Movie to Watch: Jurassic World (DUH)

Note: this post contains spoilers!

We did it! We went on an Adults-Only date and saw Jurassic World this weekend!

(Apparently everyone did because it broke the box office record for the biggest opening weekend of all time - domestically and internationally.)

ER.MAH.GERD. We loved it.

Swoon. (over the raptor, not Chris Pratt. C'mon.)
Sure, it's not a perfect movie. But it definitely plays up to the die hard loyal followers of the original 1993 Jurassic Park. As someone who has seen the original more times than I've showered in the last three months of my maternity leave, I can tell you that this movie is loaded with Easter eggs, references, and throwbacks in the form of shots, lines, visuals, and characters. Some could even argue it panders too much to its original fans, that these tributes get in the way of the new story they are trying to tell. But I loved it wholeheartedly, so I don't care.

And beyond Jurassic Park, Jurassic World pays homage to the general Spielbergian school of cinema. After all, the plot is basically Jaws (monster runs rampant and the leadership doesn't want to evacuate the tourists) with an Indiana Jones-esque hero (Chris Pratt) and an E.T.-inspired kids plot (dealing with divorce). And I say that, by the way, as a compliment.

The film's biggest drawback is in the stereotypically frosty and career-driven female lead, Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Howard does her best to bring this character to life, but the writing behind this two-dimensional character is bland and trite. She's a high-powered corporate executive who doesn't have time to date, much less start a family....but of course, by the end of the movie, she has fallen in love with Owen (Chris Pratt) and learned that people (especially her two nephews) are more important than a big fancy job. And, of course, she starts the movie in a fussy all-white outfit that covers her from head to toe, and by the end she is down to a tank top and skirt, ripped up to mid-thigh (though she manages to keep her nude high heels on the entire time, almost to the point of distraction).

Interestingly, Howard doesn't see Claire that way at all; here's a great interview with her on The Daily Beast that explains why she thinks Claire is a badass (and all of the input she had on the character and marketing's portrayal of her). She makes a good argument, but it doesn't affect the way I felt while watching the movie.

You could argue that this character makes the movie anti-feminist, but there are a couple of smaller choices I really appreciated. For one, Claire's sister, Karen, calls from work to check in on her sons at the park. She's pacing outside of a boardroom and trying to keep her tears from her co-workers. I love that she is a working mother with a corporate job; she's just trying to balance it all like the rest of us.

Another is the casting of comedian Lauren Lapkus as one of the "tech guys" (she's the new Dennis Nedry...without the evil mastermind agenda). These roles usually fall to men by default - first because tech is a male dominated field and second because filmmakers just tend to cast men in secondary roles that are relatively asexual. So I appreciated a woman being cast here!

And lastly, something I've always loved about the Jurassic Park movies...all the dinosaurs in the park are female. All the super smart hunts and epic battle scenes and general badassery comes from female dinosaurs!

Overall it was a well-made terrific thriller...with dinosaurs. It made me cry at least twice (that last shot is a doozy). I loved it.

Loved it.

Here's some more Jurassic-inspired stuff I love:

This dude dug up the Jurassic Park dossier he made when he was a kid in 1993 and it's HILARIOUS.

The best cover of the Jurassic Park theme song.

The real lyrics of the Jurassic Park theme song.

Jeff Goldblum's laugh.

Someone replaced all the dinosaurs with cats.