Sunday, June 21, 2015
Jurassic World: An ungainly beast
In the 90s when Steven Spielberg brought the Jurassic period out from the two paragraphs in biology books to a living reality, he would not have realised that his theme park will strike a chord across the world. So much so that 14 years after the third film in the series hit the screens we now have a new Jurassic Park Inn in Sonepat. It is advertised on the back of the auto I travelled in to watch the latest offering from Universal studios. But the point is what was essentially conceived to instil fear became a friendly option. One of the harshest periods in the history of earth is being celebrated as an innocuous water theme park. That’s the power of cinema in changing public perception.
Dinosaurs might have lost out to Spielberg’s “Transformers” and Marvel products in his homeland but here the clumsy beast continues to thrive. Perhaps the makers feel that Indian box office can play a big part in bringing the comatose franchise to life and that’s why they have roped in Irrfan Khan as Masrani, the new owner of the Park. In fact it is a tribute to the growing Indian economic power where an Indian can inherit Jurassic Park. Masrani knows that the interest in dinosaurs is waning. They have been reduced to dolphin acts in water parks. He wants more teeth in his next showpiece not realising what the genetic cocktail entails.
Trevorrow has taken the baton from Spielberg but runs the same all over again at a more controlled diet. The format is the same. Instead of T-Rex we have Indominus Rex, named thus because it could be easily spelt by kids. Perhaps they mean Indian kids. As expected it goes berserk and since we are not told about its genetic combination, it could do anything. However, the limited budget ensures that we get to see it only a couple of times in full size before the climax. And it seems not too different from T-Rex. Perhaps it has a bigger mouth cavity.
True to Spielberg’s school, the film has an emotional anchor, where two kids Zach (Nick) and Grey (Ty Simpkins) come to spend time with their young aunt Clara (Bryce), who administers the park. Clara is a career-oriented girl who has little time for relationships. She ignores the kids and they come in the way of Indominus. Yes, the beast brings the humans together as Clara joins hands with her ex-boyfriend Owen (Chris) — a dinosaur trainer — the only man on the park who sees them as living beings.
Human greed continues to be the narrative’s underpinning. And those who are new to the party will like it. The film suggests that monstrosity is relative. For a sparrow, a cat is a monster. Here a former army man Hoskins (Onforio) wants to turn them mercenaries in the war against terror. However, along the way you figure out that the film suffers from similar corporate excess that it suggests to guard against. It tries to bring the suspecting audience to its side by making fun of its inherent intentions. Clara asks an employee to take off the T-shirt which advertises the previous version of the Park indicating that behind that cool façade there is a danger for playing with the nature. However, as the film progresses Hoskins turns out to be a cheesy trope from a B-movie. So is Clara, whose outfits keep getting shorter as she moves from cold and calculated to a warm-blooded living thing. By the climax she develops a huge slit in her skirt! Zach and Grey seldom seem in the danger of being gobbled up. The stunts remind of the previous versions. There is very little surprise left in the moves of Rex. It takes off the car you use to hide behind to show your worth against nature.
Try it as a tribute to the original and you don’t mind it, else put on the DVD and try to outpace Tyrannosaurus. It may have less teeth but its bite endures.