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The Good, The Bad & The Weird Of ‘Jurassic World’

The Good, The Bad & The Weird Of 'Jurassic World'

Dinosaurs rule the earth once more. It was always assumed that “Jurassic World” would make a ton of money, but few anticipated just how well it would do: surfing mostly positive reviews and strong word of mouth, the film turned out to be a Brachiosaur-sized hit, racking up the biggest opening weekend of all time earning over HALF-A-BILLION DOLLARS in its first three days of release worldwide. 

Clearly, it’s an unreserved success, one that’s relaunched the franchise in a big way and will surely see writer/director Colin Trevorrow cemented among the A-list after only his second movie and able to make pretty much anything he wants. But reaction in Playlist Towers has been a little more divided than what A-grade Cinemascore may indicate. Several senior staffers felt the film was very successful in its aims (including the one who wrote our official review), but others felt a little more ambivalent. 

So as we’ve done with many big blockbusters (most recently with “Avengers: Age Of Ultron), we’re digging a little deeper and introducing a broader range of reactions, to pick up the good, the bad and the weird elements of the movie. Spoilers are obviously ahead, so if you’re one of the twelve people who apparently didn’t see the movie this weekend, you might want to hold on until you have. Take a look below, and let us know your own thoughts on the movie in the comments section. 

The Good

Chris Pratt as Owen
Even those of us who have mostly positive reactions to the film can’t suggest there is a great deal of depth to much of the characterization, so the fact that Pratt takes a largely humorless, oddly old-fashioned character and makes him likeable is a testament to the actor’s innate charisma. If Star Lord was supposedly his Han Solo, Owen from “Jurassic World” is being sold in some quarters as his Indiana Jones. But that definitely overstates how interesting Owen is as a character, despite the fact that in being a velociraptor whisperer, it’s pretty much the most interesting job of all time. Elsewhere, he’s just a motorbike repairin’, board short-wearing, kid rescuin’ paragon of masculinity, so if Pratt fills out the contours of that thinly sketched personality, it’s maybe the best proof yet that this guy is a star —someone who can elevate underdeveloped material, as opposed to simply delivering the goods on better-crafted characters.

Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani
One of the most pleasant surprises in terms of characterization (which elsewhere relies on archetypes so embedded they’re practically stereotypes) is the unusual choice to make the park’s billionaire visionary an Indian mogul with a screwily spiritual but sympathetic take on the morality of genetically engineering dinosaurs. Irrfan Khan is terrific in the role, granting the “8th richest man in the world” a kind of Richard Branson-like derring-do attitude, especially in piloting helicopters, while neither underselling the man’s fundamental intelligence nor his arrogance. He may state that he wants the park to be there to “remind humanity how small we are,” but he has no qualms believing he’s the guy to make that call. In all, he’s a fascinatingly contradictory, slightly ambivalent character in a film in which most everyone else is either one thing or the other.

Making a Fraternal Relationship Central
In the first half of the film at least, care is taken to establish that the human relationship most in need of repair is neither a parent/child one nor a romance, but that between the two boys, Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) —one is a typically disparaging teen with his eyes on girls and his ears permanently encased in headphones, the other a dino-loving dork sensitive to their parents’ fraying relationship. Via a prototypical Amblin film “X learns how to be a better father/mother/husband/son/friend” arc, it’s still unusual to have “learning how to be a better brother” as the thrust. And when the focus is there, it’s touching: Zach suddenly allows himself to be as impressed as Gray at the Mosasaur; the boys clambering out the water after their near-death experience and laughing; the pat but still effective “we’ll always be brothers” bit. It’s just a shame the film sells out on this toward the end after they are reunited with the grown-ups and both becoming undifferentiated People To Be Saved. “Jurassic Park” managed to sustain a belief in the childrens’ resourcefulness for much longer. 

The Techies
After the treacherous actions of Wayne Knight’s Nedry in the original film, it’s gratifying to see the humble technical support team getting moments to shine here, and Jake Johnson from “New Girl” and Lauren Lapkus from “Orange Is The New Black” provide some of the movie’s most enjoyable performances. The pair (and Johnson in particular, reuniting here with his director on “Safety Not Guaranteed”) are the film’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern figures, with their own dynamic playing out on the margins. They feel like interesting people in a way that not many other characters in the movie do (with Johnson and his original Jurassic Park t-shirt serving as something of a surrogate for the nostalgic fans of the first film), and his immediately-shut-down attempt at declaring his love for her when making a heroic sacrifice is the best joke in the film, and one of the few moments that you feel the same creative team as “Safety Not Guaranteed” is in play. 

The World Building
Credit to Trevorrow and his team —if someone were to actually build a theme park with real dinosaurs in the 2010s, you suspect it would look a lot like the one we see in “Jurassic World.” There’s a dense level of detail (thanks in part to terrific production design by Ed Verreaux), and everything here, from a baby triceratops petting zoo to ‘wacky’ Jimmy Fallon introduction videos feels like it could come from the minds that develop Universal Studios or Disneyland, for better or for worse. There’s an interesting level of subversion at work here: this is the Jurassic Park dream up-and-running, and there’s a thrill in seeing it fully operational, but it’s also a corporate, Verizon-sponsored, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville-featuring bastardization of John Hammond’s “vision,” and one that seems that, at least without the VIP passes the two boys get, would involve a lot of queueing. 

It’s About Something
You could probably sum up the theme of the second and third movies in the franchise with one word: dinosaurs. When compared to the relative depth of Spielberg’s original, both films were empty thrill rides without much to say, so it’s refreshing that “Jurassic World” is a rare blockbuster with a bit of substance behind it. It expands on the concerns of the original —the foolishness of trying to play God— but also digs into more issues. We’ve got the un-tameability of nature, corporate short-sightedness, mankind’s desire to take any scientific advance and use it as a weapon, and even an intriguingly self-loathing streak about blockbuster excess. It’s not “A Most Violent Year” or anything, but it’s nice to see a big franchise movie like this have a little something on its mind, and makes it feel closer to the original than the second or third movies. 

Michael Giacchino’s Score
Since breaking out with his work with J.J. Abrams, Michael Giacchino has become one of the most in-demand composers in contemporary cinema, but his heavy workload (six movies in 2015 alone) sometimes shows: for ever great score he pulls off, like last year’s “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,” there’s another that feels overly pastiche-y or anonymous. But he’s on top form here, producing a score that’s respectful to John Williams’ classic work on the original, but carves out its own territory as well. Suspenseful, unexpected and memorable, the music is one of the best elements of the film. 

The Spielbergian Rhythm & Tone
That the film’s reminiscent of Spielberg picture doesn’t just come down to the Amblin logo and an executive producer credit. More than most of the Bearded One’s many imitators, Trevorrow understands that the Spielbergian blockbuster isn’t necessarily about excess, and in contrast to most other summer movies in recent memory, he doesn’t come out with guns blazing, instead spending much of the first half of the film introducing the world and the characters and bringing an increasingly ominous feeling to proceedings. The director also nails the tone, which is decidedly of a piece not just with the original film, but with the classic Amblin pictures of old: tinged with B-movie flair, with real stakes but without taking itself too seriously. It means that even when you’re rolling your eyes somewhat, it’s still pretty watchable. 

The Action Sequences Are Strong
Colin Trevorrow’s been something of a case study for the way that many Sundance-approved indie filmmakers have stepped up to the big leagues with blockbuster sophomore films, and on the evidence here, we’re going to see much more as such. Given that Trevorrow’s debut “Safety Not Guaranteed” didn’t have much in the way of action, it seemed fair to be cautious, but the sequences here —while not likely to surpass the T-Rex attack or the raptors in the kitchen from the original— are clear, often suspenseful (we were particularly fond of the raptors chasing the ambulance-type thing), and even in the finale, which has its own problems, didn’t descend into groupings of pixels hitting each other, mostly retaining a human element. 

The Bad

The Big Reveal: The Indominus Rex Is Part Raptor!
There is nothing wrong with this idea as a plot point —we are already in a suspended-belief milieu, so there’s no reason, in this world where DNA is essentially gumbo, that one more thing cannot be added to the pot. But when we already know the Indominus Rex has tree frog and cuttlefish DNA in it, as well its the non-classified T-Rex “base,” is it really supposed to be a shock that it also has raptor in it? Especially since we know Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), a military dude who believes that raptors can and should be weaponized, is on site along with a head R&D boffin Dr Wu (BD Wong) who appears to have been adding specs to the new I-Rex that only really make sense in a military context, and all this before it’s even overtly stated that Dr Wu is in Hoskins’ pocket? As a result the *gasp* “it’s part raptor!” revelation felt less than revelatory, yet it still feels confused as, it’s never made quite clear if Wu was designing I-Rex directly under the auspices of his new military overlords (in which case shouldn’t Hoskins have known of the possibility that the the raptor hunt for the I-Rex would not work as planned?) or if he was really so inept that the I-Rex’s ability to assume the alpha raptor role was an unexpected outcome of splicing raptor DNA into it. Finally, if Wu had designed I-Rex prior to coming on board with Hoskins (and certain traits like its ability to dodge heat sensors do seem to come as a complete surprise to him), why would he even have put Velociraptor into the I-Rex at all? If the point was solely to be more physically imposing and spectacular than the T-Rex, what good is a smaller, problem-solving pack hunter’s DNA?

Narrative Dead Ends, Red Herrings, Unused Plot Maguffins
So, so many little clues and nods are set up early on in the film, and then none of them narratively pay off at all, as the climax amounts to a lot of people running and hiding and then a four-way dino-off. Early on, it’s established that I-Rex can lay traps (scratches on the wall), can understand that thermal imaging is being used to track it, can control its own body heat to appear invisible to thermal cameras, has visual camouflaging abilities, can remember (removes tracking device), yet practically none of these abilities is ever referred to after its one and only appearance. It’s like designing the most incredible, top-of-the-line, specced-up BMW and then only ever using it for the cup holder. And it’s not only the I-Rex’s superpowers that go largely unused —early on, Owen mentions strongly that due to its isolation, the “only relationship it has is with that crane,” and so it seems natural to think that the crane will somehow play a role later on, but it does not. Similarly, we’re told that the I-Rex itself tracks its prey using heat signatures, yet Owen evades it by pouring gasoline on himself to presumably mask his scent (probably Old Spice, man-sweat and/or Drakkar Noir), indicating that it works on smell. The original “Jurassic Park” (not a masterpiece story-wise either) had the T-Rex clearly attracted to movement (as opposed to smell, which is apparently more likely in the real world of actual science and dinosaurs), leading to suspenseful scenes of people standing stock still in front of towering creatures. Here, the I-Rex’s heat-tracking is never really used as a plot point, bar maybe the jumping-into-the-lake scene, where it’s far more explicitly the fact that it can’t jump that allows the boys to escape, and not that it can’t see them.

Anti-Climax Climactic Fight
Rather than a clever climax that shows the humans somehow outwitting the Big Bad due to their resourcefulness, superior knowledge of dino behavior or design (see Narrative Dead Ends, above), teamwork or bravery or whatever, “Jurassic World” ends with a big, ho-hum fight between four breeds of dinosaur, two of which look remarkably like each other, so you have to keep on checking which one has the small arms to know who’s winning. Why the raptors suddenly turn on Alpha I-Rex and favor Alpha Owen again is unclear, and why the T-Rex would naturally choose to fight the I-Rex (with whom it shares a great deal of DNA) when it was chasing a tasty little human first is unclear, and why the raptors will suddenly not only no longer be on the I-Rex’s side but be apparently willing to lay down their lives to save the humans is also unclear. Instead, we get an emptyheaded finale in which bigger is always better, and the biggest critter of them all, the Mosasaur, displays never-before-seen or suggested abilities/instincts to become the literal dino-ex-machina (we know it’s not technically a dinosaur, pedants).

Hoskins and the Military Subplot Undercooked and Unnecessary
Feeling like a vestigial remnant of an earlier draft of the script that was more about the idea of weaponizing dinosaurs (breeding/designing supersoldiers out of raptors), this half-baked subplot serves no overall purpose that could not have been achieved much more simply and more elegantly. Ultimately, all that the Hoskins character does that has any impact on the film is release the “tame” raptors to hunt down the I-Rex, which quickly comes to naught anyway, and it’s easily something that could have been done much more compellingly without human involvement. How about that being the way we find out the I-Rex is part raptor —when it heads straight for the raptor enclosure and uses its wits to release its brethren itself? That might also account for Blue and the others identifying it as the new Alpha, giving stakes to their divided loyalties, and making Blue’s inevitable ultimate rescue of Owen mean a lot more. Instead, we get this lame “evil military is evil” theme, which is at best redundant and at worst actively kills off momentum and engagement with the A-storyline, and is purely shoehorned in to set up a sequel. And it gives us the films worst performance in…

Vincent D’Onofrio
He’s just awful in this. Having enjoyed his turn as the Kingpin in “Daredevil” and usually finding Private Pyle to be pretty good value in everything, it’s disappointing to the point of comical how the film screeches to a halt every time he lumbers into frame and drawls out another one of his sneery right-wing speeches. Take that interminable first scene between the character and Owen that has absolutely no reason to be as long, boring and talky as it is when all it needs to establish is that he’s a bad guy who wants to make soldieraptors.

It’s Surprisingly Nasty At Times
“It’s all just a bit of PG, family-friendly, blockbustery fun” —that’s no doubt the counter argument to many of the points we’ve raised here— “quit overthinking it, you guys!” But aside from that being our very least favorite response to critiques of summer tentpoles (as though the more money an entertainment costs and the more people it’s supposedly meant to appeal to, the less we should examine it and the lower the standards we should hold it to), it doesn’t account for a near-sadistic streak of nastiness to the violence in “Jurassic World.” The first “Jurassic Park” had its gruesome moments, but most were implied rather than shown and often contained an underpinning moral (the worst characters got the worstest deaths). The sequels already got a bit grimier in this regard, but is there any reason here that ineffectual British Assistant Lady has to have quite such a sportive, drawn-out death? Tossed about/torn at like a fieldmouse falling victim to a hawk only to be swallowed by a Mosasaur swallowing the Pterosaur that’s swallowing her — it’s a genuinely sour moment that is there to layer more spectacle onto a scene that already involved thousands of people fleeing hundred of flying death machines. It seems a bit excessive for a woman who we didn’t care about at all, but whose chief crime was talking on a cellphone when she should have been watching someone else’s nephews, especially considering Baddie Hoskins, who deserved a much more drawn-out death for boring us so comprehensively prior, got off so lightly by comparison.

“70’s-era sexism”
Joss Whedon‘s infamous quote about the “Jurassic World” trailer is not writ quite so large in the film overall, but it’s not a million miles off. The gender politics of “Jurassic World” aren’t quite that archaic —they’re just boringly, depressingly conservative in a way that even the first films (and remember ‘Park’ was 22 years ago) managed to avoid. Here, Bryce Dallas Howard‘s Claire gets some moments to shine and be brave and innovative (all in the second half, mind you, after a first half where literally every single decision she makes is wrong, self-centered, corporate, humorless etc) and Pratt‘s Owen has a streak of humility (more down to the actor than the character, but we’ll take it where we can get it) that stops him from being insufferably “manly.” And yet, the film deals in obvious binary oppositions: She wears heels and a blouse/skirt combo throughout (more on clothing below in “Weird”); he fixes motorbikes on his time off. She was on a diet on their date; he wore board shorts and wanted to drink tequila. He Understands and Respects nature; she has to caress a dying dino before anything cracks her steely exterior. Essentially, she’s the uptight, prim, clenched career woman who couldn’t crack a joke if her life depended on it; he’s the man’s-man hero who children and velociraptors alike think is cool. If you think it sounds innocuous enough, it is, but just imagine how much more interesting it could have been if Pratt had been the corporate shill insisting on running about in his patent Italian leather shoes, and Howard had been the kick-ass dino-whisperer called upon to save his nephews when Nature, inevitably, Found a Way. 

The Contrivances
Look, any blockbuster is going to have some degree of plot hole or contrivance to it, and sometimes you have to just roll with it (it’s sometimes even preferable than explaining away every detail). Obviously, there’s some in “Jurassic World,” and not all of them are deal-breakers —for instance, some have complained that it’s implausible that someone would open a new park after three previous dino-related disasters, and sure, it’s illogical, but it’s sort of forgivable. But then there are others that break with the interior logic of the movie and actively damage the suspension of disbelief. How come the only two kids that go missing are the ones directly related to the park’s boss? And why, in an ultra-high tech world, do the communication systems go down not just once but multiple times? Get better radios, guys, and fewer people might get eaten. 

Talking About The Theme
As we said, we liked that the film was actually about something. And you know it’s about something, because the characters spend the first half of the movie repeatedly talking about the themes of the movie. We appreciated the commitment to substance, but after the third duologue in a row about the nature of the animals or corporate shiftiness, we started to feel like we were being talked at, not to. Whoever ends up making the next “Jurassic World” will hopefully be a little subtler when it comes to the subtext… 

Indominus Rex
The biggest, baddest antagonist in the “Jurassic Park” franchise is the Indominus Rex, the part T-Rex, part raptor, part treefrog, part cuttlefish, part Hannibal Lecter (the last part is not stated), the biggest land creature seen in the series, and one that thinks like a supervillain and kills for sport. So why does he feel like such a damp squib most of the time? It’s partly the design, which can’t top the fearsome perfection of the T-Rex. In part, it’s because the film botches the creature’s reveal. We’re constantly told that it’s the biggest of the dinosaurs, but Trevorrow and co. don’t give a sense of the creature’s scale until the very end when it squares off against the old foe. They also fail to give the one, great iconic shot that introduces it, or even sees it in anything other than stalk-and-eat mode. Unfortunately, the genetically-engineered villain is closer to “Jurassic Park III”’s Spinosaurus than the iconic bad dino of the first film. 

The Romance Is Botched
We like the idea of what the film’s going for with its central human pairing: a sort of classic screwball dynamic of two opposites who initially dislike each other before gradually falling in love as they’re chased by dinosaurs. Except that the film has the start (not liking each other, seemingly out of a date where their very different personalities clash), and the end (them making out mid-dino attack, deciding to stick together “for survival”), but not the middle, the bit where the work’s actually done to build them as a viable couple. They swap some banter, they bond over a dying animal, but Pratt and Howard unfortunately don’t appear to share much chemistry, and their eventual coupledom seems to come from nowhere other than ‘you knew this was going to happen, because it’s a man and a woman in an extreme situation.’ Given the finely wrought romance in “Safety Not Guaranteed,” it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed (and that’s even without getting into Howard’s arc of the career woman who suddenly finds a desire to have babies. Yes, it’s something of a nod to Sam Neill in the original movie, but the optics are much more familiar when you give that journey to a female lead…). 

The Weird

It’s Self Aware But Has No Fun With That
It doesn’t take a PhD in Film Theory to notice that “Jurassic World” seems to be as much about the hubristic folly of attempting to feed a jaded, spectacle-hungry public something newer, bigger, scarier and cooler every few years, as it is about dinosaurs and what not —that is, it’s a blockbusting film sequel about the difficulties of making a sequel to a major blockbuster. And that self-awareness is refreshing and initially seems quite pointed in its real-world commentary. But has self-referentialism ever come with so little wit, invention or fun? It doesn’t have to be annoyingly winky or in-jokey to take this premise and actually go somewhere with it, but instead “Jurassic World” is content to constantly point out that it knows it’s doing exactly what the characters in the film are guilty of and talk about throughout, without ever actually having any kind of a further point to make as such. So the Isla Nublar patrons want to see bigger, genetically modified dinosaurs, and “Jurassic World” gives us bigger, CG-enhanced spectacle and…? The problem is that there’s implicit criticism of the public’s appetites within the film, and unmediated or un-commented upon, it parallels a sort of contempt, or at least a low regard, for the very people who have just forked out over half a billion dollars on this film’s opening weekend. It criticizes the very impulse that is driving its own massive success, which would be daring and admirable if the execution were not so inert. As it is, it’s anticlimactic and little depressing: here’s a story in which a corporation throws money at bigger, emptier spectacle in the knowledge that a predictable public will turn out in their droves each time, and… oh look! We’ve just given Universal (and Amblin and Legendary) $511m for “Jurassic World.”

There’s Not Much Sense Of Awe
As we’ve said already, the film laudably steers into the sense of blockbuster fatigue, immediately putting the audience itself in the spotlight for no longer being wowed by a single dinosaur and for wanting bigger, badder and more of them (plus also helicopters and rocket launchers and so forth). And that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t change the fact that, well, there’s little sense of wonder in the film, and less still as it goes on. Yes, the audience and our insatiable desire for more is in part to blame, but Trevorrow doesn’t even try to match the moments of introduction to the dinosaurs in the original movie, and by the end, they’re just another CG effect. It’s obviously a tricky one to pull off, given that we’re now 22 years since “Jurassic Park” (and that arguably had the same issue), but we’re confident that another approach could have made the dinosaurs truly awesome —not just, well, awesome. 

Running In Heels
One of the best arguments for hiring more women directors to helm tentpole movies is to have fewer thunderingly wrong-headed attempt at female characters. One of the more visible and already well-remarked on instances with Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire, beyond the generally sexist vibe noted above, is the way that she spends the entire movie running around in heels. Yes, Howard says it was her own decision, and yes, Pratt did a late-night talk show stunt to level the playing field, but there can’t have been many women in the audience who didn’t roll their eyes when she tries to lure a T-Rex without kicking off her shoes, or indeed at her outfit in general. 

Distracting Callbacks
Given our culture’s general love of nostalgia, and given the self-referentiality of today’s blockbusters, it was inevitable that we’d get a few in-jokes and Easter Eggs pointing towards the original movie. And some of them are kind of fun here: a brief reappearance by Mr. D.N.A. (here voiced by Trevorrow himself), a second ad pointing towards ‘Jurassic Tennis.’ But as the film goes on, it increasingly feels like it’s ticking boxes and callbacks to the original, with Trevorrow’s compositions often directly mirroring those from the original film (the Gallimimus herd, for instance). And they become increasingly tired every time there’s a callback. There’s virtually no reason for the boys to discover the original visitor’s centre from the first movie (or any reason for it not to have been torn down during the redevelopment of the island, for that matter), and by the time that Claire mirrors Jeff Goldblum and runs with a lit flare (instigating a dino-on-dino showdown that nods to the first film’s climax), you start to wish that the new movie stood apart a little more. 

Criminal Negligence
If there’s any sense of actual consequence as the franchise moves forward, it’s possible that the next film in the series will be closer to “Orange Is The New Black” than it is to “The Lost World,” given that our main thought about Claire walking out is the criminal negligence trial she’d surely be facing. After being partly responsible for the Indominus Rex escaping (no one thinking that it might, you know, still be in there), she then fails to evacuate the island when she has a chance, leading to the deaths of dozens if not hundreds of the 20,000 people under her care. And when the shit really hits the fan, she leaves in order to track down her own family. Yeah, that’s a decision that many people would make (and one that mirrors The Rock’s helicopter rescue pilot in “San Andreas,” who abandons his job as soon as crisis hits and fails to save a single person not in his family), but there surely had to be a way of keeping the stakes personal without making Claire quite so derelict in her duty. It’s like if the main character of “Jaws” was the mayor who refuses to close the beaches. 

Dr. Wu Will Return…
There’s bound to be some kind of sequel seed-planting in modern day movies, to the extent that we’re probably now inured to it in a way that we might not have been when, say, “Iron Man 2” opened. But the presence in the film of B.D. Wong, reprising his role from the original as Dr. Henry Wu, feels particularly egregious. It makes some sense for him to be there, given he was the original scientific mastermind behind the dinosaurs, and making him a villain is at least an interesting spin. But by the time he departs the movie at the end of the second act, it becomes clear what his real purpose is: he’s there solely to ensure the continuation of the franchise, to transport a bunch of genetically engineered embryos off the island and into a release date that’s likely to be announced in the next few days. Sequels Find A Way… 

Omar Sy (Or Lack Of Him)
On the plus side, Omar Sy, the insanely charismatic breakout from “The Intouchables,” gets more to do here than in his last tentpole showcase “X-Men: Days Of Future Past.” Yet the French actor’s character here (amusingly given the decidedly un-Gallic name of Barry) is still completely wasted: a sidekick to the white guy who has no good scenes, no hero moment of his own, and who essentially disappears from the movie once he’s been saved by Pratt. He doesn’t get Samuel L. Jackson-ed, at least, but it’s still pointless to cast an actor as compelling as Sy if you’re not going to give him anything to do. Let’s hope he fares better in the upcoming “Adam Jones” or “Inferno” when it comes to English-language roles. 

The Divorce Sub-Plot
As a child of divorce, Spielberg often included characters who were divorcing or children of divorce in his blockbusters (“E.T.” perhaps being the most noticeable example). It crops up here, with the two lead children being sent away to stay with Aunt Claire while parents Judy Greer and Andy Buckley meet with lawyers. But it feels like ticking something off the Spielberg checklist rather than something that adds anything to the movie. It’s unclear whether the parents are reconciled by their imperilled children by film’s end, but it would be pretty stupid if that was the case. It’s shunted to the sidelines, and fails to be much of a factor once the chaos breaks out. And furthermore, it completely wastes Judy Greer —why do you hire one of the better comic actresses of her generation if you’re going to have her cry in 75% of her screen time? “Ant-Man” had better give her more to do.

Agree, disagree? What was your visit to “Jurassic World” like? Let us know below.

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