My family took me to the movies last night. We went to see Jurrassic World. We went to the local hometown theater in Belmond, a place that I first went to movies at in the 1960’s for I don’t remember what… well, I’m old… you can’t always remember early childhood when your old brain is clogged with fermenting memories and nostalgia on steroids. I saw Battle for the Planet of the Apes here. I saw Tarzan and the Valley of Gold here. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Gnome-Mobile, The Love Bug… Disney movies, Christmas movies, musicals, cartoons, westerns… science fiction… This was an important feature of my Midwestern Iowegian childhood. I watched all kinds of movies here, and they were all the best movies I have ever seen. Even the really bad ones. Even Harum Scarum with Elvis Presley. I love movies with the uncritical heart of a seven-year-old boy.
I know in my stupid old head that some movies are better than others. I know enough about movie-making and story-telling to know that Jurassic Park was a better movie than Jurassic World. I know that these two movies are better than Jurassic Park, the Lost World and infinitely better than the hot mess that was Jurassic Park III. But I love them all. Formula or not. Consistent plot or not. Humor that is actually funny or simply sad enough to make you groan. I watch practically anything that flickers with an uncritical eye. I have never walked out of a movie theater before the Best Boy and Key Grip’s names have appeared in the credits. I would especially never walk out of this particular theater. Who I am is pretty much shaped by the movies I have seen..
And Jurassic World is a good movie. The characters are engaging. You are sucked into the drama to the point that if either of the two kids are eaten by dinosaurs, you will be totally devastated and may actually die in your seat because you have been jumping and flinching with every scare they get, and for at least part of the movie you are seeing everything through their eyes. And the heroic Chris Pratt character allows you to stride boldly through the dinosaur-infested jungle with deadly velociraptors at your side. You get to be a bit of a bad-ass… er… bad donkey, as you tackle the man-made monster dinosaur at the center of the monster-movie disaster. Movies are supposed to surprise you and give you something new. (But I don’t mind when the story hits certain predictable patterns and cliches.) This movie let me have the pleasant surprise of the villainous velociraptors of the first movie transforming into the heroes of this movie (but they did eat a few minor characters along the way… and one human villain… though I hope the poor velociraptor didn’t get a stomach ache from that icky old guy). If you are looking for a reliable movie review to gauge the quality of the movie, you probably shouldn’t be looking at this article. I am not really a critic. I love movies beyond the point where sanity, reason, and critical thinking can actually protect you from cinematic evils.