A sequel that comes decades after the original film generally isn’t received well by audiences. Then again, this year seems to be all about bucking that trend with last month’s Mad Max Fury Road and its glowing reviews. This past weekend, Jurassic World opened in theaters and absolutely destroyed the box office, stealing the crown of biggest opening box office gross from The Avengers. Sarah and Tiffany got together and chatted about Jurassic World in this latest hangout. Read on below!
[WARNING – This hangout includes SPOILERS for Jurassic World.]
Sarah: It’s as if the world has gone and seen Jurassic World this weekend. Did you enjoy it?
Tiffany: A real box office explosion! I did really like it. It was a nice throwback. What about yourself?
Sarah: I found myself really enjoying it. More than I thought I would. I don’t think it was ever possible for Jurassic World to be of the same caliber as Jurassic Park, that’s a film with a lot of nostalgia linked to it.
Tiffany: I agree. With films like this there is a lot of pressure. People want to be transported back to a different time which isn’t really possible.
Sarah: Exactly. And I’d argue that a lot of the awe that went along with Jurassic Park was tied to its groundbreaking effects. Jurassic World‘s effects look really good, but they’re pretty much what we’ve come to expect from movies. But Jurassic World has been well received overall. Sure, there are a few bad reviews, but generally most enjoyed it for what it was – a fun, brainless popcorn flick.
TIffany: Yes, you have to think about what it would have been like to see this film at age 12 or 13. It would blow your mind!
Sarah: Oh definitely! Though, I do miss the strong connection with paleontology that Jurassic Park had. That’s sorely lacking from Jurassic World.
Tiffany: Agreed. It was a tad less scientific. That was one of the plot points that triggered a lot of questions for me. The lab, for instance, had some odd scenes.
Sarah: As if some of its plot was cut for time, right? I kind of felt like that.
Tiffany: Yes, there seemed to be a few things missing. Some of the character relationships could have used more fleshing out as well.
Sarah: It seemed to me the whole subplot of Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Dr. Henry Wu (B.D Wong) was there simply to lead us to a sequel. Like, the research being conducted is now off site so this can happen all again in a few years time.
Tiffany: You are absolutely right. In fact, I’m surprised they put as much into the movie as they did. It actually seems like pretty good sequel material since they clearly can’t do a park again. Also, I think the children in this movie were less well rounded than the children of Jurassic Park. Though perhaps that’s nostalgia talking.
Sarah: No, I think you’re right about the kids. They were never developed much beyond generic brothers who would sometimes fight, the older one picks on the younger, but they still love each other, etc. And then there was the subplot of their parent’s divorce that only comes up in once scene and is then quickly forgotten. The characters were by far the weakest point in Jurassic World. They were like cut outs, entertaining cut outs that served the plots well, but that’s all.
Tiffany: Yes. The raptor troop lead by Blue are by far the most interesting characters in my opinion.
Sarah: [laughs] Yup! That’s something I wouldn’t have called, that Owen (Chris Pratt) and his gang of raptors were a high point in the film.
Tiffany: Totally! When watching the previews I thought it looked lame, but during the movie I was sold on it.
Sarah: Though, I’ve got to say the ending felt a bit forced. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the final dinosaur brawl, but once the Mosasauras killed the Indominous Rex, the T-Rex and Blue just go off on their separate ways? I mean, what?
Tiffany: The ending felt very, “Uh, now what do we do?” But the dino battle was great.
Sarah: Yeah, not to keep going back to Jurassic Park – though Jurassic World sure did reference it a lot – but its ending worked better. Them in the helicopter worked well to bring the audience down from the rush of the final action scene. Here, this scene in the hanger sort of had that feel, but not much.
Tiffany: And may I just say that the relationship between Owen and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) was some of the least passionate in cinematic history.
Sarah: Agreed! I didn’t mind a little flirtation, the fact that they tried dating once, or even the kiss – all that felt earned within the movie. Them literally walking into the sunset together as a couple did not.
Tiffany: It’s hard not to keep going back to Jurassic Park because this seems like the most sequential of its sequels. I also felt like there was no real danger in Jurassic World for our main characters. You felt that in Jurassic Park the kids were really in danger. That T-Rex scene with the Jeep? Oh my god! I know they tried to recreate that vibe with the gyrosphere thing and the Indominus Rex, but I never felt as if they were in any danger.
Sarah: I never really felt like anyone was in that much danger, come to think of it. And that makes the scene where the assistant, Zara (Katie McGrath) is carried off and killed very strange.
Tiffany: The internet blew up with that scene and I think rightly so. Very unnecessarily cruel. It was almost like they were trying to make up for no main characters dying.
Sarah: Yeah! I just read Devin Faraci’s write up about it on Birth. Movies. Death. and he really nails it, calling the scene a horror death stuck inside this PG-13 action adventure. And when you recall Hoskins’ death, his comeuppance was really tame by comparison.
Tiffany: Absolutely. We are meant to feel a little vindicated by the death of Hoskins, but what is the point of Zara’s death? None really.
Sarah: Except to show off that sweet Mosasaurus again. That’s the money shot in this movie.
Tiffany: Yes. Move over Indominus Rex we all know who the real star is. [laughs] Jurassic World does make a lot of statements about the way animals in captivity are treated. I thought that was surprising given that it was mostly a mindless action flick.
Sarah: That was something I appreciated in the movie, the conversation about these dinosaurs being living creatures, not just assets.
Tiffany: And the scene of Owen and Claire with the Apatosaurus, very touching!
Sarah: So with that in mind, though she’s by no means an amazingly layered character, I do like that Claire has an arc in the film. She goes from being a single-minded business lady to reconnecting with her humanity by learning to care for both her family and these dinosaurs.
Tiffany: Claire does get to change. And I like the fact that, even though she kept her shoes on, it is kind of reflected in the changes of her outfit! People were really ragging on that but I don’t think it says too much to be honest.
Sarah: Yeah, before the film was even out there was such an uproar over those high heels! And honestly, I very rarely wear heels, but if I was stuck in the jungle and those were my only shoes and I was able to keep my balance in them, I’d probably keep them on, too. It’s better than being barefoot!
Tiffany: I hear you! You do not want to step on a prehistoric thorn without shoes.
Sarah: I do want to mention how much the Jurassic World theme park felt realized. They obviously took a lot of time planning how this park would come to life. I mean, I’m sure that’s something all of us who loved Jurassic Park have thought about before.
Tiffany: It made me think a Jurassic theme park could actually exist if they could somehow clone dinosaurs. I know it was a cautionary tale but the way it was laid out, even after the attack, I was like “Hmm, seems safe.” I mean major props on the Aviary.
Sarah: Yes! The Aviary looked very cool. That was something I wish we had seen more of. And that petting zoo! That was the moment I knew I really wanted to visit this park.
Tiffany: It was very believable in its own weird way. I mean, Jurassic Park has permeated our culture so much it seems like it is real!
Sarah: It had me thinking about why we don’t have these breakouts happen in zoos more often. But really, these disasters are kind of like freak accidents. In Jurassic Park it’s a disgruntled employee and here it’s the rampaging Indominous Rex. Otherwise, the parks seem like they would operate without a hitch.
Tiffany: And even here it was a bit of the ole’ mad science that got us into trouble. Can we also talk about the control room antics? I found them very charming. Shout out for that Jurassic Park vintage tee!
Sarah: Those were some characters I found myself actually caring for. They had personality, purpose, and were funny.
Tiffany: They managed a lot in the little screen time they were given. I loved that they had Lowery (Jake Johnson) go in for a kiss and Vivian (Lauren Lapkus) said no. Fantastic!
Sarah: I guess I didn’t say much about Pratt’s character, but I felt Owen was only appealing because of Pratt’s natural charisma, y’know? Anyone less likable in that role and it wouldn’t have worked at all.
Tiffany: Absolutely. I loved him because I love Pratt, he is just very charming.
Sarah: I loved that at one point they visit the old visitor’s center. They see the banner, the raptor wall mural, the night vision goggles, and eventually the jeep – the film was really full of throwbacks to Jurassic Park.
Tiffany: The throwbacks were amazing. When they played the Jurassic Park theme I got emotional.
Sarah: If I don’t try and pick it apart too much, I really, really like Jurassic World. Though I don’t feel a sequel to this is really necessary. Jurassic Park and Jurassic World work well as a pair: here’s the first time they tried the park and it failed, then they actually got it up and running and it still failed. I don’t see where the franchise could go next. Dinosaurs for the army just seems too weird.
Tiffany: The sequel is already confirmed isn’t it? I agree it probably isn’t needed.
Sarah: It is, sadly. Pratt is confirmed as returning, too.
Tiffany: Well, I guess that is just how things go. After all, I heard Jurassic World is in contention to beat out Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Sarah: It already has believe it or not! In fact, I believe it beat The Avengers this weekend.
Tiffany: Wow! That is crazy to me! The movie the world was waiting for, I guess.
Sarah: It is! I mean, I saw it this weekend in IMAX 3D because I figured the bigger screen would serve the dinosaur spectactle best and I think I was right. Those IMAX and 3D tickets had to have added to its box office.
Tiffany: For sure, I saw regular old 2D but the theater was packed to the gills.
Sarah: This is not a movie that will have the same impact at home or even on a second viewing, I’m guessing. Which is shame because Jurassic Park holds up, it’s timeless.
Tiffany: It may have had such a big box office because people felt they needed to see it on the big screen and they are probably right. Still, I could see generations of kids growing up to love this movie like we love Jurassic Park.
Sarah: You’re right, much like the Star Wars prequels, kids will surely have a different perspective of this film. But I’d say we both enjoyed Jurassic World, it’s worth watching. Though, whether due to our own nostalgia or the film’s own failings, it’s not going to become a classic. Agree?
Tiffany: I agree. It’s definitely worth seeing and if you can get an experience like IMAX or a drive-in that would just be the cherry on top.
Sarah: Oooh! A drive-in! That’d be a fantastic way to see this movie. If you’re lucky enough to still have one nearby.
Jurassic World is now playing in theaters. Did you see it opening weekend like the rest of the world? What did you think? Does it measure up to Jurassic Park or is it just an okay sequel? Let us hear from you in the comments below!