I was wary of “Jurassic World.” In some ways I was dreading it. When “Jurassic World” pulled up alongside me in its windowless van and told me that Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt were inside, I hopped aboard knowing that the whole thing could end in disappointment, tears or with my lifeless body face down in the urinal of an interstate rest stop.
Luckily none of that happened. Instead “Jurassic World” was the kind of movie that caused at least one of my thumbs to stand straight up in an almost turgid, totally approving manner. Everything you could ever want in a summer movie is here. There’s kaiju-esque monster battles, white people getting murdered by theme park attractions, tight close-ups of weird, dimwitted children giggling on top of Shetland triceratops and B.D. Wong! So much B.D. Wong! Finally, after being trapped within the bowels of Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order”-verse for the past decade or so, Wong was allowed to sip tea, talk about cuttlefish and conspire with a fellow “Law & Order” alumnus. In many ways I think I preferred that to the sight of various dinosaurs creeping and stomping about.
In “Jurassic World” a sadly underused Judy Greer sends her two sons (whose entire personalities can be basically summed up as ‘likes fun facts’ and ‘horny in a morosely brood-y way’) to spend some time with her sister (Howard whose bangs, in the film, I have very mixed feelings about) a middle manager-type at Jurassic World. Howard — who we’re led to believe is a terrible person because (a.) she chose a career over having children and (b.) doesn’t know the age of her own nephews (This can’t possibly be a thing. I’m assuming most aunts don’t know the ages of their nieces or nephews. Not giving a shit about your sister’s kids is probably one of the most enjoyable things about being an aunt) – is indirectly responsible for unleashing a super intelligent dinosaur dubbed Indominus Rex on the dino-themed amusement park.
Luckily, a big strong hunk of a raptor-training man (Pratt) is on hand to swoop in on his motorcycle and snarkily clean up her lady mess and give her a big wet smooch. Right on her lips! Also, Vincent D’Onofrio oils up the proceedings as a man who wants to weaponize Pratt’s trained raptors against terrorist groups like ISIS even though it’s kind of ridiculous and doesn’t make a lot of sense (He realizes ISIS has guns, right? And who is rounding up these raptors after their kill-crazed feeding frenzy?)
Like practically everything that’s made today, “Jurassic World” is self-aware on an almost neurotic level. Seemingly inspired by Joss Wedon’s “Cabin in the Woods” (Lauren Lapkus and Jake Johnson are apparently this film’s answer to Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford), the film never stops commenting on itself.
From Howard noting that “Nobody’s impressed with dinosaurs anymore”, to sarcastic product placement to the nearly obsessive callbacks to the original “Jurassic Park,” “Jurassic World” wants you to know that it’s in on the joke. But no amount of winking can hide the fact that “Jurassic World” is a very stupid movie.
Fortunately, it’s the right kind of stupid. The kind of dumb that fun summer movies are made of. If you can look past the more grating meta elements (of which there are many) or its mild sexism, “Jurassic World” is filled with a series of entertaining set-pieces such as a disastrous raptor hunt that is obviously paying homage to the ‘bug-hunts’ in “Aliens”, a scene in which pterodactyls attack the diners at a Margaritaville and a final knockdown drag-out battle between the T-Rex from the first film, a raptor and the genetically modified I-Rex (who has chameleonic abilities and can communicate with raptors). Temporarily diverting and entertaining in the most disposable way possible, “Jurassic World” still comes highly recommended simply because it was nice to see Wong interacting with somebody who wasn’t Stephanie March or Richard Belzer.
We love you B.D. Wong. God bless you B.D. Wong.