Jurassic World: The monster’s evolved, but not its human creators

Jurassic World

True to its promise, Universal Pictures has unleashed a monster in Jurassic World, one that is terrorising the world, and in the process shattering box office records. It opened with a mind boggling  US $208 mn , then crossed the 500 million mark in the first weekend, and the monster hit is now snapping at the ‘feat’ of James Cameron’s Avatar.  Let’s not lose sight of the fact that film opened across a mammoth 4274 screens, thus these number are only set to soar.

We live in times where box-office records alone define a film’s success. So, the critics can have their say but nothing is going to stop this monster from cementing its place at the top of the food chain. But then again, this race to the top will not be without facing many battles, without carrying many scars.

As an Indian, it gives me great pride that an Indian actor has played a pivotal part in this monstrous hit. He may not be a superstar of Bollywood, but Irrfan Khan has yet again underlined why he’s head and shoulders about all his Bollywood contemporaries. Needless to say that Irrfan’s presence alone drew the audiences in India.

In an interview to a prominent Mumbai tabloid, the actor revealed that he agreed to do the film only after being convinced of a pivotal role. He’d shared his experience of watching  Jurassic Park (1993)  in a theater in Mumbai, but didn’t watch the second and third Jurassic series film for fear of repetition. However, herein lies the irony.

If it was fear of repetition that drew Irrfan away from watching the subsequent films, then it looks like the actor has forgotten the events in the first part.

Like with most franchises, it is always the first part that is revered the most. After all, it comes as a breath of fresh air. Never before had the world imagined of a film that brings back the dinosaurs back to life. Steven Spielberg has many firsts to his credit, this was just another feather in his decorated cap.

In 1993, when the world didn’t  have superlative technology at its disposal, Spielberg’s Jurassic Park still showed us some breathtaking action. Four years later, Spielberg returned with Jurassic Park: The Lost World.  Though it made big bucks, it couldn’t match up to the first part. Spielberg then passed on the directorial reigns to Joe Johnston for the third film. It introduced us to new monsters, but clearly the slide was evident.

The idea for a fourth instalment was conceived in 2004, and 11 years later we have Jurassic World, a film with a new cast, genetically modified monsters, and in line with modern technology. But does Jurassic World have the novelty factor?

Over the last two days, I’ve watched the three films and then compared it to Jurassic World. Those with keen eyes (like yours truly) would agree with me that this film is nothing but an old wine in a new  an expensive bottle. While each film has exposed us to new monsters, but there appears to familiar pattern to scripting in all these films.

1. Experts (Alan Grant, Ellie Satler, Ian Malcom, and now Owen Grady) called to inspect the facility

2. Kids (grandchildren/nephews/ children) getting lost in the park and being rescued by their kins/experts.

The kids screech at the top of their voices. but surprisingly, always manage to escape from the monster’s claws.

3. In Gen and the larger than life presence of John Hammond.

Of course with Richard Attenborough passing away, an NRI Simon Masrani (Irrfan) emerges as the new Hammond.

4. One greedy bad egg who sets the monster on the trail of the the protagonists

The first two films had Hammond’s kin, the third one had an over enthusiastic Billy Brannen, an Jurassic World has a fool in Victor Hoskins, who (unbelievably) harbors ambition of using the predators to fight American wars. Save for Billy, the rest all land in the predator’s belly.

5. Dinosaur v/v dinosaur battle saves the day for humans

The first part saw a T-Rex v/s Velociraptor battle,

The second had T-Rex v/s Stegosaurus,

While third sees T-rex being defeated by Spinosaurus

And in the fourth, it’s T-Rex/Raptors v/s Indominus Rex, before the latter (Indominus Rex) is devoured by the gigantic Mosasaurus.

Now, Mr.Irrfan Khan don’t you think there are many repetitions in your film too?

To be fair to Irrfan though, he was perhaps the outstanding actor in Jurassic World. Thankfully, this time there’s no rogue Hammond here,  but having a Sindhi billionaire owner not whine over the loss of millions of dollars is far from reality.

Jurassic World took 11 years to make. Now, wasn’t it long enough for the writers to pen novel ideas for this film. In stead, what they’ve dished is another old wine, in a new expensive bottle. The new monsters are bigger, faster, intelligent too, but they don’t really send the shivers down my spine. I didn’t  experience the shrill and thrill of the earlier films. Here’s a few

a. Jurrassic Park – Torrential rains, and the actors stranded in their cars, gripped by fear of stepping out not knowing what beast lays outside. And the next moment, boom, the T-Rex soars devouring the goat, and shredding the fences.

b. The Lost World – The T-Rex sneaking its ugly face into the tent of Sarah and Kelly, sniffing their back, that’s covered in plastic/bed sheets.

c. Jurrasic Park III – Dr.Grant and Amanda makes their way safely through a misty giant aviary, but Eric is stunned to find a  Pteranodon come from no where.

I didn’t find such thrills in Jurassic World. Besides, how will you invoke fear, when your characters start using some of these predators as their ‘Blue’ eyed pet?

While the new creatures are fascinating, but the humans are not. Avengers director Joss Whedon was criticized after he found the film to be sexist in nature. Well, now that the film has released, many are now understanding his point of view.

Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) plays the operational manager of In Gen, but is she really in control of the park. Time and again, she’s questioned by her subordinates, then we have her former beau Owen Grady mocking at her for not remembering her nephews  ages. For an operations manager, she leaves all the decision making to Owen, who is on his maiden trip to the park. And then we have her nephews, who complain to their mother that aunt Claire is so busy that she hasn’t even spent a minute with us.  For a person occupying the  most important post in In Gen, Claire surprisingly, rehearses before any important meeting. Were the writers and director Colin Trevorrow more keen to show why a workaholic woman can’t make a good girl friend, a good aunt or a good professional?

Though Trevorrow redeems Claire in the climax when the woman unleashes the  T-Rex on the Indominus Rex. Sadly, it wasn’t enough for Trevorrow to escape the sexist charge.

A shabby and a repetitive script, inane characters and now a sexism charge. Well, all of the above is unlikely to result in a drop of box-office numbers for Jurassic World. The monsters have successfully evolved.  If only the people who created them  evolve, would then that Jurassic World have conquered the universe.

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