Follow us on

Featured 3D Blu-ray / DVD Review: Jurassic World

October 29th, 2015

Jurassic World - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray, or 3D Combo Pack
Video on Demand

Jurassic World

(As we mentioned previously, we've run out of images for Jurassic World, so we're reduced to using less than official images. I know I promised Corgis dress as dinosaurs, but I couldn't find any really good pictures. I did find a picture of Guinea Pigs dressed as dinosaurs, which might be even cuter. So thanks to Reddit user guineapigsarethebest for letting us use your picture.)

Jurassic World became the biggest hit of the year and one of the biggest hits in the history of the box office. On the other hand, its reviews were not that good with the term "dumb" used repeatedly, even in the positive reviews. Is it dumb fun? Is it just plain dumb?

The Movie

The plot synopsis is going to be shorter than usual for two reasons. Firstly, there's not a lot of plot. It's setup until the Indominus rex gets loose and then it is a typical animals gone wrong movie. Secondly, a lot of the setup bored me.

A lot of the film focuses on two kids, Gary and Zach, whose parents are divorcing and they've sent them to Jurassic World to be with their aunt, Claire, while they finalize the divorce. We spend a lot of time with these kids. I didn't care about them at all. I cared more about Claire's assistant, Zara, than I did about the kids. It also felt too much like they were trying to capture some of the magic of Jurassic Park by using these two in place of Lex and Tim. It doesn't work.

The second major plot thread involves ripping off the plot of the Alien franchise. Hoskins from InGen is there to look at military applications for the dinosaurs. ... Why? This is stupid. There's a reason why we don't use animals to attack since technology surpassed the horse. Just look at drug-sniffing dogs. Do you know how easy it is to break their training in the field? In World War II, the Russians tried to train dogs to carry bombs to tanks. However, they trained them with their own tanks and since the German tanks sounded different, the dogs would only bomb Russian tanks. How the hell are you going to train a Velociraptor to identify the enemy?

The third major plot thread is the Indominus rex itself. But before I get to that...

Oh boy, is this movie dumb. There's a theory that there are no zombie movies in Zombie movies. Except in very rare instances, none of the characters in zombie movies have seen a zombie movie, otherwise they would know what to do immediately and zombies become a whole lot less scary when even the average schmo can take them out with relative ease. I bring this up, because Jurassic World takes place in a world where no one has seen the original Jurassic Park. I know it is a direct sequel and the events of Jurassic Park take place in this universe. They mention the first park and some of the characters even go there. However, as I was watching this movie, I kept seeing parts that shouldn't have happened, had the people running the park learned the lessons from the past. Because of that, this movie felt more like a remake than a direct sequel.

So InGen, specifically Dr. Wu, has cooked up a new dinosaur to boost park attendance. However, the owner, Masrani, wants Claire to have someone check it out before they show it to the public. That person is Owen Grady, who currently works with the Velociraptors. The two also went on a date. A date, as in one date. You can guess how the movie ends. Anyhoo, Claire takes Owen to the Indominus rex pen to observe it. Right away there are problems. They can't see it. They have infrared sensors to find the animal, but it isn't showing up. The doors haven't been opened in weeks. There's signs that it climbed the walls and got away. It has a tracker implanted in it, so Claire drives to central command to track it from there... and then calls central command while on route. Why didn't she just call central command from the Indominus rex pen? Wouldn't it be safer, just in case the dinosaur was outside of its pen and nearby, staying indoors would be the smart thing to do. But had she done the smart thing, the movie would have been a lot shorter. I have a problem when a plot only moves forward because of stupidity.

So central command tries to find the Indominus rex and they realize it is still in its pen. Unfortunately, Owen and a couple of expendable red shirts are also in the pen. They try to tell them to get out, but there's heavy interference on the radio and the people in the pen can't understand what they are saying till it is too late. They use that trope three times in the movie. In one part, the little rolling vehicles interfere with cell phone signals. How does that make any sense? If anything, these little rolling vehicles should have cell phone chargers built in to act as antennas to boost the signals. They only fit two people in them, so a family of four would need two of them, so it should be easy to communicate from one rolling ball to another. They even have a video screen in them, so why not use Skype? Have one more product placement in the movie. Back to the plot, when they realize the Indominus rex is still in the pen, they try to get out and in the process let the Indominus rex out. Now it is rampaging and they have to send the Asset Containment Unit to capture it. You can probably guess how well that goes. I'll give you a hint. They are trying to stop a 40-foot long dinosaur and some of the troops are using what are essentially cattle prods.

That's enough of the plot. I am going to say right upfront that I'm clearly in the minority here, but I didn't find this a fun dumb ride. I found this film to be frustratingly dumb for all of the reasons I pointed out above. Also, the movie was unnecessarily mean to Claire. The older of the two nephews was snarky when she couldn't remember how long it had been since they had seen each other. I hate to break it to the kid, but once you are out of high school / college, the years tend to blend together. Owen gets mad at her for not knowing their ages. I have a nephew and I don't know how old he is. I called him up, he doesn't know how old I am. Finally, her sister, Karen, gets all weepy when she finds out Claire isn't spending time with the kids. She has a massive resort to run. It shouldn't be a shock that she's busy.

Also, how do you miss something the size of Indominus rex? It's the size of a house and it was running in a straight line.

That's not to say there were no parts of this movie I didn't like. The actors are good, even if their characters too often do stupid things. I liked Vivian and Lowry, the two main people we see in the control room. And yes, the action and special effects are incredibly well done. I just wish the plot lived up to the technical expertise.

The Extras

The extras are mixed, sort of. There's no audio commentary track, which is too bad, but there is more than an hour of other extras. This includes deleted scenes, interviews with Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow, a couple of making of featurettes, etc. This is enough to feel substantial, but not a lot for a movie that made this much at the box office. Perhaps a special edition is on the way.

As for the technical presentation, it is reference level quality. The level of detail is stunning, the colors are vivid, the blacks are deep. There's no problems with digital artifacts or compression issues. It's amazing. The audio is just as wonderful with great separation and lots of dynamic effects. It takes full advantage of the 7.1 surround sound setup.

As for the 3D version of the movie, I feel confident in saying this is the best looking 3D movie I've reviewed. There is excellent depth and a few scenes where the action breaks through the screen. However, this really only comes into effect once the action kicks into high gear. While we are in the character development / setup stage of the movie, there's not a lot of 3D effects. On the positive side, the clarity and the colors never suffer during the 3D action. That sometimes happens.

The 3D Blu-ray costs $25 compared to $20 for the Blu-ray and $14 for the DVD. If you have a 3D setup, you might as well spend the extra $5.

The Verdict

Jurassic World is the biggest box office hit of the summer and one of four films that crossed $1 billion worldwide this year. I've seen all but Minions and in my opinion, this is the worst of the four. The characters do too many stupid things and the film comes across as almost a remake more than a sequel. That said, I am in the minority here and fans of the movie will want to pick up the 3D Combo Pack.

Filed under: Video Review, Jurassic World, Alien, Vincent D'Onofrio, Judy Greer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, Joseph Mazzello, Chris Pratt, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, B.D. Wong, Ariana Richards, Irrfan Khan, Katie McGrath, Colin Trevorrow, Lauren Lapkus