“Jurassic World” Bigger, Louder and More Teeth
By Skip Sheffield
“Bigger, louder, more teeth.” Those are the bywords of “Jurassic World.”
This is a re-boot of a franchise begun by Steven Spielberg 22 years ago in “Jurassic Park” as a revolutionary first-time blending of computer-generated images with animatronics (life-size robots created by special effects genius Stan Winston). The result was realistic-looking prehistoric dinosaurs that blew away Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra to create a new level of realism for monster movies.
“Jurassic Park” was a huge success, spawning a sequel 14 years ago and a re-release of the original in 3-D. It’s now 2015 and the disaster that befell Isla Nublar, a fictional island off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is but a distant memory. Jurassic World is a full-tilt theme park not unlike Disney World or Universal Studios, with rides and attractions designed to extract cash from visitors.
The story, written by Rick Jaffa (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and its sequel) and director Colin Trevorrow (“Safety Not Guaranteed”) is seen through the eyes of two children: girl-crazy Zach, 16 (Nick Robinson) and brainy Gray, 11, (Ty Simpkins). The boys are bid a tearful airport farewell by their mom Karen (Judy Greer), who is facing an imminent divorce.
The boys are supposed to be looked after by Karen’s sister Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), operations director of the park. Claire is so uptight and career-focused she hires a British nanny to look after the kids, because she's too busy. In her rah-rah speeches to shareholders, Claire admits there have been a few “speed bumps” for Jurassic World. Now there is a new CEO, Masani (Infan Khan), who wants more, more. Research scientist Dr. Hendry Wu (BD Wong) is willing to give him just that; a genetically-blended monster dinosaur dubbed Indominus Rex.
Owen (Chris Pratt) is a fearless ex-Navy guy who has a way with animals. He has such a rapport with the island’s Velocirprators, he is able to communicate with them.
Add to this mix high-powered corporate honcho Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who sees additional profit potential in the genetically-engineered raptors. He thinks they would make a dandy substitute for human soldiers.
Jurassic Park harkens back to famous monster movies all the way back to “King Kong” in 1933, with nods to “Godzilla,” “Rodan” and others. You just know the antagonism between prim, proper Claire and rough-and-ready Owen will melt away under duress, much the same as Claire’s business dress is shredded away in crisis, like a modern-day Fay Wray menaced by King Kong.
As expected, the C-G effects are spectacular. The combat between raptors of various sizes is gruesomely realistic. The film makes fun of its corporate sponsorships with obvious product placement. Yes, “Jurassic World” is bigger, louder and with more teeth, but in the end it is nothing new. Still, it is a well-done thrill ride.
Sexy “Gemma Bovery”
If you want violence there is “Jurassic World.” If you want sex, there is “Gemma Bovery,” director Anne Fontaine’s luscious nod to Flaubert’s notorious 1856 novel, “Madame Bovary.”
British actress Gemma Arterton plays the title character; a young woman married to Charles Bovery (Jason Flemying) a rather fussy and dull furniture restorer who has decided to move to Normandy and an old farmhouse in the very location Gustave Flaubert set “Madame Bovary.”
Gemma is admired from afar by Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini), a well-off former Parisian who has taken over an old bakery. We see Gemma through Martin’s eyes and feel his fantasies- inspired by Flaubert’s novel. They remain just that, because Gemma’s eye catches Hervede (Niels Schneider), a wealthy young student who lives with his mother on a nearby estate. A romp ensues, uder the nose of poor Charles.
“Gemma Bovery” toes the line between comedy and drama. What Gemma is doing is wrong and we know she will pay a price, but like Martin we can’t help but stare at her adoringly. Gemma Arterton is that exquisitely beautiful.