Quick Takes: Hulk Smash JURASSIC WORLD

Film Crit Hulk caught up on the movies, and all this week he's bringing you quickie reviews!

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PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT GOING IN HULK HAD MOSTLY UNPLUGGED FROM THE LARGER CONVERSATION AROUND THIS ONE, HULK SIMPLY KNEW THE POPULAR REACTION WAS DIVISIVE. HULK HAD FRIENDS WHO LIKED IT, JUST AS HULK HAD FRIENDS WHO HATED IT. BUT WHAT HULK HONESTLY DIDN'T EXPECT WAS SUCH A HATEFUL, CONFUSED ATTITUDE FROM THE MOVIE ITSELF. WHAT'S FUNNY IS THAT HULK WAS ACTUALLY INTO THE FIRST 30 MINUTES OR SO. FOR AT LEAST THE FIRST ACT WAS WEIRDLY DIRECT, WITH SERVICEABLE INTENTIONS AND LAYING SOME GROUNDWORK FOR THESE CHARACTERS TO CHANGE. BUT THEN, ALL THOSE INTENTIONS FADED AWAY AS EVERYTHING WHIPLASHED INTO 90 STRAIGHT MINUTES OF NOISE. HULK KNOWS THAT MANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIKED THE FILM ARGUE THAT ALL THIS ACTION WAS AT LEAST FUN, BUT IT NEVER EVER FELT FUN TO HULK. FOR IT WOULD JUST RAPIDLY MOVE FROM BEAT TO BEAT WITH A MONOTONE INTENSITY. STAKES NEVER FELT SET, ONLY OBLIGATORILY-ASSUMED, RESULTING IN SOMETHING THAT WAS COMPLETELY DRAMALESS. EVEN THE CINEMATOGRAPHY WAS FLAT AND OVERLIT. ALL RESULTING IN A FILM THAT JUST BECOMES A MEANINGLESS EXCHANGE OF SETTINGS WITH NO REAL STAKES.

WORSE, THE STORY MANIFESTS INTO SOME OF THE MOST CONFUSED CHARACTERIZATION HULK CAN THINK OF IN A RECENT STUDIO FILM. CHARACTERS GO ON FOR LONG SPEECHES ABOUT WHAT THEY THINK, BUT OFTEN MANIFEST IN DICHOTOMOUS MOTIVES. SO CHRIS PRATT IS AGAINST WEAPONIZATION OF DINOSAURS BUT HE'S STILL ACTIVELY TRAINING DINOSAURS TO BE WEAPONS? IFRAN KAHN IS IN LOVE WITH ANIMALS AND THE GRANDEUR OF HIS PARK, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY WEARY OF PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES, BUT IN THE LATER SCENE OF THE LAB HE APPARENTLY WAS EGGING THEM ON AT THE SAME TIME? AND THIS IS NOT TREATED LIKE A REVEAL OR MUCH OF ANYTHING? THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE FILM NEVER CONTEXTUALIZES THESE OPPOSING VIEWS. THE ORIGINAL HAMMOND IS A DREAMER WHOSE DREAMS MADE HIM BLIND. IT'S YOUR STANDARD THE ICARUS MYTH. BUT IFRAN KAHN AND CHRIS PRATT ARE LIKE EVERYONE IN THIS FILM: AS IN HULK HAD NO IDEA WHERE THE HELL ANYONE WAS COMING FROM. HECK, THE FILM'S ATTITUDES ARE COMPLETELY BI-POLAR ON THE WHOLE. WE'RE PUSHED TO CRY FOR THE MEANINGLESS VIOLENCE AGAINST A BRONTOSAURUS(?) BEFORE FIST-PUMPING CELEBRATION OF SHOOTING OTHER BAD DINOSAURS IN THE FACE. IT SHUFFLES EXPECTATIONS AND RULES AND AUDIENCE ATTITUDES FOR WHATEVER IT WANTS TO DO IN A GIVEN MOMENT.

AND MOST OF THE TIME, ALL IT SEEMS TO WHAT TO TELL YOU THAT CHRIS PRATT IS AWESOME. AND YEAH! CHRIS PRATT IS AWESOME! BUT WHOEVER THE HELL CHRIS PRATT IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN THIS MOVIE IS DECIDEDLY *NOT* AWESOME, BECAUSE HIS ENTIRE CHARACTER MISSION MAKES NO SENSE AND HAS THE UNFORTUNATE PROBLEM OF GETTING INTO A LOT OF WEEEEEIRD SEXIST STUFF. BECAUSE BOTH HE AND THE FILM SEEM TO CHASTISE ANY WOMAN THAT BEHAVES EITHER PROFESSIONALLY AND FEMININE, MAKING FUN OF HIGH-HEELS, AND IT'S AS IF THE FILM IS CONSTANTLY REMINDING PEOPLE HOW MUCH BETTER HE IS THAN HER (EVEN DIRECTLY SO FROM THE TWO NEPHEWS). THE FILM EVEN RESERVES THE MOST GRUESOME AND PROLONGED KILL FOR WHO? A WOMAN WHO DARED TO BE PRETTY AND LOOK AT HER PHONE. THAT'S THE KARMA? COMPARE THIS THE CUT-AWAY DEATH OF VINCENT D'ONOFRIO'S MR. HAPPY WARMONGER CHARACTER. IT'S COMPLETELY TONE-DEAF. IT HAS NO SENSE OF KARMA OR MEANING. WHICH IS PROBABLY APT FOR A FILM THAT HAS ONE OF THE MOST TONE-DEAF KISSES SINCE MAN OF STEEL. AND ULTIMATELY, PLEASE CONSIDER THE FACT THAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS ENTIRELY PREDICATED ON HER ABANDONING HER CAREER-DRIVEN ATTITUDE AND JUST ACCEPTING HOW AWESOME HE IS. SERIOUSLY, THAT'S HER ARC. AND HE DOESN'T HAVE AN ARC BECAUSE HE'S SO AWESOME! EVEN THOUGH HIS CHARACTER IS BASICALLY A WALKING ETHICAL CONTRADICTION.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT IS THE WORST PART OF ALL? THE FILM IS ASTOUNDINGLY CYNICAL ABOUT ITS VERY MISSION STATEMENT. SURE, IT'S CHOCK FULL OF LIP SERVICE ABOUT THE "OLD PARK" AND HOW PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE AWE AND WONDER FOR DINOSAURS, BUT THEN IT GOES ONTO EXPRESS ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THAT SENTIMENT. AND WHAT'S WEIRD IS THE FILM IS SO ADAMANT ON TREATING DINOSAURS LIKE CHARACTERS BUT IT HAS NO IDEA HOW TO EARN THAT (JUST LIKE THE ACTUAL CHARACTERS IN THE FILM). IT ALL MANIFESTS IN DINO-MOMENTS THAT ARE THE VERY DEFINITION OF CHEAP AND TRANSPARENT BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE ACTUAL COHERENT PERSONALITIES. AGAIN, IT'S THE WHIPLASH OF INTENT FOR A MOMENTARY DESIRED EFFECT. THEY BLATANTLY USE THE BIG DINOS FOR A NONSENSICAL "BRING BACK THE ORIGINAL T-REX" MOMENT THAT SHOULD HAVE SOME WEIGHT, BUT IT'S SO OUT OF NOWHERE AND UNEARNED. EVEN MORE UNEARNED IS HOW THEY GO ON TO BECOME THE WARDENS OF THE PARK APPARENTLY? ALONG WITH ONE OF RAPTORS FOR SOME REASON? AND THEN THEY, HULK SHIT YOU NOT, TEAM UP TO FIGHT THE DINOSAURS WE DON'T LIKE? AND AFTER IT'S OVER, THE T-REX AND RAPTOR GO THEIR SEPARATE WAYS WITH JUST-SHY-OF-AN-ACKNOWLEDGING-NOD TO OUR HUMAN HEROES???

LOOK. IT'S NOT THE LOGIC OF THIS THAT HULK HAS A PROBLEM WITH. IT'S AN ALMOST CHILD-LIKE IDEA THAT COULD BE FUN IN SOME OTHER MONSTER-FIGHTING MOVIE, BUT IT COMPLETELY MISUNDERSTANDS BOTH THE ENDING AND THE ETHOS OF THE ORIGINAL JURASSIC PARK, WHICH IT IS SUPPOSEDLY SO ENAMORED OF AND IS TRYING TO APE. THIS FILM KEEPS SAYING THESE ARE WILD ANIMALS IN WHICH OUR VERY EXISTENCE IS NOTHING BUT A SMALL KERNEL IN THEIR PLIGHT. SO INSTEAD OF SHOWING THAT, IT INSTEAD TURNS DINOSAURS INTO VENGEFUL HUMAN-LIKE MOTIVE-DRIVEN MURDERERS OR ICONIC HEROES FOR OUR OWN INDULGENT ROOTING INTERESTS. WHICH JUST MEANS IT'S PART OF THE BI-POLAR LIP-SERVICE OF EVERYTHING IN THE FILM. AND LOOK, HULK'S NOT TRYING TO SAY THE FILM WAS DISINGENUOUSLY MADE, BUT HULK IS SURE AS SHIT IT'S DISINGENUOUSLY REALIZED. WHICH MEANS THAT, YES IT'S A CYNICAL END PRODUCT. ESPECIALLY AS WE ARE CONSTANTLY TOLD THE MODERN "WHIZZ BANG ZOOM" IS ALL THE AUDIENCE'S FAULT (ALONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO PROPAGATE IT). REALLY, WE ARE CONSTANTLY TOLD THAT BIG LOUD NOISES IS ALL THAT OUR DUMB BRAINS WANT, BUT RATHER THAN THE TRANSCEND AND UPHOLD THE NOSTALGIC NOTION THE FILM SPOON-FEEDS THE CYNICAL WHIZ-BANG-ZOOM RIGHT BACK TO US (TO THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE APPARENTLY). SURE, IT DOESN'T MEAN TO, BUT THE FILM ABSOLUTELY HATES ITS AUDIENCE AND HATES ITSELF.

WHICH AGAIN, IS NOT TO IMPLY THE FILM WAS MADE TO BE ANY OF THIS. COLIN TREVORROW HAS BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF GOOD-NATURED IN THE PRESS, BUT THE ENTIRE FILM IS A HALF-BAKED NIGHTMARE OF THE UNINTENTIONAL. BECAUSE YEAH, UGLY STATEMENTS ABOUT HUMANITY OR EVEN SEXISM OFTEN AREN'T USUALLY PRODUCTS OF VULGAR INTENT. THEY'RE PRODUCTS OF JUST A LACK OF AWARENESS AND EFFORT. WHICH IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF FILM THAT COMES OUT WHEN PEOPLE THINK ABOUT "COOL" SINGULAR MOMENTS WITHOUT A SINGLE REAL THOUGHT OF HOW IT FITS INTO THE LARGER SCHEME OF MEANING, CONTEXT, CHARACTER IDENTITY, OR EVEN PLOTTING. THE FILM IS A GRAB-BAG THAT ENDS UP SAYING CRAPPY THINGS; THE VERY ENCAPSULATION OF THE "DON'T THINK ABOUT IT" MANTRA, WRIT INTO THE VERY MAKING OF THE THING ITSELF. AND THAT'S WHAT HULK MEANS WHEN HULK SAYS THAT JURASSIC WORLD "HATES YOU." IT'S THE KIND OF HATE THAT IS LARGELY UNINTENTIONAL. A LOOSE COLLECTION OF THE SUBTLE, THE INSIDIOUS, AND THE DEEPLY HARMFUL COLLECTION OF ACCIDENTS.

AND IT'S PRECISELY THE KIND OF THING THAT MAKES LARGER CONVERSATIONS SO HARD BECAUSE HULK KNOWS MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT THE FILM WAS FINE. THEY FOUND IT TO BE FUN, INNOCUOUS, AND BOUGHT ALL THOSE COOL SINGULAR MOMENTS HULK THOUGHT WERE UNEARNED. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? IT JUST MEANS THEY DISAGREE WITH HULK'S ASSESSMENT. AND THAT'S ALL IT SHOULD MEAN. BUT HULK'S SEVERITY WITH THE FILM'S IDENTITY ALSO MEANS THAT PEOPLE ARE SO QUICK TO FEEL OFFENDED BY HULK'S STATEMENTS, AS IF HULK IS TALKING ABOUT THEM AND NOT THE MOVIE IN AND OF ITSELF. IT'S ALL PART OF A LARGER PROBLEM ABOUT HOW WE HAVE TO STOP INTERNALIZING FILM DISCUSSION IN GENERAL. BECAUSE, YES, THEY CAN BE THINGS THAT GIVE US TRUE JOY, IN FACT THEY ARE PROBABLY HULK'S FAVORITE THINGS IN THE WORLD. BUT HULK WOULD NEVER PUT HULK'S JUDGEMENT OF SELF-WORTH INTO A MOVIE DISCUSSION. SOMEONE CHASTISING HULK FOR LOVING MAD MAX: FURY ROAD WOULD NEVER BE SOMETHING THAT MADE HULK FEEL "LESS THAN." INSTEAD, HULK WOULD SIMPLY ARGUE ABOUT THE THING ITSELF, HULK WOULD MAKE A CASE FOR THAT FILM'S PASSION AND FUNCTIONALITY AND SOUL. AND THAT IS BECAUSE HULK ARGUES HUMANS HAVE THE ABILITY TO CONTEXTUALIZE.

AND HULK JUST WISHES THIS FILM HAD THE SAME ABILITY.

<3 HULK

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