I don’t pretend to be a Gene Siskel movie reviewer. I leave that to my buddy Stephen Brown from Silver Screen Capture who always NAILS it when he writes a review. (Stephen and I were student co-leaders of a University 101 class at University of South Carolina, so we go WAAAAYYY back!) And although Stephen gave Jurassic World a C-, I have to give it higher marks because I was thoroughly entertained. Jurassic World is pure escapism: an action- adventure movie that has you calmly telling yourself that dinosaurs aren’t real and are in fact extinct so you won’t feel like one will be chasing after your car when you leave the theater. Suspension of disbelief? Yes. Still makes you twitchy about dinos coming out of the woods though. I’d say that’s a success! So here are the FACTS as I see them about Jurassic World.
Fact: Jurassic World is a MASSIVE box office hit.
The numbers are in: Jurassic World CHOMPED the competition with the biggest domestic opening weekend of all time with box office sales of $208.8 million…yes, you read that right, it dethroned prior record holder The Avengers (207.4 million). Worldwide, it also grossed $524 million for the biggest worldwide debut of all time.
OK I will concede that the movie surely didn’t have a strong plot or deep character development. Then again, you don’t go to a MEGA movie about mega dinosaurs (like the newfangled, genetic hybrid Indominus Rex) to hear Downton Abbey dialogue! But what Jurassic World has is that big box office hit/summer blockbuster feel. I am not surprised because our theater was PACKED. Then again, consider your reviewer: I often watch Disney movies, so just getting to see action-adventure is a nice change up for me!
Fact: Chris Pratt has arrived. Meet the newest A-lister on the block. I believe the secret sauce to why Jurassic World did so well is because of this guy. Yes, the same actor from Parks and Recreation, who voiced Emmet from the Lego Movie and Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) from Guardians of the Galaxy is now a bona fide leading man. He MADE the movie. He just has that “IT” factor: men like him and ladies dig him. Kind of reminds me of the buzz around Channing Tatum. No wonder there are rumors swirling Chris Pratt would be a leading candidate for an Indiana Jones reboot.
But it’s what I’m reading about him as a person makes me like him even more! He is unflinching in talking about his faith, particularly when sharing about when his son was born 9 weeks prematurely and how they spent the first month of his life in an intensive care unit. Chris described how he and wife Anna Faris relied on their faith in the Lord to get them through a very dark time.
“We were scared for a long time. We prayed a lot. It restored my faith in God, not that it needed to be restored, but it really redefined it. The baby was so beautiful to us, and I look back at the photos of him and it must have been jarring for other people to come in and see him, but to us he was so beautiful and perfect.”
But this really takes the cake: “I have my eyes on the prize. The big picture is my wife and my son and I living somewhere other than L.A., just being able to be a Boy Scout leader, drink beer on Saturday, go to church on Sunday, having fun. I could coach him in football. That’s the goal, and I need to do as many big movies as I can while there’s still time. Because you never know what’s next,” he said.
Box office gold miner, A-lister AND all-round great guy! You go, Chris Pratt!
Fact: Dinosaurs are IN
The Hollywood Reporter broke it down like this: “Males made up 58 percent of the audience, and particularly younger males, who are an endangered species at the box office. That’s why so many tentpoles have underperformed in North America in recent times. Males are also more willing to shell out extra money for Imax and 3D, helping to explain why nearly 50 percent of Jurassic‘s gross is coming from 3D houses. According to Rentrak’s PostTrak service, 50 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25, a hearty showing. And of the kids turning out with their families, nearly 60 percent were boys, including 24 percent under the age of 10.” In other words, Jurassic World hit it out of the park with males, but I think all the females I talked to said they loved it, too.
What the movie did right was to not make a redux of Jurassic Park but instead spin it into what the founder John Hammond intended: a larger-than-life theme park on testosterone. And the 30 and 40-somethings who nostalgically remember seeing the original are ready to introduce the series to a new generation.
Fact: You should go see Jurassic World in the movie theater.
Maybe this last “fact” might be debatable, but I would advocate for you to go see it on a large screen with Dolby sound simply from the excitement value of seeing giant dinosaurs and watching the suspenseful action unfold. (Although I would have wet myself I think if I saw it in Imax!) And since it will no doubt be in theaters for a while, you don’t want to miss out on the movie everyone will be talking about.
And sorry Chris Pratt, you may have to postpone those plans to move to the suburbs just yet. I think we’ll be seeing you on the big screen ALOT (thank goodness!)