As an unreasonably huge fan of the Jurassic Park series, I have been wary of sequels for (two) glaringly obvious reasons. As for Jurassic World, I was excited for one whole year in advance of the film, and I have yet another reason to be wary. This time it has nothing to do with the plot of the film or the fact that it was unnecessarily rebooted; this time, it’s product placement. Ladies and gentlemen, this film might as well have been titled “Universal Pictures presents: SAMSUNG.” I like to imagine that the film was divided into three main acts: the first act (the one nobody cares about), the second act (the one in which nobody sees the new psycho-killer dinosaur), and the third act (the one with the giant lizards breaking a pre-historic zoo). I’m going to review each act individually, though I want to say that, as a whole, the film was a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling popcorn-eating roller coaster armed with teeth. I give it 7.5/10 stars.
Earlier I named this act as the one nobody cares about, however, for the common movie-goer, it might prove to inform those who are too young to understand the plot of the series or to help others connect to the characters. We are introduced to two (main?) characters, neither of whom are particularly memorable; as a matter of fact, I cannot recall their names. We have a stereotypical bored teenager with an over-the-top clingy girlfriend (which delivers an honestly funny gag for the audience), and the reincarnation of Tim from the original film (a younger boy who is obsessed with dinosaurs). I must say I wanted the older boy to die as soon as possible; preferably death by therapod. The introduction to the parents is slightly clunky and off, as it is for their Aunt Claire. She is represented as a stereotypical over-planner and micro-manager who views these dinosaurs as assets, and not “living, breathing animals” (remember that line, it is repeated at least three times in the film). We are then introduced to the boys’ caretaker, who is trying her best to keep track of two kids who are begging to be eaten. I felt bad for her, though I am glad the park presented her with a shiny new Samsung S6, which, funnily enough, Aunt Claire also has. Come to think of it, the older boy has a Samsung phone as well, as does the person sitting next to them at the mosasaur feeding. The ACU troopers have Samsung smart watches. The main building is sponsored by Samsung. Throughout the film there are also guest appearances by Beats, Starbucks, and Mercedes-Benz. The amount of sponsorship in this film makes the Super Bowl look like a flyer on a bulletin board. I understand that movies need to be funded, but this amount of obvious product placement in a film that criticizes a corporation’s commercialistic approach to business is distracting to say the least.
This act is filled with allusions, references, and important introductions. We meet Owen, an ex-navy (or perhaps current navy) soldier who is training velociraptors. We meet another guy who wants to weaponize “nature’s perfect killing machines,” but we again are reminded that these animals are living, breathing creatures, and not weapons. We also vaguely and briefly see the Indominus Rex, and another laugh is provided about the naming process of the animals. Owen is called in when the I-Rex appears to have escaped, and Act III is born.
Long story short, the I-Rex is smart, like a raptor, huge like a T-Rex, has the thermal seeking capabilities of a snake, regulates temperature like a tree frog, and is camouflaged like a cuttlefish (I know, I said the same thing you are thinking). In my humble opinion, this act held as closest to the fun of the original film. It ultimately escapes its pen in a brilliant show of intelligence and cunning, though the film never tells us how the beast knew to hide from thermal cameras. Owen and Claire (who have a romantic history together) team up to try to stop the beast, but they soon discover that they need help and enlist said help in the form of two legged friends, ultimately save the day. I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil anything, but this act is the most fun I have had at the movies in a long time. Honest jump scares, chase scenes, explosions, guns, and dinosaurs more than make up for the depression caused by Act I.