Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jurassic World (2015)

Friends make everything better! Today my sister, my best friend, and I all met for a showing of Jurassic World, one of the long-awaited movies of the year for me. Roughly a year ago, my bff showed me Jurassic Park for the first time. Unlike many millennials, I wasn't actually raised on the franchise. However, that totally didn't matter because these are some of the coolest movies I've ever seen, partially because of the theme and partially because of Jeff Goldblum in black.

But before I say anything else, for the record, no, Jeff Goldblum is NOT in Jurassic World, not even a cameo appearance, unless you count the back of a book cover twice. So, now that Goldlbum is out of the way, moving on to the actual story.

Did anyone else have their doubts about Chris Pratt successfully integrating into the franchise? I admit that I did. It's not that I don't like the man, but my only other Pratt experience is Guardians of the Galaxy which I'm still not entirely sure I like or not. And he's major comedy dude in that movie, so I just didn't know what to think of him joining Jurassic World. Well, any doubts you might have had about him should definitely be laid to rest, just like mine were. Chris Pratt is AMAZING as Owen Grady! It never occurred to me that he could play a serious role. As my sister put it, he is now filling a void for the masculine adventurer left by Harrison Ford when he started aging. And in my mind, that is quite a compliment.

Velociraptor Coolness

When my sister got out of the car at the theater, she looked at me and said matter-of-factly, "I'm rooting for the velociraptors."

I get where she's coming from. The velociraptors are cool because they're smart, definitely the sharpest tack in the dinosaur kingdom. What I didn't expect was the unique approach Jurassic World used for them. Instead of them being the hunters like in Jurassic Park 2, now they're being trained to work together as a cohesive unit with a very surprising alpha at the head . . . Owen Grady. He's an ex-Navy man and he worked tirelessly for 2 years to build a bond with a set of 4 velociraptors, training them, and in the process, fighting for dominance over them.

When the big baddie of Jurassic World rampages (duh, of course that's going to happen), one of the solutions to the problem is to use the velociraptor pack to their advantage. This is the first time, ever in the franchise, that man and velociraptor have worked together. Such an incredible scene, having Owen on his motorcycle riding with the velociraptors, hot on the scent of the dinosaur they absolutely must take down.

Of course, things go awry, mayhem and chaos ensues just as Ian Malcolm would predict, but even with a change in loyalties for a time, by the end of the film, Owen maintains his dominance as alpha over the velociraptors. You've never seen anything like it, trust me. It was an exciting twist on an established scary villain of the franchise because honestly, the velociraptors are scarier than the Tyrannosaurus.

Special Effects Heaven

One of my biggest peeves with film-making nowadays is when the entire film is a blatantly fake CGI extravaganza. That is NOT the case with Jurassic World.

Okay, so I love how the original films were made. The men in velociraptor suits and all of the animatronic dinosaurs were really ingenious and pretty darn scary. So I was not sure what to expect with Jurassic World. Most action films now are so chock-full of CGI that they actually bore me because I know it's not real because it doesn't look real.

These dinosaurs look FREAKIN' real! 

Whatever method they used still maintained some of the organic feel I love so much with the previous 3 films. The velociraptors convinced me that they were real, as did the Indominus Rex, and man, those pterodactyls were cool. Jurassic World has literally proven to me that you can take a movie, throw quite a bit of CGI into it, and still have it look real. Great job on the special effects, guys!

Final Thoughts

I gotta say, it's exciting to see this franchise make a comeback. Sometimes it's a good idea to let franchises die. Let's be honest, that last Indiana Jones movie was not their best effort plot-wise. But for Jurassic Park, they can continue on and make as many movies as they want and I will go see them. As I told Caitlin and Charity, life can be so boring sometimes, so it's exciting and entertaining to see a world where nothing boring ever happens.

Come on, Ian Malcolm's chaos theory predicted that Jurassic World would go just as wrong as Jurassic Park and he would be just as right now as he was back then. You know, the moment you sit your behind in those theater seats with sticky soft-drink residue under your shoes, that dinosaurs are going to get lose, run rampant, and chomp into quite a few people before the closing credits. That's what you expect, it's what the movie delivers, and it's an adrenaline rush of awesomeness.

What I didn't expect was to feel genuinely sorry for some of those dinosaurs, but I should have because I felt some of the same remorse in the 2nd film when InGen is rounding up dinosaurs for their park in San Diego.

Do animals that were extinct and are now genetically created have any rights? Should they have any rights? Well . . . do we?


  1. Yay, I can't wait to see this! Glad you liked it. My whole family loved Guardians, and we've been looking forward to Jurassic World a long time! But we've been too busy to see it yet.... soon!

    1. Yeah, I thought it was a really fantastic film. It's a little bloody, naturally, but nothing worse than the original films. It's just fun to have a Jurassic Park film hit the theaters when I'm actually a fan!

  2. I have some mixed feelings about this film. I enjoyed it immensely, but it raises some questions and thoughts that are correlating with my spiritual life at the moment... namely, that humans have botched their calling on this earth big time and this movie shows a prime example of that; and also that we watch (admittedly, faked) violence against humans and animals for entertainment. That is beginning to trouble me a lot. So... I'm not sure what I think of it, overall. It was excellent. It was thought provoking. It was scary. But some parts of it left me feeling a bit... sick.

    1. Well, I can't argue with you that we have botched our calling on earth. What frustrates me is when secular society does a better job of conserving the planet than Christians. How's that for twisted? I know it's hard to remember that the world we're living in is fallen. So long as there is sin, there will never be a perfect utopia.

      Has this line of thought started changing your impression of shows like Hannibal and Grimm?

    2. If Christians were taught that our role is still in effect, that our calling is to bring about the betterment of the world in preparation for its restoration, our earth would not be in the trouble it is in. Christians instead have rejected the "greenie" movement, when really we should have been at the forefront of it. Our purpose is to bring about beautification in some way. Utopia is out of reach but that does not mean we should not strive to make our world a better place -- for everything in it.

      All of them, really. Crime dramas too. It's been building for awhile, along with my increasing concern at the grand desensitizing of our society on the whole. When violence of any kind ceases to disturb us, we have a problem.

    3. I agree. The worst thing Christians can do is focus so entirely on the future expectation of Jesus' return that we anticipate we're just supposed to let the world go to pot. Why bother with food pantries or charitable organizations or disaster relief at all? It's like we get involved only so far, but no farther and that's not right. I like being a good steward of the planet in my own way and it frustrates me when I see Christians who are not like-minded. And there are a lot of them. Too many. There is no shame in being a Christian and a conservationist. It's part of our calling.

      It's not such a bad thing that violence is starting to disturb you, even if it means giving up a few things you used to love. If this is what God is telling you, then do it. He lays convictions on our hearts for a reason and it sounds like that's what He's doing with you. What saddens me is that there really isn't anything in television to take the place of the violence. You stop watching violent shows and there's nothing left? It's so sad that this is what our society has become. But maybe it's time to say that enough is enough and just stop watching, regardless of what everyone else is doing.

    4. Well, if you dig much into N.T. Wright, you discover that most Christians believe this earth will be destroyed and we will spend eternity in heaven, when in actuality, scripture indicates that this earth will be renewed, since our eternal place is here ... taking care of it, in the fulfillment of our original design. When you believe that your destination is heaven, why take care of the earth?

      Tragically, Christians have not embraced the "greenie" movement the way they would if they really believed that their role here is STILL to take care of what God has given us, until and beyond His return. We cannot argue others into this point, merely prioritize it in our own lives.

      It is not that violence bothers me so much as it is the attitude that life is worth very little. I appreciated that in the movie, we got to see how horrified those in the control room were when the dinosaurs killed the teams sent out to contain them. It's a reminder that life is precious, and should not be taken for granted. But at the same time, the control team was careless with their lives of those men in the first place, by sending them out there. We are careless with our soldiers' lives, in sending them into wars over stupid things. If we go to war over anything, it ought to be humanitarian reasons -- stopping genocide, not protecting our oil assets. We abort babies by the millions, we kill wild animals for sport, we exploit our natural resources, we rape the planet using fracking methods ... and then we expect God to bless us. Why would he?

      I am not convinced that God is telling me to give up entertainment, or to give up "Hannibal," or not to watch "Jurassic Park," but it surprised me how negatively I reacted to Katie McGrath's death scene. That felt gratuitous to me, as if they saw her character merely as a method to have an awful, traumatic, cinematic-showy and "entertaining" death. It was cruel, just as the guy getting torn apart in the second movie is cruel. I find violence much more disturbing if it is cruel than merely violent.

      It isn't to say I'll never watch it again, or own it, or that I didn't like it, just that I am coming to realize what cruel creatures humans have ALWAYS been, and that saddens me.

    5. I do confess that I'm not entirely sure what to think of N.T. Wright's teachings and I'm not sure if I agree with him on all his points. I doubt any theologian is right 100% of the time and like all other theologians, he is very certain in his 100% rightness. Still, I'm going to give him a chance, but I am going to study Scripture alongside his teachings.

      One thing I have to remind myself fairly consistently is that God is gracious to His creation. We are no worse or better than we were 2,000 years ago. Has humanity changed in its sinfulness? No. So God loves us just as much now as He did back then, with all of our sins and flaws and failings. It doesn't mean He wants us to stay in these failings, however. He expects us to try to improve the world for His glory in our own way. Which is really why I keep hoping for another Great Awakening or a Great Revival!

      It's why I do the Walk for Life, why I work for Compassion International, why I recycle, and why I occasionally buy silly little things I don't need from organizations that support rescued pets. Because I can't just sit by and not do something. We gave away something precious when we took prayer out of school and legalized abortion. This society is our reward. At some point it will break because it can't bend much further.

      Anyway, whatever you decide to do about your entertainment choices is fine by me. We are each of us affected by different things in what we watch and read. It's why I can't watch SVU ever again. Because watching that type of evil run rampant does my heart absolutely no good and makes me physically sick to my stomach.

    6. I agree with his thoughts on Creation, our role, and the future of this planet, simply because there’s nothing really in scripture to contradict it nor to support our mythologized view of heaven, but I am a little more reluctant to embrace his stance on God the Father, simply because in some sense, it contradicts too much of what we’ve been taught for 800 years. I can see his point but am leery of assuming he is correct, even though I accept that he’s a much more knowledgeable first century scholar than I am. I just fear that some of his ideas smacks too much of “making God more palatable to a modern audience.” But I am wrestling with it, and we’ll see.

      We cannot hope for a Great Awakening; we must be a part of it, somehow. I think it will come, but only when the dust has settled and people rekindle fire and passion for their faith. I can’t help thinking of Peter on “A.D.” He is so delighted whenever the Holy Spirit decides to move – he is just filled with awe, and wonder, and joy. I have never felt that way, but I long to feel that way. If we all felt that way, things might change for the better.

      You already know my reaction to SVU – it makes me hate men. =P

  3. It's been rumored that they might tap Chris Pratt to reboot the Indiana Jones movies. So when you say he's filling Harrison Ford's shoes... he might literally do that before long.

    1. Ahha, so that's what my sister was talking about! I missed part of what she was saying the other day and now I know what she meant. While I don't like the idea of anyone else being Indy, I might be able to live with Chris Pratt as a replacement. I can see it working.

      Although I wish to high heaven Indy had just given the hat to Mutt!

    2. He does seem like he'd be able to pull off the attitude.

      But yes, I was hoping that Mutt would have carried on the family biz. But then, Shia LaBeouf has turned into such a strange person lately that perhaps it's better that didn't happen.

  4. Shia LaBeouf? Strange?

    Wherever did you get an idea like that?! ;)

    *now has Beauty & the Beast going through her head*

    1. Granted, I have often been tempted to wear a paper bag over my head when going out in public, but I've never been tempted to write words on said paper bag to draw more attention to myself -- generally, my aim would be to get less attention, not more.


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