By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on June 13, 2015)
Jurassic World: What could possibly go wrong?
Velociraptors make for great jumbo-sized bloodhounds. Who knew? That’s but one of the startling revelations in Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow’s remake of Cool Hand Luke. What was that he said? Cool Hand Luke? Is the OP off his fucking meds, or what?!
No, seriously. Hear me out.
Let’s get the synopsis out of the way first. It’s been 22 years since that little “accident” on Isla Nublar. If you’re unacquainted with 1993’s Jurassic Park, here’s the recap: test-tube dinosaurs, humans fleeing, screaming…then munching, crunching, blood, viscera, the end (if you also missed Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, see: recap for Jurassic Park).
And if you think that concerned parties have yet to grasp the central lesson (i.e., that placing giant, lizard-brained predators and snack-sized bipeds into close proximity only ends in tears)-you would be…correct. Yes, “they” have now created a massive theme park (based on Sea World), and are charging people an admission for the privilege of putting themselves into close proximity with giant, lizard-brained predators.
An adorable moppet with a cabbage patch head (Ty Simpkins) and his sullen teenage sibling (Nick Robinson) travel to Jurassic World sans Mom and Dad, who are entrusting them into the care of their aunt (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is head of operations. She in turn entrusts the boys to her P.A. (thus ensuring that they will soon be in life-threatening peril, like all the young ‘uns in all the previous franchise entries). So much for the “plot”.
But that’s not important right now…let’s get back to my Cool Hand Luke theory.
We can all agree that the idea of positioning T. Rex as the park’s alpha heavy is like, so last millennium, right? No worries, because those ingenious InGen scientists (not unlike the director and his co-screenwriters Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Derek Connolly) are smart enough to know that if you wanna repackage the same old shit in a different wrapper and fill those seats with asses, you’ve gotta make it bigger…and badder. So they’ve taken the DNA from a T. Rex, a velociraptor, a cuttlefish and added…I don’t know, some Black & Decker chainsaw parts…tossed them into a Bass-O-Matic and set it to “frappe”. Out pops Godzilla on steroids, a mega-predator they dub the Indominus Rex.
But I prefer to call him “Luke”.
Because you see, that ol’ Luke, they got him in a special pen…but they ain’t no prison can hold him, ‘cause he’s a wild, beautiful thing. He’s a crazy handful of nuthin’. And once he claws his way out and starts eatin’ them eggs, look out (I’ll tell ya, my boy can eat fifty of them brachiosaurus eggs, and still have ‘nuff room left for chokin’ down a platoon of park security officers, weapons ‘n’ all).
Luke escapes, and who do they send to track him down? Dog Boy, of course (played here by Chris Pratt) and his faithful bloodhounds (played here by a pack of velociraptors). Hell, one of them velociraptor bloodhound dawgies is even named “Blue”! I mean, who can forget Dog Boy’s mournful lamentation: “Look, Cap’n, look what he done to Blue. He’s dead…he run himself plum to death.” Poor ol’ Blue. He was a good ‘raptor…way he used to wag that lil’ tensile tail.
That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. Getting half-serious for a moment, I’m giving the film an extra ½ star for the impressive creature effects; but frankly that’s about all it has going for it. For the life of me, all I can remember (and I just saw it this past Tuesday) is donning the 3-D glasses, watching dinosaurs eat people, and my friend marveling throughout at what has to be a new Guinness record for product placement. Memorable quotes? Can’t remember. Specific standout performances? Can’t remember. Plot points? Can’t recall more than one or two. And I wasn’t even high. Wish I had been.