Dir: Senor Spielbergo
Somewhere along the way, some dinosaurs showed up in a kids' movie. So let me discuss those two elements separately.
The dinosaurs are what I expected. And the film stands in an odd moment in CGI history, where the tech is available to make pretty crappy animated animals and some incredibly cool animatronic ones. Speilberg resists the temptation to overrely on the new toys unitl the end; otherwise, he could never have done the closeup work with the T-Rex that has become the movie's trademark. That scene in the rain is without a doubt the standout of the film, with the more computer oriented Raptor/Kitchen scene overlong and far less believable. I guess the action is pretty good, but not great. This part of the movie is supposed to be a disaster thing; but I'll take the Posieden Adventure or the Towering Inferno or the last hour of Titanic over this anyday.
The kids' movie, though, I did not expect. The first half hour, where we explore the park as an attraction, is manipulative in a good way. There is so much joy and wonder expressed by the actors, the score so schmaltzily choreographing our emotions, the camera panning at just the right speed to communicate astonishment, that one can't help but feel youthful and excited. Even when the adventure commences, it feels more like Jumanji than King Kong, with kid heroes and comic relief after every close call; only bad guys are hurt and family love trumps all in the end and youth is the predominant theme. This is Speilberg stuff all the way, and probably one of the reasons I imposed the irrational prejudice on him in my own youth.
Is that kids' stuff bad? No, I have grown more tolerant in my middle ages. And in my eyes it gave the film an interestingly disonant quality, where the intensity of the T-REX scene seems inappropriate, too intense for the target audience. The cynic in me says this dynamic is why the movie was so successful; adults who do not like to be challenged by movies appreciate the pre-pubescent themes and mentality, but also like cool dinosaur robots. But I am abandoning cynicism. So hooray populism!
Irrational prejudice? Plausible, but in this case not warranted.