Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Film Review: Jurassic World

Jurassic World: Not a world run  by girls.

I feel like it's important that I get two things straight right off the bat here.
1. I did not hate Jurassic World
2. I actually really like Claire's character.

Yet, both of the above factors were disappointing.

Now, I could go on and on about why the film in general wasn't amazing, but happily I had fairly low expectations. That meant that I could enjoy it on a more simple level, without getting worked up over the dumb stuff.

Still, as I watched there were odd moments that made me roll my eyes or sigh loudly and I suddenly realised that this film would make a great review for this blog (what? It has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't finished my current read yet. How dare you!).

You see, I suspect the makers of Jurassic World feel as though they did a great job of making a 'feminist enough' film. In my opinion, they failed. This list (to follow) is the only way I can get across all the little moments that irritated me.

1. Women Need Family. This was a theme that ran throughout the film - Claire being painted as wrong for not having a family mindset. Now, don't get me wrong - she SHOULD know her nephews ages. But it was so over the top. She appeared fairly close with her sister, so I simply don't believe she wouldn't at least know their ages. The film went to such lengths to show her as a workaholic, but it just didn't gel for me. And then at the end Claire is looking at her sisters family and clearly longing for it. I couldn't help but see this as the film saying that Claire needed to love work less and love family more - which is just suuuch an original narrative for a female character.

2. Owen the alpha male. I love Chris Pratt as much as the next girl, and Owen in general was cool enough. But wow at the literal presentation of him as the alpha male. I hated how he immediately made sexual jokes at Claire's expense. I hated that the film had her pull open her shirt??? to represent that she was tough enough to him. I HATED that even when Claire was given her badass moment , the nephews completely undid all that by insisting that they wanted to be with Owen, and by looking upon Owen as the undeniable hero. Oh, and when Claire saves Owens life? He kisses her, there and then even though it's really inappropriate. Because she just PROVED HERSELF WORTHY. It was all just so...obvious and sad.

3. Claire the token strong female character. Claire had two moments in the film where she was allowed to be the hero.  The first mentioned above with the kiss, and the second towards the end. I actually have no issue with the running in heels, as half the internet seems to. I don't think it matters if I'm honest.  What bothers me is that this is what film makers seem to believe is enough. Reinforce all the usual shit, but throw in 'strong' scenes and people will be happy. Nope.

4. Claire the token strong female character: Part II. Yes, part two. Because she really is the token. As far as I can recall, there were four female characters in the film - TOTAL. And Claire was the only one that was in anyway fleshed out. In contrast? I can think of at least eight SIGNIFICANT male characters off the top of my head, let alone the insignificant ones. Let's see, we have the mother who's just there to reinforce that Claire needs to get on the family train. We have the assistant scientist who's barely noticeable until one moment (which I admittedly enjoyed) where she turns down Jake Johnson's character. And then there's Katie McGrath's character who is quite literally useless, and gets pretty much the only graphic death in the whole film.

I didn't expect Jurassic World to be a feminist film, nor was I demanding it. I suspect some people would think I'm nitpicking, but coming off the back of Max Max: Fury Road (HOLY FILM, BATMAN), Jurassic World's representation of women is incredibly lazy. Sadly, I also think it's fairly normal. Unless we fight for it, this is standard Hollywood fare.

What did everybody else think of the film? Am I being too harsh? Is this as much as we can expect?

Put it this way - if representation in the new Star Wars film is this bad, I'll probably cry. Happily, I don't think it will be going down the same boring road.

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