By the time the dust settled on Sunday, Jurassic World had set first-weekend box office records to the tune of almost $209 million domestically and $524 million globally. Chris Pratt had emerged as a legitimate action star, Bryce Howard Dallas’ bangs had nearly earned their own entry on the 2015 Maxim Hot 100 list, and the Jurassic Park franchise had experienced a Ben Affleck-esque career revitalization. But if you’re one of the few people who missed it, don’t worry. I’m here to tell you exactly what happened…
(WARNING: BEYOND THIS POINT BE SPOILERS)
The movie opens on two boys who, honestly, after two hours of watching them onscreen, I still have no idea what their names are. Kid 1 and Kid 2 are visiting Aunt Claire, the operations manager for Jurassic World--the dino theme park that is everything Dr. Hammond could have dreamed of when he built Jurassic Park 20 years ago. As Claire hands her nephews all-access passes and says she’ll see them for dinner, we instantly recognize her as the married-to-her-job-never-has-time-for-the-kids archetype.
“You’re leaving us already?”* Kid 2 asks dejectedly. I guess we’re supposed to sympathize with the kids, but it’s a little tough to get worked up about the frayed relationship between these two and their out-of-state aunt. That’s right Kid 2, she is leaving you. She heads a global destination zoo serving 20,000 people a day, and you’ve chosen to visit the same week she’s showcasing their biggest exhibit yet. So yeah, she’ll see you at dinner. Sorry all she has to offer you are passes to see a bunch of animals that have been extinct for 65 million years.
Next up, we meet Owen Grady, the park’s resident velociraptor trainer, and Vic Hoskins, the Navy vet funding Owen’s work. As Owen deftly directs a pack of raptors, Hoskins is waxing poetically about the damage such a choreographed team could do on the battlefield. Rooting out terrorist cells and taking the place of thousands of soldiers. This somehow comes as news to Owen and his partner who have apparently spent the last few years working on this project without once stopping to wonder what the end game was.
“We finally make progress, and the first thing you wanna do is turn the raptors into a weapon?” asks Owen’s partner.
Ummm… yes. The guy FROM THE NAVY was planning on using these killing machines for… killing.
Owen is disgusted. These are animals with feelings and you can’t just send them off to war! “Extinct animals don’t have rights!” snarls Hoskins. And it is instantly clear that in the battle between “save thousands of soldiers” guy and “velociraptors are people too” guy, we are supposed to side with the latter, which is unfortunate, because the former actually makes way more sense.
But Owen soon has bigger fish to fry when the park's newest creation breaks out of containment. The Indominous Rex—a 50-foot tall, several-ton monster built in a lab to be the most vicious, lethal dinosaur the world has ever seen—is on the loose.
There is naturally some debate about how to handle this between the “let’s evacuate the island” camp and the “well, hold on, are we sure that’s not overreacting?” camp. The latter camp is represented by Jurassic World’s billionaire owner, Simon Masrani, who’s worried that news leaking about an escaped dinosaur would ruin the park. He apparently has never seen the other Jurassic Park movies which all feature dinosaurs escaping and killing lots of people followed by other people deciding to return to the same island and spend even more time with dinosaurs.
The “let’s evacuate” camp is represented by Owen, who somehow managed to get by the not-very-good-at-his-job command center security guard shouting "Sir! I need to see a badge or you can't come in here!" while doing nothing to physically stop the man barging into the room.
As the debate rages on, the boys obliviously wander through the park. Kid 1 is in a mopey mood because it’s just come out that mom and dad are getting divorced (a plot point which will never come up again for the rest of the film), and Kid 2 is in a mopey mood because he’s a teenager and the only instruction he seems to have gotten from the director is “act mopey.”
By the time the announcement comes over the speakers telling people to return to their hotel rooms, the two have already hopped in a glass shuttle and started in on a dino safari. And, given the choice between a) heading back to their room during what is presumably an emergency or b) choosing this time to go off the safari track into the woods by way of an auspiciously knocked-over security door, the boys choose option B.
Kid 1 and Kid 2 come face-to-face with the Indominous Rex who quickly wrecks their vehicle and chases after them. They would be dino lunch if it weren’t for the conveniently-placed nearby waterfall that serves as the perfect escape route.
Meanwhile, Owen is strapping on his game face and a shotgun to help Claire find her nephews. Though it’s not totally clear what good the shotgun would do in a battle with the Indominous Rex, who’s built like a skyscraper and covered in armor. Presumably it’ll come in handy if, I dunno, the Indominous Rex challenges Owen to a skeet-shooting competition.
As if things weren't bad enough, Masrani has decided to pilot a helicopter over to the Indominous Rex in hopes of taking out the dinosaur with a sort of Gatling gun. Unfortunately, the guy manning the gun doesn’t seem to be very good at his job, since aiming an automatic weapon at a five-story target he somehow manages to hit the monster exactly zero times. Things go from bad to worse when the helicopter collides into an aviary, releasing roughly a hundred carnivorous pterosaurs into the park that start swooping down and chomping up guests. But other than that, the mission was a total success.
As chaos breaks out at the park, the boys wander aimlessly through the woods where they discover the original Jurassic Park building, covered over by the underbrush. But, more importantly, they also discover the original cars used to drive around in the first movie, which have spent the last couple decades rusting over and laying abandoned. “Hey, remember when we spent the summer fixing up grandpa’s old Malibu?” says Kid 2.
Now let’s break down some of the problems with Kid 2’s plan, which, if you haven’t guessed, involves “fixing up” a car that’s been abandoned for 20 years: One, Kid 1 and Kid 2 once spent an entire summer fixing up a car, so we’re supposed to believe they’re now handy enough with an automobile to get one working in an afternoon? Two, does no one care that the car they fixed up that summer was a Chevy and this one’s a Ford? Three, and most importantly, where are the replacement parts and tools coming from? If the vehicle needs a new engine block, can you tell me where exactly they’re supposed to get one, or how they’re supposed to install it? And, oh yeah, four, the CAR’S BEEN ABANDONED FOR 20 YEARS. I once left my Mazda parked somewhere for two months and the battery died completely. I can only imagine what kind of impact two decades of inactivity would have had.
The boys fix the car in an hour and drive to safety, meeting back up with Owen and Claire.
Back at the park, Hoskins is taking over. He storms the command center as the security officer shouts, “Hey! You can’t come in here!” then steps to the side and does nothing else. I assume he interviewed well.
With Masrani dead, Hoskins can now implement his plan: using the raptors to defeat the Indominous Rex, thus saving the day and proving his raptors-as-soldiers hypothesis can actually work.
Of course, Owen has his objections. Both he and his raptor-training partner tell Hoskins that he’s out of his mind unleashing these predators like this.
“Hey!” Hoskins shouts. “This is happening, with or without you.” So Owen concedes that he might as well lead the raptors into battle, since he’s the only one that can. This works out really well for Hoskins, because it’s not at all clear who would have led them had Owen chosen the “without you” option.
The plan manages to work for all of about 30 seconds before the Indominous Rex turns the raptors to her side. In the ensuing battle and chase scene, the Indominous Rex gets hit by a missile explosion and a slew of bullets, then shakes those off like they’re nothing, a raptor gets slammed into the side of a rock formation by a car going roughly fifty miles per hour and shakes it off like it’s nothing, and another falls off that same 50-mile-an-hour car and, that’s right, shakes it off like it’s nothing.
The team returns to the lab to discover the entire place being evacuated. Hoskins and the lead scientist are packing up a bunch of lab samples so they can reconstruct all these dinosaurs later and weaponize them, as the words “THERE WILL BE ANOTHER SEQUEL” flash in giant letters in the background.
There’s some more fighting, the raptors kind of change sides again, the Indominous Rex lays a couple of them the fuck out, and then she turns her focus to our protagonists.
Things are looking bleak when Claire decides to make a break for it. She has a plan. If she can just get to wherever it is she’s running to, she might be able to save them all, but time is of the essence. She is
racing as fast as she can and doesn’t have time to fuck around, because lives are on the line still wearing a pair of high heels that she has had on all movie.
“I need you to open paddock 9!” She screams into her walkie talkie, which connects to the only guy left in the command center (played by Nick from New Girl, only with a mustache).
Nickwithamustache opens paddock 9, unleashing a T-Rex, who Claire steers toward the battle scene. Her plan works. The T-Rex engages the Indominous Rex and the two duke it out in a brilliant bit of camera work that leaves the viewer not totally sure which animal is which. The two are going back and forth, when suddenly an underwaterasaurus built like a shark on plutonium-laced HGH leaps out of a nearby pool of water, all but climbs onto the land, clamps her jaws around the Indominous Rex and pulls the monster underwater.
And just like that, the fight is over. The raptor and T-Rex both saunter off, with no explanation given as to how the team made sure those two didn't kill anyone else.
The movie winds down. The parents come to pick up their kids and hug them tight. Claire and Owen talk in that dazed post-action way where you can totally tell they’re going to bang later. Claire is a bit scuffed up from everything, but, as my female friend sitting next to me points out, her bangs still look amazing.
The divorce, the T-Rex and raptor that both strolled off after the fight, and the pack of roughly 100 Pterosaurs previously wreaking havoc are never addressed. Somehow, no one is worried about any of these things.
* All quotes are approximations based on my best memory. Apologies to the five different people who got writing credits on this movie for mangling your words.