I saw Jurassic World nearly two weeks ago with my husband and a friend. While I enjoyed it while I was watching it (barring some discomfort I'm going to get into in a moment), my main impression by the end was that I'd enjoyed it far more when I saw it twenty-two years ago and it was titledJurassic Park. This felt almost like a (bad) remake, rather than a sequel. Hell, Ron said that it was the Superman Returns of Jurassic Park and after two weeks of thinking, I tend to agree.
Also, this post is going to delve into the deep misogyny that I felt was a huge part of Jurassic World. I've discussed this with two different men (my father and my hairdresser) and they both had similar reactions - "Sometimes a movie is just a movie and you can't think about it too much." While I agree with that with regards to some plot elements - A T-Rex velociraptor that ends up being killed by the T-Rex from the first movie with help from an underwater dinosaur that likes to jump? Sure, I can turn my brain off and go with that flow.
Hugely misogynistic plot points, well, I have a problem with that, mostly because a) the first movie made a decent attempt at addressing sexism and mostly succeeded and b) the first movie was made TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO and somehow managed to be LESS misogynistic than this one, and c) THIS IS *STILL* THE NUMBER ONE MOVIE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, meaning that it's not *just* a movie, it's a message.
And what is that message? A woman can be in a position of power, but only if she's a total control freak who prints out itineraries for dates. A woman can run in heels, even though it's grossly impractical to do so. A woman is only worth something if she wants to have children (you only have to see the "well-meaning" conversation between Claire and her sister to know this, though it's something with which the movie hits us over the head again and again). Not only that, but she is only both worth something and truly fulfilled in her life when she's protecting other people's children if she has none of her own.
Consider this: Vincent D'Onofrio's character was objectively the worst person in the movie and he had a quick, mostly offscreen death. Then consider Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire)'s assistant, who was NOT, I'm presuming, hired to be a babysitter, but rather the assistant to a high-powered executive. This woman essentially got drafted into watching two children, one of whom was SIXTEEN and therefore capable of essentially kidnapping his brother away from said assistant while she was distracted doing her ACTUAL job.
The assistant might not have been watching them terribly closely, but again, a) she was not a nanny by profession and it was majorly shitty for Claire to stick her with the children when, given that Claire hadn't seen her nephews in seven years, I'm absolutely CERTAIN "nanny" was not in her job description when she was hired and b) one of them was SIXTEEN!
Even so, she was legitimately panicked when the kids went missing, as evidenced by how she reacted when Claire called her. Now, one could argue that she was more scared for her job than the kids and that might have even been the case with Claire for a boss, but she still didn't deserve what happened to her, which was by far the WORST DEATH (for the audience) IN THE MOVIE!
Her death was incredibly graphic as we got to see her picked up by a flying dinosaur and then fought over, we saw her fall several times and essentially get hot potato'd between several flying dinosaurs. All the while she's screaming in terror, knowing that any second her death was coming.
Then, she gets eaten ALIVE by the swimming dinosaur. (Side note: if you haven't noticed by now, I'm not bothering to look up the names of all of the dinosaurs because they aren't relevant to my feelings.) She essentially got thrown into a Sarlacc Pit to be digested ALIVE and what was her crime? Not watching the kids closely enough.
Whereas Vincent D'Onofrio, who had been undermining park security, who had been actively happy that people were dying, who wanted to train velociraptors to be WEAPONS, and who was generally evil, no, he gets to die offscreen with just a splash of blood. Now, from what we learned in the first movie, one could say, "Well, he could still have been alive when the raptor started to eat him," and that would be true, but the audience didn't have to SEE IT!
Basically, be someone who doesn't watch two children closely enough, one of whom is old enough to DRIVE, and we'll force the audience to see you tortured to death for not being woman enough to do your womanly duties which are to look after and protect them.
Cause the deaths of several innocent people and be a douchebag, we'll still kill you, but as far as the audience knows, it's quick and relatively painless.
Coming back to Claire, someone (and I don't know if they were on my f-list or not) said that she becomes "Ripley-like" in her protection of her nephews and they also referenced her awakened "maternal instinct." Excuse me while I throw up. One of the best things about the first movie, IMHO, was that Sam Neill's PATERNAL instinct was awakened for the children in his charge. He didn't like children and was actively uncomfortable around them, but still managed to bond with them as he was protecting them.
Claire, on the other hand, just kind of goes batshit in very stereotypical ways and the boys don't actually bond with HER. They sort of treat her with contempt while looking to her "boyfriend" for protection. Speaking of her boyfriend, why does she have to be a damsel in distress, unable to help the boys without Chris Pratt? Now, I get that he's the dinosaur expert and she's not, but the way they threw them together in Jurassic World wasn't nearly as cool as the way they did it in Jurassic Park. For one thing, Laura Dern's love interest wasn't the park ranger, meaning that the interactions between them had no sexual tension. Honestly, unlike Laura Dern in the first movie, Claire's character wasn't ever given any real strength. She was brittle, for lack of a better word, and only has one truly badass moment in the whole movie, which is when she picks up a gun and shoots a dinosaur.
The rest of the time, she's flying by the seat of her pants and running in heels. Oh, and the heels. Now, I'm the first to defend any woman for their fashion choices. But. You're in a park on a tropical island. Just because you're capable of running and apparently hiking in heels doesn't mean that it's the best option. Meaning that her character really didn't have true strength. Someone truly strong would have found a way to wear practical shoes and still project the authority inherent in her position. In truth, there's misogyny in her feeling that she had to wear heels in that position in the first place. Again, no true strength.
I had other issues with this movie, but being made to feel as though the only "real" way to be a whole woman was if children are somehow involved in my life was truly sickening for me. Basically, if I want to see dinosaurs again, I'll watch Jurassic Park, which is still the best dinosaur movie ever made.