The Ardent Eccentric: The Heart of Jurassic World’s Success

Jurassic World broke box office records this weekend, making an estimated $511.8 million globally. It beat out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and is the highest grossest opening around the world to date.

Was it the deepest movie ever? Nope.

Was the plot always logical? No.

Did it look like at some points they literally filmed at Universal Studios City Walk? Yes.

But what was it truly? I would argue not a thriller, but a family movie.  Zach and Grey Mitchell are two brothers visiting their aunt Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), the director of the newly opened Jurassic World.  Of course Claire is super busy and has no time for her nephews – she can’t even remember how old they are.  So the boys ditch their aunt’s assistant/babysitter to explore the park on their own.

And predictably, the boys meet trouble in the form of Indominus Rex, a hybrid dinosaur created from a various other dinosaurs and species.  Indominus has escaped her paddock and is making her way across the island, despite the insights of dinosaur behaviorist Owen Grady about what the park should be doing to contain her.  Chris Pratt’s portrayal of Owen is well done, despite a disjointed script.  Pratt is a bad ass both in the role and just in general.  As my daughter put it, he’s just “a perfect cinnamon roll.”

Owen and Claire work together to find the boys, as well as stop Indominus from completely destroying all of Jurassic World. The boys provide viewers with look back at the old park, and many of the tropes from the first movie were alive and well in this one. I won’t spoil it for those of you who have yet to see it, but the story invariably is about family, whether it is among a group of dinosaurs or humans.

I  wrote about family last week in my piece on Kill la Kill, and I’ll try not to make every column about it.  But it is hard to ignore the underlying relationships in the story (as well as the sweeping music), which made my daughter and I and her best friend bawl like infants at the end.  Mind you, the bawling was probably more in response to the fact that my mother passed away last year, and she was obsessed with dinosaurs.  My daughter was thinking about watching the first three Jurassic Park movies as a little girl with her grandmother, and ultimately, about her family.  Her best friend was empathy crying, so we were a mess.

But it was because this concept of family carried over beyond the movie.  The Jurassic films have been a part of all of our lives for over 20 years, and the current story leaves the door open for sequels.   I can only hope that future Jurassic movies keep the same feeling.  And Chris Pratt in form fitting clothing on a motorcycle-that can stay too.