Have movies gotten better? I’m asking this seriously. It’s been almost a year since I’ve come out of a movie theater not liking a movie. There have only been a handful of high-profile bad movies this year, and it’s already June. I legitimately think there are more good movies coming out now than there have been in previous years. Even if you look at bad movies, many of them are so bad they’re good, like Jupiter Ascending or Strange Magic.
But maybe we just appreciate bad movies more than we used to. And I’m not just talking about movies that are so bad they’re good. I mean we’ve broadened our idea of what a good movie is. Mainstream comedies like Bridesmaids are getting Oscar nominations. The Fast & Furious franchise is being celebrated across the board. Ridiculous action movies like John Wick and Fury Road are getting near-perfect scores on Rotten Tomatoes. And this isn’t a bad thing. It inspires artists to keep doing what they love, it makes critics more accessible and reliable to the mainstream public, and it means that truly good movies are getting the recognition they deserve when as little as seven years ago, The Dark Knight, objectively the best movie of 2008 if not the entire decade, was not even nominated for Best Picture.
That being said, Jurassic World is fucking ridiculous. It’s about three steps from being The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but at the same time, it works surprisingly well. Maybe it’s because Amazing Spider-Man 2 is better than we give it credit for, but the more likely answer is that it’s a Jurassic Park movie. It succeeds where a good Jurassic Park movie succeeds, and it fails where they often fail.
You see, while the first Jurassic Park is visually stunning and an immensely fun experience, its human characters are mediocre at best. We all remember John Hammond and Jeff Goldblum and Wayne Knight, but actually going back and watching the movie, they’re practically cardboard cutouts. And try as it might, Jurassic World falls into very much the same issues. Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and the rest are arguably better actors than those appearing in the original, it doesn’t really mean much when the script itself is dumb, which it is, obviously. It’s written by the same people behind the Planet of the Apes reboots, and while those are all well and good, this movie feels like a rehash thereof.
But credit where credit is due: director Cory Doctorow Colin Treverow does an excellent job bringing this uninspired, obvious universe to life. The movie looks gorgeous. The set pieces are great, the special effects are great, it all just comes together to make a really visually pleasing movie. And while it does use a lot of that infamous orange-blue contrast, it’s through the set design rather than through filters for the most part, so it actually looks really pretty. Let me put it this way: my Snapchats have a lot of orange/blue contrast, but it’s not because they’re directed by Michael Bay and Doug Liman. It’s just because my bed is gray, my walls are blue, my lights are orange, and my skin is tan. That’s Jurassic World.
It’s also a surprisingly layered film, in ways I didn’t even notice watching it. Trevorow maintains that the new hybrid dinosaur, Indominus rex, “embodies our worst tendencies. We’re surrounded by wonder and yet we want more.” Meanwhile, Chris Pratt has stated that he and Bryce Dallas Howard’s characters are stereotypes that are flipped on their head over the course of the film, and critics say it’s a metaphor for the entertainment industry, and a meta-commentary on the state of reboots themselves.
Regardless, it’s a fun movie. I give it a B+. I’m sure you were planning on seeing it anyway, but if not I suggest you check it out. You can like this post if you like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, follow my blog if you like it like it, and check out my Twitter @BreakingPOORLY. Be on the lookout for upcoming reviews of Spy, Inside Out, Dope, Ted 2, and a fascinating article I’m working on about the history of orange-blue contrast.