In Which We Dominate Various Rexes At Our Leisure

Radiant

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Jurassic World
dir. Colin Trevorrow
124 minutes

Bryce Dallas Howard resembles a lit candle, hollow and glowing from within. Bryce is the only person on Isla Nublar who hasn’t gotten the least bit tan or even burnt. Presumably she applies vast quantities of sunscreen, but we would never know that. We never even see her, or anyone, eat so much as a sandwich in Jurassic World. Once, for only a second, Chris Pratt takes a sip of Coca-Cola.

Bryce’s sexuality has begun radiating off her like contagion, suddenly, as she nears middle-age. Pratt wears the tightest clothing possible in corcordance. “I’m the alpha,” he tells her about the group of velociraptors he controls with movements of his hands and butt.

Is it any wonder Bryce wants to spend all her time with him? His khakis look like spandex. She ignores her two childish and spoiled nephews during their visit to the park, detecting on some level that they are too ensconced in white privilege to properly appreciate the genetic research and biological study in which her organization is engaged.

None of these people seem to be in very much danger from the dinosaurs. Chris Pratt has befriended most of the creatures, and at one point Bryce engages the help of a tyrannosaurus rex to sedate a crankier dinosaur with longer arms. It is good to see white people at peace with their environment.

There is one African-American handler, but he has like three lines and the rest of the time he just shakes his head mournfully and hides in a pipe.

A few of the dinosaurs get out of their containers, but most everyone in Jurassic World survives the day-long events of the film. Chaos is a minor inconvenience — isn’t it after all just a close cousin of excitement?

In one scene, while searching for her nephews, Bryce finds a wounded diplodocus dying in a field, and she makes some time to cry for it, even though her sister’s children may be dead. She really loves the damn beasts.

After the disastrously boring shitshow that was Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt has much more fun romancing the stone that is Bryce Dallas Howard’s slightly upset countess. He has only a couple of limitations as a performer, but he respects those weaknesses so completely he nearly worships them.

In a completely white outfit, Howard is the central figure. It would probably have been more fun to really get her dirty and disgusting as dinosaurs tracked her through a paddock, but instead she barely rips her shirt. Nothing much is lost by that, since dinosaurs are not really prominently featured in Jurassic World, the way the thing you best remember about the Magic Kingdom is when your sister vomited at a character breakfast.

As a result, it is hard to exactly know whether Jurassic World is more vapid than its deadly serious predecessors, or just as silly as the idea should have been to begin with. Michael Crichton was never much for satire, but more than twenty years later, parody is unavoidable. Jurassic World even uses the exact same music as the original — they probably just should have remade it.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

“Drift” – Debruit (mp3)


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