I have, for many years, striven to get the ‘Blockbuster’ experience at the cinema. It is the oft-touted ultimate experience of the movies, seeing a mental, balls-out billion-dollar extravaganza, on the big screen. This supposed peak of movie-going, extended further by IMAX and 3D, where you get the true feeling of what Hollywood can deliver, in the perfect setting.
Suffice to say, my experiences have been shit-awful.
For a start, most cinemas are full of assholes. People who feel the desperate need to eat as though they’re about to have some kind of diabetic fit if they don’t, plus their friends, who cannot SHUT THE FUCK UP. It must be the intense sugar rush of all the crap they’re shovelling into their fat faces, but why can’t they shut the fucking fuck up?
Every single time I go to the cinema, EVERY time, I tell someone to shut up, to the grunting approval of all of the cowardly bastards around me, who would rather sit through someone chit-chatting through the entire film, that they’ve paid £12 a pop to watch, than actually say something to the dicks. Drives me mad.
The films haven’t been much good either, and that’s been a surprise. I didn’t go to the cinema for years. Small kids plus film-ambivalent partner = no cinema. So, when I started going again I was dead keen to make up on things. I’m a shitty snob with films too, so felt like a blockbuster would be a guilty pleasure that I could scoff at but secretly love.
Prometheus, Mad Max, Interstellar, Edge of Tomorrow, Fury – I’ve been let down. Some good bits in them (not Mad Max, obvs) but nothing that made me feel like I’d really watched a movie. That I’d had a serious cinema experience.
That has now changed. I won’t go so far as to say I was blown away but, Jurassic World, has come as close as I could expect.
For a 4th installment in yet another quality-diminished sequelling of a Spielberg masterpiece (think Jaws) Jurassic World clearly risked being a massive turkey. It risked being a parody of itself and its predecessors, of dilution to capture audience numbers, and of being a retread, showing us nothing new. I mean, we saw the Spinosaur in Jurassic III, the largest land carnivore that ever lived. Where now?
What they’ve done is to trulyy go bigger and better. They’ve improved the characters, the plot, the acting, the FX and the action. Plus it’s a 12A (a PG-13 in the US), whereas the first 3 were all PGs. This is a perilous film to take your kids too. They’d shit themselves. These are monsters, and there ain’t any ‘Ooh, a Brontosaurus’ scenes. Well, there is actually, but not like you’ll remember from the first movie.
The dinos are superb in this, really. There’s no question that they’ll look good, because we know the technology exists. For that reason the conceit of showing us the dinosaurs isn’t enough, and they literally acknowledge that right at the beginning of the film, in a mini-tour of the Jurassic World amusement park itself. I liked this. It was a knowing nod to the risks of a retread, and clear signal that that is not going to happen.
This is one of many knowing comments in the film. The characters largely tell the audience ‘Yeah, we know’, all along. You know that shit is going to go down, and it seems that everyone else does too. So, instead of trying to vainly pretend that it’s an unbelievable shock when the fences collapse and the teeth start flashing, you get Chris Pratt’s weary and annoyed, ‘I fucking knew it’ approach. Pratt is good, I have to say. So is Bryce Dallas Howard. They play standards movie tropes, with a boilerplate corporate/going-to-make-them-weapons bad guy from Vincent D’Onofrio, but that’s ok. This is a summer blockbuster, after all. The characters are secondary to the action and excitement, and that’s that there are going to be massive lizards mixing shit up.
I can’t really tell you anything more, because it’ll give away a couple of genuinely clever little twists. You know that things get loose, but you may not be ready for the serious amount of shocks, jumpy bits, ‘Oh no’ bits, and the body count. Only 4 people died in Jurassic Park, and you only saw one get eaten. This is a whole different show.
You won’t walk out feeling changed, enriched or thoughtful. This isn’t Birdman, or The Imitation Game. But it really does deliver what this kind of film is supposed to. It’s fast, exciting, changeable and tense. It looks great and you give a shit about the characters. Well, not the kids, obviously. But the dinos are awesome.