Reviewed by Mitch Burns
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, Lauren Lapkus, Judy Greer, Andy Buckley and BD Wong
‘Jurassic World’ has a lot to overcome, living up to the amazing success of the first installment ‘Jurassic Park’, and transcend the critical failure of ‘Jurassic Park: The Lost World’ and ‘Jurassic Park 3’. It’s trying to live up to years of hype, while at the same time appeal to new and old fans alike.
‘Jurassic World’ also has story issues to tackle as well; Why would anyone attempt to reopen a park with dinosaurs which wreaked havoc upon a group of people 22 years before? ‘Jurassic World’ doesn’t give you a chance to ponder that question, as it starts 22 years after the original park failed and all those lives were lost. The parks been open for about 10 years now, and it’s been running successfully, under the control of the company InGen. Jurassic World brings in about 20,000 visitors a day, but the owner of the park, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), knows that new attractions brings in more guests and more money.
Jurassic World’s geneticists led by chief geneticist Henry Wu (BD Wong) have created a genetically modified dinosaur called Indominus rex. Jurassic World’s Park Operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is busy preparing the park for it’s new attraction, she’s so busy that she doesn’t have time to chaperone her two nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) Mitchell. The two brothers have been sent on this trip, it was supposed to be a family trip, but their parents (Judy Greer and Andy Buckley) are divorcing so the kids are sent to spend the weekend with their aunt. Meanwhile, the parks trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), is busy training velociraptor’s… Yes, you read that correct. InGen’s head of security, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), has ulterior motives for these trained raptors.
‘Jurassic World’ get’s moving fairly quick, it isn’t long before the parks new attraction, the Indominus Rex. escapes from its enclosure and begins to terrorize the park. I am a pretty big ‘Jurassic Park’ fanatic, I wore a ‘Jurassic Park’ t-shirt to the film, and wrote a reflection piece you can find here, and even still it took me a little bit to reacquaint myself with a world where living and breathing dinosaurs roam. As a fan of the old films, it’s understandable to have a need to adjust, because everything about Jurassic World’ is new, a new park, new characters, new dinosaurs.
admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the humor right away, some jokes and silliness near the beginning of the film fell flat, they didn’t feel necessary to a film that was about dinosaurs. First moments with new characters felt stilted, like the first episode of a TV show where you know the shows going to get good, but they haven’t quite got the dynamic of the cast figured out yet. In the original ‘Jurassic Park’ Tim and Lex Murphy come to the island to see their grandfather, we aren’t given a reason why, we don’t know their back story. Why ‘Jurassic World’ feels it necessary to include anything to do with Zach and Gray Mitchell’s parents and their impending divorce is beyond me, it doesn’t add anything to the story and actually hinders it.
with my slight qualms out of the way, I can readily admit that I found ‘Jurassic World’ to be an impressively thrilling movie. Any problems I had with the film, won’t even be noticed on repeat viewings, of which there will be many, including more in the theater; FYI this is a film that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
‘Jurassic World’ wows you as if you’re actually at the park, once on the island, the camera follows characters around, giving the audience first hand glance at the park. The actual characters of the film are on full display here, the dinosaurs, beautiful views of old favorites and new dinosaurs. At times, we only get glances of some dinos, or subdued views, because maybe they’ll come into play later…
When it comes time to meet the parks newest attraction, the Indominus Rex, it’s a wonder how the monster could shock us, let alone scare, but it does. The sheer size and stealth of the creature makes for a worthwhile enemy, and it’s a pleasure to watch it hunt and fight.
I won’t give any spoilers, but the final 20 minutes of the film are some of the most exhilarating moments you’ll see onscreen all year.
The characters are interesting enough, none quite as memorable as Alan Grant (Sam Neil) or Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Thankfully, Chris Pratt plays this character slightly different than the character in ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’, . giving us something disparate., Bryce Dallas Howard, who hasn’t had this meaty of a role in her whole career, does a great job as Claire Dearing, in my opinion she’s the best character of them all. Howard’s character has a moment, near the end, where she pays homage to a scene from the original, and it’s fucking triumphant. Second to Howard’s character is Simon Masrani, played by Irrfan Khan, who is funny and quite reminiscent of John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). Jake Johnson has some great moments as well, and Vincent D’Onofrio does a swell job making the audience hate him, even if his character is one note and over the top. BD Wong plays Henry Wu, the only returning (Human) character, and there’s definitely some interesting moments with Henry Wu, some I’m hoping to examine further.
The effects in Jurassic World are top notch, bringing these creatures to life that have been extinct for 65 million years. On top of that, the production design is wonderful, the park is attractive and absorbing, from the enclosures, to the main street of the park, and the neat gyrosphere’s that zoom guests around the island.
Michael Giacchino, whose work I’ve admired for some time, does a wonderful job creating a new score, and reinvigorating John Williams’ iconic score from the first film. For an example Giacchino’s great new score, click here.
‘Jurassic World’ wasn’t brought to the screen easily, director Colin Trevorrow, executive producer Stephen Spielberg, and the many writers, took their time with this project. The creators knew that ‘Jurassic World’ means a lot to a legion of fans, like myself, and they handled it delicately. ‘Jurassic World’ is a knockout, that brings these beloved dinosaurs back to the big screen, and it’s a sight to behold.
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