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For My Return to the Park: “Jurassic World”

The first time I saw Jurassic Park I was in the sixth grade and I went out with a new bunch of girlfriends for one of their birthdays. It was the first time I was going to the movies without a parent. It was so exciting it almost didn’t matter what we saw. It’s funny because I can picture us so clearly seeing each of our faces before, during, and after discussing it. I have very fuzzy memories from the rest of that year with these people but this is one that stuck.

The second time I saw this movie I was on a family vacation. I remember not thinking it was so great, probably because I thought I was cool and had already gone alone, but I do know that my younger brother who was about six years old had nightmares for days. I’d love to know who the targeted demographic was because its like a kid/parent hybrid. Some of it is cheesy but most of it still works as I have re-watched it many times recently in preparation for the next saga in this series, Jurassic World. It seems that the rest of the world on cable is doing the same as it was on at least four channels at the same time for over a week now. Notice how the second and third movies were not shown and you will notice not mentioned in most of the reviews.

My journey back to the park came about only because I was asked to see one of the few limited showings the day before the official opening on Friday June 12th. The commercials did intrigue me a bit and I liked that they were promoting this movie as a sequel to the first, leaving out what I consider to be the two mistakes in the middle. I have seen those movies more than once too and for the life of me never really remember what happens. That is very similar to the experience I had with JAWS. Sequels as a rule are never as great as the original. But I have no real experience with movies in a post trilogy phase.

While I was not nearly as excited as some of the more serious Jurassic Park fans I was still interested. Interested in enough that I was willing to put my migraine brain through a showing at an IMAX theater with the 3D version playing. All that and a late night out is like playing Russian roulette with my health. I knew pain would come after but how much and its consequences were anyone’s guess.

Despite this likelihood I took on the challenge. I had a feeling I would need to see it before the rest of the world ruined it for me on the Internet. I was curious but I also didn’t have any sort of high expectations. This is a general rule for me I often feel let down even when there is a great idea as the foundation. All I knew ahead of time was that it was only two hours long. That thrilled me because as my mother would say, “it was a half hour too long”.

I had never seen an IMAX movie before or been to this theater. But as a prepared patient I took my TheraSpecs migraine glasses with me in anticipation of how my head would react. At first I thought I was going to die. The sound was more of a problem than I expected and that was before any dinosaurs started roaring. In order of triggers there it went: sound, vision, and lastly smells.

After a few minutes my head started to steady itself. I took a pain pill and an inflammatory to try and lessen my reaction. For the first half of the movie I left just my migraine glasses on and they were great keeping the picture darker than normal giving my eyes a break. Then I was able to switch off to wearing only the 3D glasses. For most of the movie I didn’t wear either, as the 3D projection wasn’t a part of every single scene.

Along with the glasses there was something else that aided my viewing. It was the movie itself. To my surprise the time was flying by. From the moment it began I was ALL in. The action was fast and started as soon. You had to pay close attention to keep up. I thought it was remarkable good. In fact seeing the commercials now makes me want to see it again, but I will wait for Netflix.

During the commercial and later the movie, the dinosaur (I’m not even going to pretend I remember their names) that comes out of the water reminded me of the show at SeaWorld. Since Blackfish is always on my mind lately there were a lot of parallels between these two films. Apparently I was not the only one who noticed, there were many articles comparing the two. I suppose from now on every time an animal is created and forced into captivity connecting lines will be drawn.

Besides the storyline I loved the amount of detail in every part of this story. All of the subtle references to the background plot were genius. My favorites were that in the town where Jurassic World takes place there was a Starbucks and even an IMAX movie theater. I wonder what movie plays there.  

My only regret is that we didn’t get more time to spent in the park. Meaning I would have loved to have been a virtual visitor exploring every attraction before any mayhem began. But I thought it was beautifully done. Chris Pratt was excellent. I also have to give it up to the new director, Colin Trevorrow. I think he pulled off an amazing job and unlike the rest of the world I think he could have done it without Steven Spielberg. Last but certainly not least is Bryce Dallas Howard. My GOD was she good. Her role has gotten some flack for the same things we see in every movie that would never happen in real life. Um we are watching a movie about dinosaurs created from frog DNA but Howard’s character running through the woods in heals is unrealistic. People please.

I thought she was the glue that kept this movie together. She registers with the audience as she progresses through the movie. We are learning right along with her. Honestly her performance is a big part of the reason I want to see it again. The only thing that surpassed her was the T-Rex. Sometimes size really does matter.

When I read the many reviews about this movie the next day I was stunned. Aside from the Vulture review (link below) I didn’t agree with anyone. I was especially saddened my beloved New York Times and Time Out New York magazine had some very harsh words. It was like they were watching a different movie. Obviously I whole-heartedly disagree.

Aside from the movies my interest in real life dinosaurs is becoming stronger the more I read. After seeing a CNN film called “13” I instantly had to know more. The next book I plan on reading “Rex Appeal” from which the documentary was based. It centers around a dinosaur named Sue (after the scientist who found her) who is the last most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found. It turns out there was a saga behind the discovery and ownership. For those like me interested in Sue, you can visit her the next time you are in Chicago. She is a resident of Chicago’s Field Museum. I have been to Chicago three times ( and still haven’t gotten there. At some point this year I plan to go and meet Sue, finally. The book is just setting the scene. I love a good true story.

In my own city ( the American Museum of Natural History is the best place to see these great creatures from the past. There are over two floors of fossils and skeletons of many varieties of the species. It has provided me with a nice foundation for my forth coming Chicago trip.

Now that this tale has concluded (although you never know) I am happy with the ending. We were able to revisit the story and return has provided some closure for all characters. I like to think it has also made the actors, and especially the director, new opportunities for the future.

No matter how many reviews you read and how many opinions are out there, I believe Jurassic World has something to offer everyone. Even if its just because of your fond memories of Jurassic Park.

Just as John Hammond said in the original: “no expense was spared”. The same goes for Jurassic World and even the audience in the IMAX.

After all it’s Jurassic World and we just live in it.

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