Skip to main content

MOVIE REVIEW: JURASSIC WORLD


The Lost Wonderland

Rolling back extinction has its moments.

22 years ago, ‘Jurassic Park’ made landfall in Pakistan nearly a year after official release, back when multiplexes were a myth and 3D - a distant dream. Ground breaking tech, enlisted to salvage relics of the past was counted upon to cast a spell. A couple of decades later, the big screen extravaganza stopped by for an encore. The enchantment hadn’t worn off.

The arrival of ‘Jurassic World’, in not so glorious 3D, aims to reignite the passion, on the same day, and in superior cinemascope. It also ups the ante and the filmmakers slyly refer to the sky high expectations and shrinking attention spans as they, along with the corporate machine in charge of the imaginary realm fret about the complexities of cloning the shock & awe-factor.

This version comes with a brand new director at the helm and has been set in the same universe as the first installment. ‘Jurassic World’ has widened the playing field by developing the animal reserve and opening the grounds to visitors. The cast features Chris Pratt as the resident wildlife trainer with Bryce Dallas Howard as the stiff corporate exec / frosty aunt trying to juggle work, dinosaurs and her visiting nephews – all in one go. Irfan Khan is the man in charge who wants to up the stakes by cooking up more fearsome monsters in the lab to keep visitor interest from flagging. Chaos comes a calling when their short sighted approach misfires and the animals turn the tables on their creators as they are wont to do.

Wooing a pack of jaded audience members back to a prehistoric ecosystem can be tricky. Bigger, better, more bite is the revised motto leading to amped up mayhem and madness. The bold looking premise strives to keep its thriving amusement park relevant; the meta-commentary underscores the creative vision chosen to jumpstart the franchise.

The latest offering pays homage to the original and recycles the iconic score, John Hammond’s jeep and BD Wong as the mad scientist. Those who answer the summons for a chance to indulge in fossil sightings, stumble across charismatic leading men, and oodles of hubris strewn among the debris of gene splicing. It makes for a compelling arc and offers incentive to glide over memory lane for a panoramic view of Hammond’s failed enterprise. While the previous occupants of the ill-fated mission gave up the notion of taming nature – their modern day counterparts dusted off the beautiful illusion of control for a closer look. The CGI behemoth is expected to slake mankind’s insatiable thirst for spectacle. To that end, it unveils unholy alliances forged between man and beast, as a pair of uninteresting kids in peril vies for sympathy. It delivers on the action / adventure front, complete with the requisite carnage to bolster the cautionary tale aspect.

Unleashing centuries old primal instinct upon the world may be a trusty hook but it still needs to be wielded with caution. When Spielberg first opened the gateway of his one of a kind wildlife preserve, he dazzled his fictional team of expert witnesses and green viewers in one masterstroke and let them relish the wonders of the lost world before survival became the dominant theme. Both experienced the heady rush of excitement amid numbing waves of crippling fear and came away moved by the event. The element of surprise may be gone but the very idea of a fully functional park held great promise for moviegoers. Instead it was introduced through the eyes of a bored teen and consequently lost much of its impact.

Colin Trevorrow’s slick looking flight of fantasy grounds to a halt by failing to harvest the emotional core central to its success. That lack of investment robs the narrative of its soul. Also, the suspension of disbelief required is jaw-dropping. Ms. Howard’s unwieldy high heels are the foot-ware of choice in a park overrun by super-charged predators. Moody lab specimens are impervious to deadly firepower. And special effect wizardry takes precedence over character development. One stops to marvel at the NASA-esque mission control and then searches for the mislaid contingency plans to evacuate the hordes of tourists and save them from becoming appetizers should things go South. A few anxiety filled moments stand in for simmering tension and creeping dread. Tropes run amok. Damsels look distressed.

One is then tempted to write this off as an ungainly beast living off the glory of yesteryears. But some of the magic survived the journey. Raptors get a delightful makeover that allows them to scale the evolutionary ladder, adding to their mystique. Stocking the playground with fresh attractions that recast the pecking order never fails to amuse. And the idea of reality playing catch up with Sci-Fi adds a cozy new dimension to the experience.

Despite all its failings ‘Jurassic World’ is a box-office juggernaut and now reigns comfortably at the top as the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time. Nostalgia is its biggest ally; the monster themed catwalk remains its greatest asset. Now with a sequel in the works, it intends to extend its hold to 2018 and beyond.

Click for Image Link


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

BOOK REVIEW: Quiet Diplomacy: Memoirs of an Ambassador of Pakistan / Author: Jamsheed Marker

PUBLISHED IN Daily Times /February 06, 2010

REVIEWED BY: Afrah Jamal

Jamsheed Marker belongs to an exceptional cadre of Foreign Service officers entrusted to keep things on an even keel on the diplomatic stage. Providence chose him to fill the void brought on by a sudden influx of newly independent nations and the subsequent need to expand diplomatic service during the 1960s. A stellar career in fostering global diplomacy as the longest serving ambassador has earned him a special place in history.

This veteran Pakistani diplomat has a striking resume. With ten posts and nine accreditations, his name appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the only person to have served as ambassador to more countries than anyone. He took his curtain call when Pakistan declared him Ambassador at Large in 2004, and has been on the faculty at Eckerd College, St Petersburg — Florida as Diplomat-in-Residence. He ended his tenure with a wry observation, ‘the batting card on the scorecard to M…

OP-ED: What’s In A Name(sake)?

First Published in Daily Times / 2 Sep 2013

A beloved cricketer’s name adorns the billboards but this is not a biopic. The cricketing world it allegedly represents provides a compelling front but it will not be a return to his old stomping grounds. Main Hoon Shahid Afridi (MHSA) draws upon a living legend’s legacy to leverage the passion and throws in a cameo or two, but that is the extent of Afridi’s involvement. Meanwhile, somewhere in a small little village, a disgraced cricketer turned coach who trains a rag tag team will be moved centre-field. And the one thing that binds the nation together and provides the soulful soundtrack will become the anchor.

The newly minted flight is bound for cricket-ville and in some parts of the world that is reason enough to join in the festivities. Humayun Saeed, seen at the helm wearing a number of hats as the producer/actor enlists the classic underdog formula to launch his ambitious vision. The village club is in danger of being shut down, and m…

The Book of Davis - Reading between the lines

Published by Global Affairs / Aug 2017

Raymond Davis is a champ. A team player, who puts the needs of his comrades in arms before himself. He is savvy. He is a man of integrity - a survivor - a trooper. Ray, the epitome of courage runs headlong towards danger and into a minefield - literally. He is all this and more. This is his story after all.

6 years ago, he was a trained Special Forces SF, undercover ‘contractor’, forced to navigate the cramped alleyways of Lahore on a routine mission – the details of which remain a mystery. His book ‘The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis’ with Storms Reback, revisits the scene of the crime to solidify his innocence and along the way take a few potshots at random players who helped secure his release. It’s a hair-raising ride.

His style is conversational, his demeanor - amiable. The case is still fresh in people’s minds and his intent to set the record straight ignites yet another round of controversy…

BOOK REVIEW: Pakistan: Beyond The ‘Crisis State’ / Author: Maleeha Lodhi

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published in Daily Times / Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

Published under the title: 17 Reasons to Hope

“History will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, history will have its revenge and retribution”— from the movie, ‘Good Night, & Good Luck’

A region known for most “terrorist sightings”, a place feared for harbouring medieval mindsets next to progressive thinkers and a nation shunned for having an affinity for nuclear toys. By turns a cautionary tale, an indispensable ally and an international pariah, Pakistan does not fit into any mould — for long. But its name crops up whenever things go awry.

Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ is a compilation of articles put together by Maleeha Lodhi that countermands the grim prognosis. When Ms Lodhi, who has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and UK, acknowledges that “resilience has been part of Pakistan’s story from its inception, obscured by the single issue lens…

VIEW: WOMEN in the PAF: AN ENSEMBLE CAST

PUBLISHED in HILAL (Pakistan Armed Forces Magazine) Feb 2010

By Afrah Jamal

Progressive - Conservative - Contemporary - Professional; separately these terms could apply to any service; together they were reserved for just one - the PAF.

Pakistan Air Force has kept in touch with its roots through its glorious traditions and kept up with the changing times with innovative thinking. Oftentimes, traditions that made it stand apart have also stood in the way of, well - progress. Consequently, the service nimbly skipped past the one proposed change that was going to have a profound effect on the lives of countless young girls and would forever alter the way society perceived their womenfolk.

Before 1994, Lady Officers were a rare sight in the PAF. So rare in fact, that when male cadets donned wigs to represent the female species in annual variety shows, nobody wondered why. By 2010, women have become an indispensable part of the service. While, PAF was no stranger to a woman in uniform, a f…

OPED: The Afghan Policy in Perspective

Published in Global Village Space / Aug 2017

True to its reality show inspired template, the Afghan strategy was rolled out after months of speculations, suspense and dithering. It used memorable taglines and inflated figures. ‘Agents of chaos’, sunk costs described as ‘billions and billions’ and going all in seeking victory against all odds. It offered to be tough on Pakistan, even as it was vague on the outlines and predictable in its deployment.

Reading between the Lines

This is essentially the new, improvised policy meant not just for Afghanistan but also Pakistan and India. With it the U.S. administration appears to have heeded the advice of keeping the enemy in the dark. They have also dismissed the necessity of keeping their allies close and have instead embarked upon a strategic vision that aims to expand the theatre adding India to the volatile mix and potentially widen the gulf between allies.

Yet it is not the public performance of the commander-in-chief that catches the e…

BOOK REVIEW: Who Assassinated Benazir Bhutto / Author: Shakeel Anjum

Thank you Dost Publication for the review copy
First Published in Daily Times / 09 Oct 2010

Reviewed by - Afrah Jamal

It is not every day one finds the author of a book about murder himself implicated in a triple homicide. In our part of the world, however, it could simply mean that the ‘suspect’ was too snoopy for his/her own good or simply stepped on some VIP’s toes. Fortunately, it was the latter case here (he fell out with the Islamabad police) and an exonerated Shakeel Anjum shakes off the stigma of a murderer and dons the garb of a detective. He is, after all, a crime reporter who has been associated with a local English daily for a long time and has clocked 32 years in the arena. This provides him with the requisite credentials to dive into the deep end but it may not necessarily give him groundbreaking investigative journalistic powers to ferret out the truth about Benazir’s assassination. Yet, this is exactly what the author claims to have done.

The purpose of the book is ost…