A trillion monkeys typing for all eternity might eventually reproduce the complete works of William Shakespeare, but it wouldn’t take them five minutes to bang out a turd like Jurassic World — a flat hash of a movie that, at every furiously empty gesture, fails to scale even the most vulgar logical requirements of crass entertainment.
Exhibit one: In the middle of a pterodactyl attack, as hundreds of people are getting viciously tossed around and torn apart, two star-crossed lovers stop to share a passionate kiss.
Yes, millions of people will pay hundreds of millions of dollars to see this film. Already have: The film shattered the record for opening-weekend domestic receipts. This only indicates what a long, sad, exploitive road we’ve traveled from the first recognized blockbuster, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), to Jurassic World, the fourth installment in a steadily devolving franchise Spielberg himself inaugurated in 1993 with Jurassic Park.
Spielberg had little or nothing to do with this one — that should be warning enough, frankly. The turd-polisher… er, director … for this installment is a dude named Colin Trevorrow, working with a slapdash script by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. In fact, Trevorrow-Jaffa-Silver could be the name for a new, million-monkey algorithm that churns out cinematic trash.
Shame on the lot of them. They should be tried for consumer fraud, and their percentages should be siphoned toward some common good, like public education.
You know, even to suggest that a clutch of eternally typing monkeys could create such an execrable artifact as Jurassic World is actually an insult to monkeys. Monkeys have altruistic tendencies, picking nits off each other and such. Only one species of hominid — Homo sapiens hollywood — has proven itself so cold and calculating that it regularly foists off its own cynical greed as an invitation to dream.
The dream, in the case of Jurassic World, is nothing more than the nocturnal emission, full of sound and fury signifying the sticky collective screwing of the cosmodemonic box office. From the get-go, the movie is a ramshackle amalgamation of cardboard characters (the cold corporate bitch, the ruggedly moral outback Bogart-type, the evil scientist, the snarky tech dude, the swashbuckling CEO, etc.) strung along on a plot that doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going.
Even the bow-wow spectacle of 3D is wasted on this film, which is almost completely devoid of suspense, and fun, and any other purpose besides picking pockets.
Plot points are picked up and dropped like so much junk jewelry. At one moment, the film’s child characters weepily discuss their parents’ impending divorce — that domestic disaster hook so perfected by Spielberg — and then it’s never mentioned again, much less resolved.
Even worse is the scene when the cold bitch (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the moral hunk (Chris Pratt) — who, of course, harbor a mutual sex-attraction as obvious as a beach ball to the face — come upon a dying brontosaurus that looks suspiciously like E.T. attached to a half-inflated green balloon. The death scene is supposed to be cathartic, warming up the humanity of the Howard’s ice queen, but it’s so rapidly overplayed and undervalued as to be ridiculous, the emotional equivalent of a microwaved burrito.
And how exactly does Vincent D’Onofrio’s character Hoskins fit in? As the scheming military shmuck hoping to requisition dinosaurs for battle, his presence is never really explained — he’s just one more stuffed shirt who’s got it coming, and when he’s (SPOILER ALERT!) finally chomped by a dino, we’re supposed to feel some sort of vengeful come-uppance.
It’s a shame to waste an actor like D’Onofrio, who walks around the film looking like he just cut a fart he hopes nobody will smell.
The whole movie, in fact, appeals to the basest of human desires for wholesale slaughter, which I suppose is fine, but it does so without the least concern for narrative coherence. Blockbusters have their place: There are good-bad blockbusters, and bad-good blockbusters, and even blockbusters that achieve a level of sophistication and artistic grace.
Jurassic World is none of these. It’s a video game, and not even a very interesting one. (Valley River Center, Cinemark 17)