Friday, July 3, 2015

Running From a T-Rex in High Heels

Progress continues!

Things have been going quite well indeed at Arketer Labs, with several projects nearing completion. The downside of this being that I have had a dearth of free time.

I did find enough time to see a movie, but unfortunately it was Jurassic World. Beware, people who dread spoilers. I will soon spoil much.

Quite frankly I had the feeling it was going to be a disappointment from the first time I saw Chris Pratt dirtbiking with velociraptors.

In this latest iteration of Science Does Bad Thing, we are presented with a world in which the first Jurassic Park proves to be a disaster- due to an idiot's sabotage- but somehow they kill or wrangle all of the dinosaurs and go right back to building a NEW park which then has a successful run of 20 years.

Among the finest things Dresden Codak ever made.

At which point, in 20 years, apparently the public has become so jaded with the idea of seeing previously extinct dinosaurs that the people running the show have come to the conclusion that what the park really needs is just to outright invent new dinosaurs.

Enter the Indominus Rex.

This is where it starts getting really stupid, really fast.

First, they tell potential investors that they can't say what hodgepodge of DNA was used to craft the Indominus.

Fair enough, though I am not sure there really is that much of a threat that Sony is going to go whip up their own Indominus in the backyard.

Where it gets absurd is that no one in the park except the head geneticist seems to have the slightest damn idea what is in the beast. Not even it's deliriously incompetent owner, Simon Masrani, knows.

But he approves anyway.

This will be important to note for later on.

As a Director of a quasi-legal research concern operating on the edge of known science, I have to tell you that if one of our people started a project to genetically engineer... well, anything, but refused to share what exactly they were making with the rest of the people in the facility- with me- I would have to shut that down! No one wants horrifying flesh beasts running amok, especially in the necessarily confined spaces in which we work.

Moving on. Despite supposedly having 20 years of experience raising healthy and well-adapted dinosaurs including massive predators such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, they elect to raise their new Indominus Rex in an enclosure that, for the creature's size, was a hatbox.

Just to be sure they aren't missing something regarding security, they then call in Chris Pratt's character, Owen- a man in the process of trying to train Velociraptors even though he apparently thinks that's a horrible idea.

Owen sees some scratches on the inside wall of the enclosure and suggests the possibility the Indominus escaped. They have trouble finding the Indominus on the cameras in it's relatively tiny enclosure and can't pick it up on a thermal scan. IT'S ESCAPED.

Funny, you would think a giant lizard of several tons of weight would not be able to escape without making a great deal of noise- even if not especially when it's supposedly scaled a high wall and has a guard on it 24/7. When it inevitably jumped down on the other side- something that large would not land quietly.

Still, Owen thinks it escaped and everyone immediately assumes this despite all the evidence to the contrary. So confident are they that Owen and the guard on duty get it into their heads to ENTER THE ENCLOSURE.

Surprise! The Indominus hadn't escaped, but somehow knew that if it marked up the wall Owen would come on by to prompt an idiotic panic at which point it would evade detection by the cameras it somehow knows about providing it with an opportunity for escape or at least eating some tasty tasty people.

It gets both, and escapes- very noisily- as one would expect of a multiton lizard.

Jurassic World Animal Control to the Slaughter!

Owen, being designated 'right guy' despite being partially responsible for the escape of the beast stresses that they need to shoot the beast down from helicopter using a minigun. Which is sound logic- but he is vetoed as it is deemed wasteful.

The alternative decided upon? Sending in Animal Control troops with horribly inadequate tranq/stun rifles into a jungle... on foot.

Why, oh why, would they not go after the beast- even if they limited themselves to weapons inadequate to the task of disabling a dinosaur- from helicopter?

Owen notes they are sending all of those men to their deaths, because we must be reminded that as stupid as his character is- he's still the smartest person in the room at that point.

The Animal Control team arrives to find not only has the Indominus realized it is somehow being tracked before it is tracked down, it magically knows it's via an implant which it claws out.

This is where we also learn that because their head geneticist is a pointlessly bloody-minded fool, the Indominus has been gifted the ability to blend in with it's surroundings like an octopus in addition to the ability to hide from thermal sensors. It eats all of the poor Animal Control suckers and continues on it's merry way.

During the course of the encounter it is hit several times by the weapons the AC unit carried, which prove useless.

And somehow, SOMEHOW we are to believe these people have run Jurassic World without major incident for 20 years already, without the tools necessary to drop their rampaging exhibits as needed.

Simon meanwhile, goes to the head geneticist to demand now, far too late for it to matter that much, what else he had spliced into the Indominus saying - "I asked you for a dinosaur, not a monster!" which, if you look back to that first clip especially, seems extremely disingenuous.

Well, events happen the Indominus almost eats people who are relevant to the plot, continues killing every other dinosaur in it's path. Now that it has done enough damage to the park, Simon Masrani decides that NOW is the time to go after it with a minigun in a helicopter- which he'll pilot himself despite being an amateur. His instructor is supposedly being caught up in the evacuation and, apparently, is the only other person on the island capable of flying the chopper.

Unfortunately Simon Masrani is written to be an idiot so he winds up herding the Indominus into what they cutely called the 'birdhouse' freeing all of the flying dinosaurs which improbably fly at the helicoptor, bringing it down and ending Simon's participation in this disaster.

The flying dinosaurs then collectively elect to attack the tourists. The remaining Animal Control people do their best to stop this by shooting at all the dinosaurs with tranq rifles.

Which, like with many things in this film, makes less sense than this :

What is the point of tranquilizing the pterodactyls when no one is in any position to put them back into containment?

Now the evil lab people at Ingen get the great idea of using the velociraptors Owen has been training to hunt the Indominus.

There is no rational reason to believe releasing the velociraptors will lead to them killing the vastly bigger and badder Indominus, or given as close as they came to killing their trainer wouldn't eat everyone else present the moment they were released.

What actually happens, of course, is much stupider still. The Velociraptors play along! Up until they meet the Indominus- which SURPRISE is also part Velociraptor. This means they are instant friends regardless of the fact the Indominus up to this point had killed every other dinosaur it encountered without exception- including it's sibling.

Now the Velociraptors turn on Owen and the ingen strike force taking part in the hunt, who had the good sense to bring a rocket launcher- but didn't elect to use it when they had a clear shot at the Indominus because they were, I assume, incredibly polite and didn't want to interrupt the chat it was having with the raptors.

Truly misplaced courtesy.

Owen survives, discovers the evil Geneticist's secret lab area which he conveniently left unlocked and open, discovers nothing we didn't already know, leads obligatory love interest and her nephews outside where he is cornered by the remaining raptors who not only suddenly decide not to eat 'daddy' like they have been very eager to do at all other times, but fight the Indominus on his behalf.

And this happens, only less believably.

I say less believably, as in the movie Claire the obligatory love interest- on the vague advice of her prepubescent nephew- releases the T-Rex from it's enclosure while using a flare to indicate she is food- as if the T-Rex needed help determining that- then runs from it to lead it to the Indominus...

All while wearing high heels.

An olympic sprinter in track shoes could not possibly have pulled that off, and now you know why this entry is thus labeled.

Though if the T-Rex had been the one wearing high-heels, Claire's plan might have been a bit more plausibly survivable.

Really, the only way she could have survived an attempt to outrun a T-Rex in high heels is if the poor creature was laughing too hard to remain upright most of the time.

The Dinosaur fight, featuring an improbable T-Rex and Raptor team-up, is a worthwhile spectacle that can endure on it's own merits, I admit. Even if the dinosaurs pull punches and take dives like the Thunder Lizard Mafia and their Bookie is waiting off screen with a massive baseball bat.

This all over, the T-Rex and remaining Raptor leave Owen, Claire and her nephews unmolested because...

Nevermind, heartwarming epilogue time! Roll credits!

The science behind all of this is nonexistant, which is to be expected of a movie. The complete absence of anything approaching common sense or competence however? I really expected a bit better!

In Jurassic Park the disaster was the product of sabotage, in Jurassic World it is entirely the product of staggering inexplicable incompetence on almost every level.

Now that I have ranted at length about the movie's flaws however, I would like to note some positives- the dinosaurs looked great and Chris Pratt remains incredibly charismatic.

It's just a shame the writing was approaching Iron Man 3 levels of horrid.

Progress continues.

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