In the age of internet hyperbole, where allegiances to a film fall into a simplified 'love/hate' dichotomy, it's difficult for someone to express they're somewhere in the middle. I am that someone. Jurassic World didn't necessarily bore me, but the whole was lesser than the sum of its parts. In this easily digestible, and wholly spoiler-filled, list I will mark down the biggest issues I had with the film.

1. The overuse of CGI

This concern appears to have been universally accepted by both fans and critics on both sides of the fence, so I shan't lambast it here too greatly. However, what I will contribute is the film's unabashed laziness in omitting the use of animatronics in the close-ups, notably the opening shot/credits. In reference to the first Jurassic Park, the sequence begins with the hatchling of a dinosaur egg. It ends on an eye peering through signifying fear, tension, and connoting to the audience that this will be the artificial hybrid dinosaur the trailers have been warning us. Because of the use of CGI in the opening shot, the audience knows the majority, if not all, other dinosaurs will be entirely animated, negating any sense of realist aesthetic the first movie offered. Further, by having our introductory dinosaur be a fear-inducing creature, we will view all monsters as being just that. Speaking of which...

2. Mindless dinosaurs are mindless

Jurassic Park conveyed the dinosaurs as creatures of instinct. The iconic Tyrannosaurus leaving his entrapment is on the lookout for a greater meal, a need to mark its dominance of its terrain, and immediately sees the easy prey - that's the humans. It is a conscious, behavioral, and logical, being. When the film introduced the herbivores, they were met with awe and curiosity. In short, they weren't mindless killing machines, and only attacked if threatened or hungry; that's what Lost World and III would do to them.

Jurassic World is not sure as to where to place these prehistoric beasts. When Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) see the carnage left by the hybrid Indominus, Owen notes the creature is 'killing for sport.' This motivation negates the instinctual nature of the other creatures in the park, and offers the potential to be a distinctive being from the other dinosaurs. However, as all creatures are reduced to mindless murderous monsters out for blood, this character trait loses its uniqueness. This is noticeable after the climactic three-way battle between the T-Rex, the Indominus, and the Velociraptor; once the Indominus is dragged into the tank by the Mosasaurus, the T-Rex and the Velociraptor look at each other, and then part ways (Wait, what!?). This act negates instinctual behavior, for there is an objective besides viewing something perceived as a threat, or the need for consumption; it's far too anthropomorphic behavior that the first film had set up. Further, it's not an act that adheres to logic or narrative, but is solely fan-service. Which, lazily brings me onto my next point...

3. The overuse of references/nods

Fanboys/girls; relax, for I too like a homage here and there in my movies. What I don't like is film nudging me every scene to say, "Jurassic Park was great, huh? Yeah, we didn't like the third film either."

The odd nod was creative in execution - the T-Rex's bursting through the skeletal Spinosaurus to begin the climactic fight was a wonderful middle-finger to JP III - but the whole fan-service became overbearing. It was like the film was too afraid to do something of its own - imagine if Mad Max: Fury Road was just a barrage of homages, and we hear Max say, "Thunderdome was shit." That film was able to convey its own visual style aesthetics whilst adhering to prior films through minor nuances. Jurassic World's over=reliance on the prior films is, simply, a detriment to itself. Everybody knows the impact Jurassic Park had on cinema - it launched CGI into the lexicon, it depicted dinosaurs more accurately (based upon at-the-time palaeontological findings), and made dinosaurs, once again, popular. Jurassic World knew it couldn't live fully up to the same expectations, but it could have at least tried. Because, and here's the kicker...

4. It had potential, and it missed

Dinosaurs rampaging through a theme park filled with tourists. Wow, okay movie, what have you got? I see from the trailer that the rides, the tours, and the shows exploit the dinosaurs; there was even a teaser-shot of a crowd running from an unforeseen beast. Unfortunately, the film simply does not live up to the potential it offers, and we are consequently left with a film that feels stale and familiar. The brothers survive using their own wit to survive - this is like a merge between the siblings in the first film, and the kid alone for 8 weeks in the third. The park quickly empties, and all that is left if a vacant park with the Indominus and Velociraptor stalking our protagonists (again...kind of like the first-movie!). This could've been a post-apocalyptic-style scenario with dinosaurs; have a band of survivors fend themselves against dinosaurs, one of which is killing solely for sport, on an island before the help arrives. That would have been different from the other Jurassic films.

Indominus' abilities could've really pitted man vs beast in very interesting ways; the film could've created a great cat-and-mouse scenario between it and the tourists/protagonists. Alas, not only are his powers only called upon solely for plot convenience, but the creativity of these powers diminishes as the narrative progresses; Indominus lowers his body temperature and sets a decoy to lure the humans into its closure for it to hunt and to escape - only, this is never brought up again, and that intelligence is not seen again. It is simply reduced to the aforementioned mindless-monster-rampaging-through-place.

Still, like all spectacle driven narratives, it can be salvaged if the characters are interesting enough. It's a shame you won't find it here.

5. The characters

If you were to look at the Wikipedia page for this film, you will see this film has been in development hell for a decade. I therefore appreciate the characters won't be up to scratch, and will be sketchy at best, but in 2015 I believe we can do better than this. Nay, we should do better than this. Let's take a closer look at a few of them:

Gary and Zach Mitchell; two brothers; Zach (such a '90s name) is the older brother who is only interested in girls and looking cool, whereas Gary has great passion for dinosaurs. These are winning components, but when we get some "backstory" - i.e. one-and-a-half scenes - of their parents getting a divorce and Gary openly heartbroken by this, it looks like an idea that snuck its way into the film. It's arbitrary as it adds very little to character development or tension to their survival. It's obligatory, underdeveloped, and shoehorned into the narrative for cheap emotional heft.

Claire; Gary and Zach's aunt; she manages an entire theme park with dinosaurs, but she's neglecting the two boys. The film bemoans her for not spending more time with not-her children, and it's her sister who emotionally guilts her into being more maternal at looking after not-her children. The film aggressively imposes such patriarchal values onto her character that it shockingly dates the film - I get we're in a '90s revival, and Spielberg's earlier film's had such family values, but its 2015 now, and we (should've) moved on. Further, the film insists she should be with a man, and only with one will she find true happiness - she won't be this rigid, professional whose only concern is to manage a park filled with dinosaurs.

Owen; former NAVY SEAL-turn-Velociraptor trainer; so what experience did he have to be a dino-trainer? In the first film the people inspecting the park were scientists and palaeontologists, and in the second it was palaeontologists and African hunters who were on Isla Sorna. These made sense as the one profession leads itself to the other. The strangely conservative implication that only former NAVY SEAL can interact successfully with dinosaurs - unlike those tree-hugging, nerds from previous films. Further, this cheap replacement male figure for the (supposed) emptiness in Claire's life, and a father figure for the two boys (the film literally calls Owen 'the Alpha') veers towards parody - Owen connects with Velociraptors, rides a motorcycle, clearly hits the gym, and never sells-out. Such overtly masculine signifiers is the film's attempt to part away from the previous three films, and it sounds daft and corny.

In Conclusion

In short, the film's reliance on CGI is appalling and looks worse than the first incarnation 22 years ago; the dinosaurs are reduced to mindless killing machines, rather than just the Indominus; the film has plenty of potential but squanders it by its dependency on the first film; and the characters convey dated gender politics. It is such a shame as I, like others who weren't too fond of it, wanted this to be the sequel that would do the first film justice, but, alas, Jurassic World wants us to only think of Jurassic Park.