Jurassic World

“God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.'” (Genesis 1:28)

                The problem with sky-high expectations is that a mild disappointment feels like failure to liftoff.  “Jurassic World,” the long-awaited sequel, does get off the ground, but the flight is as erratic and bumpy as the attempted humor at the park owner’s attempts to fly his own helicopter.  Oh, did I mention that eventually he crashes?

                Ten years after the dinosaur theme park opens, the public has become ho-hum about seeing live, tame dinosaurs.  The owner, Masrani (Irrfan Khan) demands of research scientists that they experiment more with genetics, until they can come up with a new dinosaur, bigger, faster, with more marketing zip.  To spike attendance at the amusement park, you know.

                Owen (Chris Pratt), the head Park Ranger, knows how dangerous the dinosaurs can be.  He’s tried to befriend some sibling raptors, but “training” them is still an iffy proposition.  He’s really not in favor of messing around with the gene pool and introducing the DNA of other creatures, but the “powers that be” seem to be enthralled and enamored with “playing God” (interesting that any theological ramifications are quietly ignored in the script).

                In keeping with the “family” emphasis of its predecessor films, there are plenty of subplots here.  The two kid stars, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), are visiting their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who’s director of operations at the park, and takes herself, and her job, very seriously, which means she pawns off the boys on her personal assistant, who promptly gets busy on her cell phone and loses track of them.  The boys take off in a kind of space-age land rover into a “restricted area” where, you guessed it, the new big bad dinosaur emerges on an unexpected rampage.  Of course the boys are smart and resourceful (Spielberg is still the Executive Producer), but the hapless public is panicked, and we not only have an enormous P.R. disaster on our hands, we have some very bad results of man vs. raging dinosaur.

                The good news is that the CGI here is great.  The bad news is that they seem to like to play with it a lot, so that any pretense of plot just flies out the window as the film quickly regresses into just another disaster movie; people running haphazardly and screaming haplessly while chaos erupts around them. This part is not exactly family-friendly.  A certain nine-year-old granddaughter of my close acquaintance would be so frightened she wouldn’t enjoy it at all, so I’m not going to recommend it to her.

                As for the adults, well, the computer animation is really good, maybe even worth the price of admission all by itself.  But this one is probably not going to be the big summer blockbuster it hoped to become.  Too scary for small children.

 

Questions For Discussion:

1)                   Is genetic engineering “playing God”?

2)                  Would genetic engineering be acceptable under the rubric of the Genesis verse about having dominion over creation?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas