Jurassic Lark: Curse Of The Raptor Whisperer

They just went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea…

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DINOSAUR: Get yer Raptor repellent at the ready!
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DINOSAUR: Get yer Raptors at the ready!

“The last time Spielberg waited this long to revive a franchise, he blew Harrison Ford across the sky in a fridge” – Stuart Heritage.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to a Central American island…

In this long-awaited fourth instalment in the second-biggest franchise of all time, Jurassic World is the upgraded Park. Tourists are coming (in droves!) to see the beasts who have been thrust back into the evolutionary mix, supervised by the White Queen i.e. Claire Dearing, whose spirit is as unbreakable as her stilletos, but couldn’t care less about the two nephews who’ve come to visit her.

The star asset: the awkwardly-monickered Indominus Rex – part T Rex, part… something else – doesn’t want to be fed, she wants to break free and hunt. Obviously, if it wasn’t for her motivation, we wouldn’t have a potentially record-breaking blockbuster on our hands.

Fortunately, the only thing these Nublar nutters got right is to invest in the services of hero-for-hire raptor whisperer Owen Grady. Can he outwit the sibling-gobbling feral femme fatale? When that image of Starlord wrangling the raptors (above) first appeared on the net, fanboy here shivered something rotten. That has to be the most ridiculous idea ever! Has to be. (Either that or Claire outrunning T Rex… in her high heels.) For one moment there, the dreaded thought occurred to me: he was going to challenge his raptor-buddies to a dance-off. Mercifully we were spared that… 

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“Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun” – Dr. Ian Malcolm.

Quite simply, this picture lacks that sorely-missed Spielberg touch. One of the greatest strengths of Jurassic Park lay in its faithful adherence to the most reliable palaeontological data then available. What now? Sadly, the absence of some of the dino-research gained in the previous 22 years here leaves such a noticeable gap. Pity, ‘cos it prevents any engagement with this flaccid an’ flawed package on any sensory or emotional level.

What about that “single most transformative development in palaeontology”: the intriguing, yet still-contentious, notion that dinosaurs – especially Velociraptor and Gallimimus – were covered in feathers? Don’t tell me the CGI-guys can’t animate intricate dino-fuzz!  

Where there is insufficient biology, there is certainly no chemistry. Owen and Claire were crying out for some but it was woefully lacking. With a movie like this, expect nothing more than two-dimensional characterization, but here it was just as blandly predictable as the uncontrollable asset itself. Sure, this is fiction – of the most ludicrously contrived kind, regrettably – but where is the science? 

When the two Lost Boys – that blubbing moppet and his chick-crazy bro – stumble onto the overgrown set of the first film, John Williams’ legendary theme tune comes flooding back after all these years, offering a rare and necessary charming touch. However, this reliance on nostalgia merely emphasises the sheer paucity of originality on display here. You could count at least half a dozen of your fave movies amidst this mish-mash – a job as botched as the asset itself. 

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“I was in the Navy, not the Navajos!” – Owen Grady. 

After a record 511 million dollar haul in its opening weekend, the lure of those Mesozoic monsters remains as strong as ever. Basically, have a blast on Nublar… but leave your common sense in Costa Rica. My niggles with this blockbuster are as immense as that mosasaur. Apparently that GLARINGLY OBVIOUS “containment breach” was NEVER speculated?! Hey, life finds a way, an’ all that… 

Speaking of obvious: the squad of gung-ho go-getters armed with heavy-duty cattle-prods venturing into the jungle are no different than those huge hunks of meat lowered in at feeding time… couldn’t anyone realise that in the (laughably-named) control center? Yep, all the chaos Dr. Malcolm can eat…    

It really is good – not to mention reassuring – to see Chris Pratt carry a more demanding role, but for me, the real star of the show is Blue, who – apart from his keeper – is the only distinctive and engaging personality on the island… and is a Raptor. So, whaddya know? A blockbuster that’s NOT awesome – that makes a change…

Upon emerging back into the glaring early evening sun after this rather underwhelming viewing, a quick glance at the cafe opposite and the clientele sitting out on the the street were being dive-bombed by a flock of seagulls.

Is that a case of life imitating art, or vice versa…?

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WH-WHAT?! No rough-ridin’ Raptors? AOW, COME ON!! We want our money back!

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18 thoughts on “Jurassic Lark: Curse Of The Raptor Whisperer

  1. Great review sir, wasn’t going to watch this myself anyway to be honest. I only really liked the original because it had Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum in it, love those two actors. So I can safely skip it, so that’s good. Like the new layout of the website … very cool!

    • Thank you for your Comment, Bruce.
      Didn’t have any expectations going into this movie – sat thro it merely for th purposes of this blog.
      Got more dino-related stuff Coming Soon, including my Harryhausen tribute!
      Thank u for the praise re th New Look Bradsite – had to be done; not completely satisfied w what I had before.
      Cheers!

  2. Great review, I agree with pretty much everything you said. I still enjoyed watching the movie though, especially the last big fight. But after I left the theater I realized what an empty experience it really was. Blue was the most interesting character other than Pratt!

    • Thank you for your Comment, Sherise!
      Yeah, th last fight was okay… provided u don’t mind it looking too much like the last fight of the first movie!
      I’m working on a feature about how to flesh out good characters in SF, then thrust it @ th makers of these modern blockbusters as hard as Brad can!
      Hope u Like th New Look!
      Cheers!

  3. Definitely agree with the fact that the humans could have been far better, it was sorely missing Grant and Malcolm. Still I enjoyed it for what it was, was expecting far worse, and don’t tell me the finale didn’t have you welling up!

    • Thanks for th Comment, James.
      Grant & Malcolm appeared in th last 2 sequels respectively, and look how they turned out!
      In this case, a good script wld have been appreciated.
      And about th finale? Okay, I won’t tell u – ha!
      Cheers!

      • I still think the Lost World was a worthy follow up (minus the San Diego fluff). Goldblum and Neil are always good, but I guess nothing could save JP3. The script of the first was insanely good though, such a quotable film. Hard to beat Koep and Crichton I guess, nothing beats having an entire book to work from.

      • Yes, Crichton was hard to beat.
        We need more insanely good scripts, but believe me: it is darned difficult to get th producers to actually read them!
        Thanks again, James

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