Why does everybody hate Jurassic World so much?
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was released two weeks ago. It currently sits at #1 in the box office and has grossed $274,000,000 so far. Rotten Tomatoes lists a critic score of 51% and an audience score of 58%.
If you type in this film’s name on Youtube you will get a barrage of bad reviews, claiming this film to be indescribably worse than the original. I’ve noticed that some of the primary reasons are: (like the first)
The characters are terrible and have no progression.
The plot is terrible and does nothing original.
The CGI is terrible.
I keep hearing people saying that Jurassic World needs to just end and they should never make another movie in this franchise. Most of the people saying these things are die-hard fans of the original film.
Now, I’m not claiming that the original film isn’t a groundbreaking piece of cinema. I’m also not saying that this movie is Shakespeare. I’m simply trying to figure out what about these two new movies has every fan so outraged. I thought they were fine films and I would actually argue that the first Jurassic World does a better job of doing what Jurassic Park did in many ways. (I understand of course that I must now be crucified for that opinion)
I’m going to address the criticisms one by one, and hopefully explain why Jurassic World in particular isn’t so bad.
1. The characters are terrible and have no progression:
This is a case of ignoring character progression because you’ve already decided that you don’t like a film.
Zach and Gray are two brothers who are going to Jurassic World for the weekend to be looked after by their Aunt Claire. Their mother and father are getting a divorce, and they don’t want the boys to have to be around for the proceedings.
Gray, the younger brother, loves dinosaurs. He isn’t stupid though because he can sense that something is going on with his parents. He knows about the divorce because he found the letters in the trash. Instead of telling anyone, he tries to be strong like his big brother Zach.
Zach is a teenager who is trying to be cool and tough despite having no idea what those words mean. He’s trying to act like his parents’ divorce isn’t bothering him, when in reality, he’s just as afraid as Gray. Unfortunately, he’s too cool for that.
Claire is obsessed with her career. He doesn’t like the idea of being a typical female stereotype, and as a result, she has distanced herself from everyone who makes her feel like she in dependent. Her sister expresses that she wishes Claire would visit more and she scolds Claire for leaving Zach and Gray with her assistant instead of being with her nephews. Claire used to date Owen, a raptor trainer and all around macho man. She is attracted to Owen, but she doesn’t like him very much anymore because he IS that typical macho man and expects her to just go with it.
Owen….has very little character arc in this film.
By the end of the movie Claire learns that her family is ultimately very important, but she does it without giving up her agency. She buckles down and saves her nephews all while wearing a pair of high heels, a clear symbol of her intact femininity while performing heroic acts which would have been relegated to a man in most other films.
Zach realizes that he needs to be there for his brother during this hard time. He also learns that being emotional is ok and that trying to be “cool” isn’t going to keep him from being afraid like everyone else.
Gray learns to trust his brother. He gains the strength to deal with his parents’ divorce and he knows now that he will never truly be alone.
Owen…. learns very little in this film.
2. The plot was terrible and it does nothing original.
Jurassic World is based off of the principle that Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum’s character in JP) expressed in Jurassic Park. Nature can’t be contained and we shouldn’t be playing God.
The film shows how quickly the park developers swept everything under the rug from the first park and opened the second without REALLY fixing the problems. They continued with Hammond’s misguided idea that he could just fix the problems and start over while still attempting to control the uncontrollable.
They treated a brand new dinosaur as a piece of property and not as a living being. They built a cage for this animal and didn’t even know how big it was going to get. The put the lives of thousands of people in danger for bigger thrills because they didn’t respect the power that they were wielding. This film speaks of animal rights and of preserving the flow of nature.
(The idea for genetically modified dinosaurs was going to be Spielberg’s fourth movie anyway) The idea of creating new dinosaurs for entertainment was one that wasn’t explored in the past three films but was done very well here. The Indominous Rex was terrifying and it was interesting to see what other abilities it had.
The film does much of what the first did but adds MORE dinosaurs and MORE thrilling set pieces.
3. The CGI is terrible:
This is a lie. Point-blank, period. This is a lie. OBJECTIVELY the CGI in any studio film of 2018 is better than the CGI of the 90s. Technology has improved in a million different ways. Lighting is more realistic. Shadows have deeper definition. Textures are rendered at a higher resolution. There are skin and muscle simulations going on inside of the bodies of every dinosaur, making them move even closer to how they would if they existed today.
The reason the original Jurassic Park had “better” CGI is the same reason why Avatar had amazing CGI. It was the first time you had seen anything like that, and nothing that you see every day in every movie will ever take you back to the moment when you saw a T-Rex walk across the big screen. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, but it gets in the way of reality. There is nothing wrong with loving the CGI in the original. That movie inspired me to be an animator. Facts are facts though. The new one looks more REALISTIC and you’re just not caught up in “Movie Magic” anymore because you know how it was done. (The gorilla in the original King Kong looks fake as hell but when people saw it in 1933, they didn’t know how it was done and they swore that they really created a giant ape to film.)
To wrap up, I don’t think that the movies are perfect, but from the standpoint that the first Jurassic Park was SOOOO great because it was new and had never been seen before, I feel that these movies do a better job. If I showed JW to a kid and then JP to them, I’m sure they would enjoy JW more. That’s the point. These are movies with scary dinosaurs. The first film was not a big deal for its amazing storytelling. (It changes things form the book that would have made the story so much better BTW)
I love Jurassic Park. I’m glad to see that they are making more of these movies. I watched the first film on VHS as a child and it blew me away. I know that these movies are blowing some kid’s mind right now, and that’s important in my book.