Movie Review: ‘Jurassic World’
Forty years ago, Steven Spielberg and Universal Studios helped create the term “summer blockbuster” with the release of Jaws. This summer he is the executive producer of this summer’s blockbuster, Jurassic World, also produced by Universal. The third sequel in the Jurassic Park franchise, is everything you want and hope for in a summer flick: non-stop action, comedy relief and a few scares too.
It’s been fourteen years since we’ve last visited the Isla Nublar and much has changed. Despite the tragic events of the original Jurassic Park, the island now features a bigger and better dinosaur theme park as if nothing bad had ever happened. Sparing no expense, like the park’s original owner, Jurassic World needs to create new attractions every two to three years to keep visitors interested in dinosaurs. You would think that the fascination would never die, but as one scene shows a dinosaur petting zoo, a teenager says, “this area is for little kids.” And so, in order to fulfill a corporate obligation, a new hybrid dinosaur has been created, but this being Jurassic World, something is bound to go wrong. Big time.
The sequel has all the elements we liked from the first film – curious children, greedy and ego-driven adults, a few voices of reasons, a little romance and lots of scary monsters. Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) is the only character that reprises his role from the original film, (and even so, he is only in a few minutes of screen time), so we are introduced into a bunch of new characters. Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) are brothers sent to visit their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who runs the park while their parents meet with lawyers to finalize their divorce. Gray is the younger, more sensitive sibling with a huge love for dinosaurs while Zach is the older teen “get-out-of-my-face” brother. As you can expect, Claire is too busy to actually spend time with the boys and pawns them off to her assistant Zara (Katie McGrath) instead. Meanwhile, Chris Pratt plays Owen who is a specialist(?), trainer(?)…some sort of dinosaur expert who understands the creatures better than anyone else in the park. Claire asks that Owen come meet with Masrani (Irrfan Khan) about his concerns with the new beast about to go on display. Do you really need me to say that the boys get separated from the adults, that the new dino escapes and that smug intellectual business people will soon be humbled? Didn’t think so.
Jurassic World is written and directed by Colin Trevorrow, who have done both Michael Crichton and Spielberg proud by keeping his story in sync with their’s. It is a wild ride that matches the tone of the original featuring many references to the first films, including props, locations and even a few lines from the park’s visionary, John Hammond. It’s not a re-hash of the first film, though it proves that man hasn’t learned his lesson that he can’t play God and so the same consequences occur.
This film offers some special screen time for dinosaurs only briefly featured in the other films. The best are the terradactyls which make Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds look like pigeons in the park. Some will be surprised by Chris Pratt’s contribution in that he isn’t goofy. He’s an intelligent hero who’s not afraid of getting his hands dirty. He comes with just enough sarcasm but is not too full of himself. His character is contrasted with the prim and proper businesswoman, Claire who is always professional and never has a hair out of place. She too is a breath of fresh air in cliched characters in that even though she is all business, she clearly has a heart. The two have a great chemistry together without being too predictable.
As good as this film is and the fact that the film is inspired by the books by Michael Crichton, don’t expect it to be too highbrow. Though the film is PG-13, the strong language is kept to a minimum and most of the violence and blood happen briefly or off screen, still, it will be too intense for little ones no matter how much they bug you to see the film.