie-cutter characters that we have seen in Hollywood movies for the past twenty years. First, there is the fearless hero with a mysterious backstory; the strong, self-dependent female, who always depends on others, and is constantly in need of rescuing, joins him. The film also contains characters such as the careless teenager who starts caring by the end, the curious child who stumbles into danger, the self-interested army general, and the caring mother who cries for 75% of her screen time, all peppered in there the way you desperately drown a tasteless omelet in salt.
Jurassic World however is not a character study, instead it is a movie that is supposed to engulf us in a story that excites us, thrills us, and scares us. So let’s move on to the film’s plot. Unfortunately, Jurassic World contains a plot as bland and repetitive as its characters, which is worsened by the several holes that exist within it. The film introduces several subplots that it completely abandons. Near the beginning of the film, the curious child is quite upset over the possibility of separation of his parents. By the end of the film, though his parents are still getting divorced, he has completely forgotten about it. My favourite detail of the Jurassic World’s plot lies within the choices made by our heroes. In order to stop a deadly, mutant dinosaur that has escaped its enclosure and could potentially harm some civilians, they free a T-Rex, Five Velociraptors, as well as all the Pterodactyls into the park, which actually end up killing several people.
Jurassic World however is not about its plot; instead it is about the marvelous action scenes that keep us at the edge of our seats from beginning to end. To be honest, some of these are actually pretty entertaining to watch, especially in 3D. Unfortunately the film gets a few things wrong in this department as well. The first is the blatant repetition of a single gag. It is a classic that we all love, where the dinosaur comes perilously close to our hero, who sits perfectly still, helplessly hoping that the monster doesn’t see him. The first time they use this trick, it is exciting, the second time, it is boring, the third time, it’s annoying. Nevertheless, it’s not quite as annoying as the ending of the film, where the main antagonist of the movie, who we’ve been trying to kill for 90 minutes, is brought down by a character we’ve met once, who’s sole reason of being in the movie was to get a cool shot to use in the trailer.
Make no mistake, Jurassic World is no different than Fast and Furious 17 or Saw 15, or Paranormal Activity 24, or Terminator 9; a studio trying to milk as much money as it can from a franchise that was kicked off by an initial impressive film. So the critical question is, “Was there anything that Jurassic World did well?” Yes. I believe Jurassic World did one thing so brilliantly that it is worth suffering through just to study the fantastic marketing of this movie. In this department, Jurassic World is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Before the release of the movie we witnessed the Jurassic World website. This truly remarkable website featured things such as the park’s weather conditions, wait times for certain rides, park maps, park history, and even live feeds of the several cameras at the park. Using this as well as the Jurassic World app, the marketing department relentlessly enhanced the social awareness of the film. Then there was the release of the trailer, which brilliantly used Steven Spielberg’s name (as executive producer) in a bold, large font along side imagery that very closely resembled the original film. This combination evoked a feeling of nostalgia, subtly reminding us of our absolute amazement with the first film. The trailer was formatted this way to take full advantage of the fantastic timing of the release of the movie. Jurassic World was released 22 years after Jurassic Park, massively widening its demographic. This allowed the film to intensely target two groups of audiences: the adults that were amazed as kids by the original film, as well as a new younger demographic of viewers. All of this contributed in making Jurassic World the biggest movie of the year, grossing over $200 million in its first weekend and over $1 billion worldwide so far.
It could be said that Toy Story 3 is similar to Jurassic World in many ways. It grossed around the same amount of money as Jurassic World and it employed a very similar marketing tactic as well, mainly targeting its original viewers. Toy Story 3 however did something much more important besides making a great deal of money. It gave us a marvelous, entertaining story that made us laugh and cry, but more importantly, a story that emotionally moved us. It taught us valuable lessons about coming of age and what it means to let go of the things we love. Toy Story 3 made us feel something. For these reasons, Toy Story 3 will be remembered. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about Jurassic World; like Scream 4 or Rambo 4 or Jaws 3, it will be forgotten as soon as the next exciting but forgettable film comes along, and the cycle will continue. As an exercise in commerce then, Jurassic World is world class; as a film however, it is disappointingly forgettable.