Hope you are all well this fine and sunny Saturday evening.
So, I’m kind of a little late to the party with this review, seeing as Jurassic World has been out on release in the U.K for almost two weeks now. I had planned to get into seeing the film on release weekend, but you know how it goes with best laid plans, right? Anyway, this is film I was somewhat looking forward too. I, like many people have fond memories of my first viewing of the original Jurassic Park. It delivered an exciting adventure for all the family as well as showcasing director Steven Spielberg mastery of suspense and spectacle and not to mention completely changing the game for what was possible with visual effects. George Lucas once said that if was after seeing Jurassic Park that he felt technology had came far enough for him to begin work on the Star Wars prequel trilogy. I’m not sure if that is a good or a bad thing, so I’ll leave that for you to decide!
Jurassic World takes place roughly 20 years after the events of the original film. The action returns to Isla Nebula, where a new dinosaur theme park has been opened and in operation for the last 10 years. The parks operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is acutely aware that in order for the park to stay profitable and relevant, it must provide bigger and better attractions. With this in mind, the scientists at the park have successfully created a monstrous, hybrid dinosaur which they have name Indominus Rex. The new dinosaur is planned to be a major attraction for the park, so much so that Claire is actively seeking sponsorship from corporations when her nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Grey (Ty Simpkins) arrive for a visit. As Grey enthuses about the parks various attractions and Zach busies him self wordlessly pining after the various teenage girls also visiting, Claire receives a visit from the parks owner Simon Masrani (Irfan Khan). Together they inspect the new enclosure for Indominus Rex and Masrani expresses his misgivings about the conditions in which it is being kept. Claire is then forced to bring in Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a former naval officer who is currently training 4 Velociraptors for research purposes. When Owen arrives, he and the other park employees then get a 1st hand view of exactly what Indominus Rex is capable of, and soon chaos reigns, as Claire, Owen, the park employees and a group of shady military contractors all scramble to survive as a series of catastrophic events triggered by the genetically altered dinosaur spread fear and danger to every corner of the park..
Director Colin Trevorrow is no Spielberg, but then who is? Trying to match up to the excitement of the original was always going to be a difficult task as the two somewhat lacklustre Jurassic Park sequels to attest too. What Trevorrow does handle very well here are the action scenes. The whole 3rd act of the film is a very fun chase sequence featuring the humans and a whole lot of dinosaur action. One outstanding scene for me was when the Zach and Grey stumble across Indominus Rex stalking another group and dinosaurs and the tension throughout the scene is palpable, even if it does somewhat borrow from the original. Another great sequence is one glimpsed in the trailer, where Owen leads his Velociraptors and a group of soldiers off in pursuit of Indominus. It’s fantastically well shot, putting you right into the middle of the chase. The dinosaurs themselves are the real stars of the movie, as they should be in something like Jurassic World. Velociraptors all have names and also seem to have the slightest semblance of personalities, which makes them one of the key attractions. Where the film fell down a little for me was with it’s human characters. I’ve always had trouble appreciating Bryce Dallas Howard, and here I didn’t find my opinion of her differing. The script doesn’t really give her much ‘meat to chew on’ so to speak, so she largely comes across as a ‘waspish’ and somewhat helpless to all that’s going on around her. This of course, could have been the intentions of the screenwriters, but for me, it just all felt a little too cliché for comfort. Chris Pratt is okay as the hero of the piece, but he he seems to have very little to do bar rescuing this person or that. His relationship with the Velociraptors is believable but apart from the occasional quip, it felt as if any competent lead actor could have done what he did. There are roles for Omar Sy and Vincent D’Onofrio but both feel like they have been wasted in a film that could have served them better. B.D Wong returns as Dr Henry Wu, the man behind making the dinos happen, but his screen time is also limited, and we learn very little overall about his motivations, bar being the archetypal ‘Mad Scientist’. Irfan Khan, who is a legend in my eyes, at least gets more screen time here then he did in The Amazing Spider-man, but his demise is as predictable as it is for the other cast members. In fact, they may as well had all those actors walk around with Star Trek red shirts on!
The Cinematography is, of course, breathtaking and the visual effects are terrific. This is the blockbuster film I have watched in some time where the 3D effects genuinely added something to the overall experience. There were moments where you actually felt like a part of the unfolding story and it’s a shame that there are so many films that, in my opinion, are spoiled by this technology.
All in all, Jurassic World is a fun, theme-park ride of a movie. It’s the type of film that will certainly entertain you overall, and is a true ‘Saturday Night Popcorn Flick’. Whether the film will leaving you gasping for it’s inevitable sequel will probably be based more on how much you love watching dinosaurs on rampage then anything this film actually set ups for it’s audience.
Final Score: 2.5 out of 5