I apologize. If I’d busted my butt in my 20s to be a great screenwriter, it’s possible (though not likely, but possible) that I might have had the opportunity to write the script for Jurassic World. Had I worked hard to break into the business and fought tooth and nail, it’s possible that I’d have had the opportunity to pen a script with more than just scary moments, torture porn and fantastic visuals all loosely hung on a ‘plot’ line. Below is what I thought of the movie and in some cases, what I would have done differently had I had the opportunity to write it.
First of all, Chris Pratt should have been the 32 year old Tim Murphy (name of the boy character from the original). That seems painfully obvious. Make him a Greenpeace type guy who fights for the rights of the animals despite the animosity he feels toward the park owners who he sees as soulless suits.
Another choice (I think a weaker one, but still better than Jurassic World’s script choices) would be to have Bryce Dallas Howard’s ridiculously one dimensional character be Lex Murphy (the littler girl from the first one).
But no, they didn’t do any of that. The only character we get to see from the first movie is the weird scientist played by B.D. Wong. And he only had a few lines in one scene in the first movie. But, okay, fine. They decided to pull their characters out of the ether. Fine.
However, your characters had no depth. They were thinner than playing cards. We know nothing about BDH’s character except that she is stereotypically a workaholic who does not care to deal with anyone’s humanity. If it’s not by the numbers, she’s not interested. Apparently, she’s also not interested in being interesting to watch. I don’t necessarily blame Howard. Her performance wasn’t great, but the material they made her spout would have found a hard time being interesting in the performance of a Meryl Streep.
And all we know about Chris Pratt’s character is that he’s slightly charming, loves animals and seems to have no fear of anything. We don’t know what he lives for or anything about his life.
Vincent D’Onofrio plays an almost cartoonish person who acts cocky in the face of caged raptors. He plays power games to get his way only to see it blow up in his face. Forgive me while I yawn louder than a T-Rex might if it was forced to follow these paper thin storylines.
Judy Greer is in it and I love her. She brings a sincerity to a role that by my account is absolutely unnecessary. She’s the mom of the two boys who are our main secondary heroes. But the trouble is she adds nothing to the story. Greer’s performance is great. And I was happy to see her. But her character had no reason to take up any screen time. I’m saying they should have cast her in the BDH role and let Howard find a project a little less challenging.
Let’s not forget Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus. I love both these actors. But most of what they were forced to say was both a waste of their talent and pointless schlock. Lauren finally got to do what she does best – amazing comedy – with her last moment before exiting from the rest of the film. Johnson gets to stick around and deliver a few more jokes. But my god, did they make him say stuff totally out of his range. And again, I don’t blame him. His dialogue would have been rejected by my screenwriting teacher in college.
Irrfan Kahn – I like him as an actor. But he was forced to play a mix between Gandhi, Donald Trump and Rambo. And I don’t mean to imply that his character was complex. More like it had multiple personality disorder. One moment he’s a peace loving, ‘live in the moment’ kinda guy. Next, he’s acting like a typical ‘rich asshole’ stereotype. And right before he dies he gives us an Arnold-esque line that’s literally about a chopper (although he unfortunately doesn’t say the word ‘chopper’).
So, the story’s as thin as the characters. Does that mean it was a bad movie?
Nope. Even with the soap opera speeches, Jurassic World made me smile. It was worth the price of admission (and at the theatre I went to that is just under $17.00). Why?
Because it donned on me after a while that the movie makers behind this made-for-TV story showcased with a Hollywood blockbuster budget actually had a hidden message for the viewer. But this message wasn’t the disappointing kind like ‘Drink more Ovaltine’ in A Christmas Story. Rather, I felt the writers/director/producers were looking right at me and saying: “Stop looking for a good movie. This is a straight up creature feature horror film. It just so happens to have A-List casting and a budget bigger than the GDP of small countries.”
And then I sat back and enjoyed the ride. Stopped looking for literature. Jurassic Park was literature that happened to involve scary prehistoric monsters. Jurassic World on the other hand is an excuse to show a bunch of amazing visuals (a lot of dinosaur fights, an amazing tour of what a dinosaur theme park might actually look like, several Easter eggs for the original, etc.). And since we know the public won’t go see a bunch of stunning visuals without some kind of story holding them altogether, we hired a writer or two to crank out a ‘good enough’ script.
The movie practically had a scoreboard. We literally get to see a bunch of extras and Chris Pratt play real life Space Invaders by shooting a bunch of flying dinos. Then we get to watch nearly a minute of torture porn as BHD’s character’s secretary gets eaten and damaged by three different creatures. When the SWAT team tries to take down the mutant dinosaur their heartbeats appear on an info screen like a video game. We watch them die and then see their avatar die digitally.
And of course we cannot forget the raptors. In a brilliant stroke of genius, someone decided to shove a little ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ in this film by turning the raptors into hunting dogs. And we feel for them when they eventually eat it. Well played, Jurassic World.
Oh, and we can’t forget the ultimate ending – a threesome. Not a sexual threesome, but pornographic in it’s own way. A raptor, a T-Rex and a mutant super dinosaur get into a fight…that’s not a setup to a punchline. That’s just a description of the big finale scene. But it gets better. Does the fight end in a Van Damme like fashion? Any slow motion high kicks and slow dizzy falling to the ground? Nope. They go Deus ex Machina (the drama term, not the movie by the same title) and have it end with the very crocodile looking mega shark creature who was also responsible for eating the secretary.
Overall, I suggest seeing this in the theatre. Because the only thing going for it is spectacle. The spectacle is very well done. But if that’s all your getting you might as well see it on the big screen, right?
Just please hear this: Go into the theatre expecting to hear dialogue so bad it could inspire you to physically withdraw. Don’t do it. Rather, just brush it off. You didn’t come to hear these people talk. you came to hear people scream as a dinosaur eats them.