Twenty years ago, when I was just a toddler in the small town of Indore there came a very strange and then terrifying movie. We still don’t regularly get all Hollywood hits here in the heart of the state of Madhya Pradesh so when Jurassic Park was being screened one month after its release, it was a major event. A rich industrialist had arranged for a dinosaur themed party for his son and heir, who had turned one. He had a team of projectionists and party planners from Mumbai who screened this block buster on a large bedsheet like screen. I can vividly remember the scene where the water in a transparent glass rhythmically splashes to the footfall of the T rex. The wild anticipation as there is silence and every kid in the room shielded his or her eyes with their fingers. The loud sudden roar of the animated creature filling the gaudily decorated hotel banquet hall and us shouting in unison in terror.
I watched the recently released Jurassic World on one of the largest theater screens in Asia with one of the best audio systems in India. Sadly not even a fraction the two decade old thrill could be felt. If only this lack of excitement could be attributed to that necessary evil: growing up. But some movies are just not up to scratch.
The Jurassic series had gone cold much before this current installment but this an important movie. After Godzilla gave us a mild baah this is a perfect gauge for how ready are we again for monster movies. The plot of the movie is very simple with the cursed island open again for entertainment business now headed by an Asian magnate (Irfan Khan). The place is run by an inappropriately dressed and very out of place Bryce Dallas Howard. There are two annoying children who get predictably entangled in a lets play Final Destination kind of way. The elder one beautifully channels a Kristen Stewart kind of acing vibe making you root for the possibility of him becoming dinosaur fodder. Anywho there is the dichotomy of good and evil and a very weird bro/lizard-mance between Chris Pratt and computer generated Velocoraptors. After playing a more true to himself character in Guardians of the Galaxy here the funny guy from Parks and Recreations tries to milk his new found machoism. I might have worked if the plot was not so amazingly far fetched.
Mad Max Fury Road had made me hopeful of sequels once again. But Jurassic World drags the carcass of a genetically modified dinosaur across my hopes by delivering a movie which seems initially spectacular but builds no characters and certainly very little anticipation in anyone who has seen the first film. And who hasn’t?