Saturday, June 20, 2015

Jurassic World: A New Kind of Weapon

I saw Jurassic World tonight.  As a fan of the earlier Jurassic movies, I was hoping for the best but was ready for less.  Sequels upon sequels are tough going.  The verdict: this Jurassic movie was one of the best.

The twist in the movie - so don't read on if you don't like spoilers - is that the raptors are being trained by a Navy man, Owen.  We soon learn why: the US wants to use them as literally biological weapons.   As the chief military spokesman Hoskins, played by Law & Order's Vincent D'Onofrio says at some point, wouldn't it have been great if we had these raptors on our side at Tora Bora.   In other words, wouldn't  it be great if we could put raptors out in the field against ISIS today? As Hoskins also says, they could be a lot more pinpoint effective than drones.

The sinister military motive, which actually does make at least a little sense,  is a new and significant element in the ongoing story of genetic rescuing of extinct species, the scientific hubris in the original movies.  In those stories, scientific arrogance and commercial greed combined to create tragedy on the island.  But the scientific god-playing is upped in Jurassic World, where we soon learn that a new breed of dinosaur, a genetically engineered mix, is about to be unleashed in the park, to thrill the patrons.   Idominus rex has been bred to terrify but of course not kill humans - but, of course, that's exactly what will happen before too long.

Hoskins has a bright idea - use the raptors, at least partially trained, to take down the indomitable genetically engineered dinosaur.   Unfortunately, one of the secret genomes that went into the design of Indominus was from the raptors, so in another nice twist, the raptors turn on Owen when they go face to face with the new dinosaur.  Later, Owen manages to get them back on his side, and, unless I missed it, there was no clear reason given why - which makes this a little bit of a hole in the story.

But the ending was plausible and worked great in the story and on the screen.  Claire, the female lead, seeing that even the raptors are no match for the vicious, highly intelligent Indominus, lets the Trynnosuarus rex out onto the field, and the surviving raptor and T. rex fight Indominus to a standstill, where in one nice last twist it is dispatched  by the monstrous dinosaur lurking in the nearby water pictured above.

Beautifully photographed, teeming with excellent special effects, and with ample room for a sequel, Jurassic World may just have put the dinosaur and genetic engineering back in business as bigger than life villains on the screen.


a different kind of prehistoric

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