“Jurassic World” is not “Selma.” We don’t need to debate how realistic it is because, well, it’s about a theme park filled with dinosaurs. And yet, there are still moments in “Jurassic World” that are so overtly fake, they become impossible to ignore.
Here are a few examples, including some spoilers.
*The special bond betwixt man and beast
Our hero Owen (played by Chris Pratt) spends the first half of the movie serving up foreshadowing on a platter. People can’t control wild animals, he explains again and again. Even as an accomplished velociraptor-whisperer, he could have been torn to pieces by the dinos who found him unexpectedly trapped in their enclosure, setting off an exciting set piece with his narrow escape through a closing gate.
So when it turns out that Indominus rex has raptor DNA and she can communicate with the inadequately-trained raptors, it appears that all of Owen’s prophesies are coming true; he even admits that the raptors have found a new alpha. So… why do they suddenly change their minds and protect Owen against the Indominus. Who knew raptors were so fickle? Or loyal? The scientists must have spliced some golden retriever DNA into their genetic make-up.
* Bryce Dallas Howard’s high heels.
Seriously, those shoes. The way Claire sprints from dinosaurs in spike heels — without falling, sinking in the grass or twisting an ankle — has become a flashpoint for debate. Howard still hasn’t provided a reasonable explanation for her character’s behavior; she told Variety that she saw the terrain and preferred to keep the shoes on. But were flats not an option? Wouldn’t a control freak like Claire have at least three extra pairs of shoes under her desk? Or a change of clothes — white linen isn’t exactly ideal for jungle visitors, though her outfit somehow remained spotless for quite awhile.
* The kids’ ability to fix up cars.
Zach is a sulky teenager only interested in checking out cute girls and blocking out the world with headphones. His earnest little brother, Gray, is an adorable tot obsessed with science and dinos. Would they really be able to quickly restore a creaky old Jeep to outrun all the dinosaurs? We get a brief reference to how their grandpa taught them how to fix cars, but we doubt Zach would have stopped texting long enough to pay attention.
* The Indominus Rex’s inconsistent sense of smell.
Through the whole movie, we’re told that the Indominus Rex is so smart that she’s basically a dino with superpowers — including a keen sense of smell and awareness of thermal heat that lets her detect any living, breathing thing nearby. So how does she repeatedly miss the fact when Owen and Claire are hiding just a few feet away? There’s that terrifying moment when they’re hiding within inches of the dino’s gigantic teeth — yet she just gives up and move on. And if there’s one thing we know, it’s that Indominus Rex is not a quitter.
*Chris Pratt’s sparkling smile
Owen doesn’t seem like the kind of dude who spends a lot of time primping. He sports a patchy beard and a wardrobe of dingy henleys and leather vests. His days are spent training raptors to sit and stay, and in his off-hours he gets his hands dirty working on an old motorcycle. He even wears board shorts to a date with the most severely manicured woman on Isla Nublar.
But all the hard work to make Owen seem like an earthy, unshowered guy goes out the window every time he opens his mouth to reveal his Whitestripped smile. It’s a subtle reminder of the limits of movie magic. You can cover Pratt in all the grime you want, but his impeccable dental hygiene will keep reminding us that this is just another handsome actor pretending to be a slob.
*The fact that no one was afraid that a T. rex and velociraptor were on the loose.
The movie’s grand finale consists of a battle between Indominus rex and the tag-team duo of Blue, the velociraptor, and an unnamed T. rex (plus a great late effort by the underwater-dwelling mosasaurus). What’s odd is that once the Indominus has been dispatched, Owen and Claire are completely relieved. No one pays any attention to the fact that there’s still a velociraptor and a T. rex on the loose. Did no one learn anything from “Jurassic Park”? Those guys kill people, too!
As the human bad guy, the prolific actor is basically the walking embodiment of a cartoon villain cackle. His arched eyebrows and stagey scheming leave you waiting for him to break into an “if it hadn’t been for you kids” speech. And could there be a more spectacularly absurd motive than his plot to turn velociraptors into military killing machines, because they’re somehow more efficient than drones?
*The original “Jurassic Park” night vision goggles work after 20 years.
Really, those vintage night vision goggles are operational after 20 years in a rusty shed? Okay, fine, it was a nice throwback to the first movie, but still… they should not have come to life so easily.