Jurassic World

jurassic_world_ver2STARS3.5Jurassic World is a sequel set 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park. Pay no attention to entries 2 and 3. They’re irrelevant. The dream of a dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar, initially conceived by John Hammond, is now a reality. In fact it has been in operation and running smoothly for a couple decades. It’s an amusement park like no other. Jurassic World boasts a plethora of attractions seemingly based on the Disneyland template. Get up close and personal at the Gentle Giants petting zoo. View the flora and fauna by rolling around in a glass encased Gyrosphere or kayaking on the Cretaceous Cruise. Or just sit back, relax and watch a Mosasauraus feeding show in an outdoor arena. Careful, you may get wet.

Much of the visual awe lies in the beautifully crafted details of a dinosaur theme park that looks like a physical creation that could actually exist. We’re told that it has been a success for years. However Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the operations manager, laments that attendance has grown stagnant. Velociraptors have become old hat and the attraction needs to rely on some innovation to spark interest, Chief bioengineer, Dr. Henry Wu (B. D. Wong) has abnormally engineered dinosaur DNA with modern animals to breed a completely new creature. Indominus Rex is impressively large but he reasons in such an intelligent way that it begs laughter. But hey, that’s part of the fun.

Jurassic World delivers on the promise of an exhilarating movie. It’s more thrill ride than complex drama though. The beasts dazzle. The humans? Not so much. The human drama is fabricated upon a frosty operations manager (Bryce Dallas Howard) whose raison d’être is to increase the popularity of the attraction. Naturally she has no time for her two nephews that come to visit the park. Granted Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) are pretty irritating. The first is a sullen drag and the other spouts facts every 5 minutes. Just call them”gloomy” and “gabby”. I suppose the narrative wouldn’t have been the same without those annoying kids. Check the franchise. It’s a tradition. Vincent D’Onofrio is a heel out of the Generic Villains 101 handbook. As head of security operations, he wants to utilize the Raptors as weapons for military purposes. We’re obviously supposed to hate him. Nevertheless I found myself reacting against the script’s obvious manipulation to the point where his idea started to make sense. Chris Pratt as a Velociraptor expert and trainer is the movie’s MVP. Despite his top billing, he doesn’t appear until 20 minutes in. He’s only onscreen for a short period and then doesn’t reappear until the second hour. But when he does, he captivates our attention and exudes the charm of a movie star.  However, his romance with Claire is the very definition of contrived.

The visual splendor of Jurassic World presents all the whiz-bang biological appeal of dinosaurs run amok. It highlights creative set pieces that champion the excitement of a dinosaur disaster story. This is easily the best entry since the first. The narrative frequently references Jurassic Park to tell a tale that is slavishly devoted to the blueprint of the original. Critics might deem it uncreative. Fans would call it nostalgia. I side more with the latter. You came to see animals gone wild and that’s exactly what you’ll get. There’s a showdown of a final fight that includes an aggregation of dinosaurs. The climax pays off perfectly.  The park is manifested as a stunning reality that hearkens back to the wonder of the first film. Although I can’t say the technology has really taken a significant leap. Some CGI bits were spectacular while others had Pratt riding his motorcycle alongside a gang of raptors. There are a lot of tedious scenes involving humans. Claire, who spends the entire movie running in high heels, has her predictable moment where she saves the day. It’s more eye-rolling than applause-worthy. But if you go to a dinosaur movie for “Shakespearean” characterization” then you’ve missed the point. With that said, I will offer that I truly enjoyed an exchange between actors Lauren Lapkus and Jake Johnson at the end. Wait for it. It’s the funniest moment in the entire film…at least intentionally.


12 Responses to “Jurassic World”

  1. Not seen this one yet – but I will. So I will go in a different direction which is to praise the review. Good work sir.


  2. Nice piece. Excited for this. Might see it tonight. Hoping it captures some of the magic of the first.


  3. I really enjoyed this a lot. I was so excited to see this and it delivered exactly what I wanted. Fun! This is good enough to be a huge summer hit. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. 4 stars.


  4. Great review, this film certainly delivered as a summer blockbuster and perhaps a bit more. Far, far better than JPIII.


    • I didn’t like Jurassic Park III either. I remember it as a flop, but if you adjust that 2001 movie for inflation, it did $260 million! Pretty successful, although Jurassic World will be much much bigger.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree that Jurassic World is more thrill ride than complex drama, but I didn’t find it all that thrilling until the climactic dinosaur fight. For large parts of the movie, it seemed like it was in a rush to tell the story, not allowing much breathing time to absorb the story and become acquainted with the characters. “Gloomy” and “gabby” are great nicknames for the nephews. I found their characters annoying and felt like the older one was mean to his brother for no good reason. Pratt is charming like you say, but I felt like his character was too perfect. The guy has zero flaws. Like you, I also side with the latter, that the movie is more nostalgic than uncreative. The effects are certainly uneven, although I agree if you’re looking for “Skakespearean” characterization, this is the wrong movie for you.


    • I’m still amazed with how much money this movie made. It’s kind of ridiculous.


      • Mark Hobin: Jurassic World set historic boxoffice records on its opening weekend of June 12th taking in an astounding $500 million in a single weekend,and surpassing that number the week of the Independence Day holiday. And to think that this isn’t over? There is another prequel coming in 2017.


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