Jurassic World reinvigorates beloved franchise
Treat Jurassic World like a 1980s horror movie and it’s going to prove far more tolerable and enjoyable. That way you’re less likely to concern yourself with random inconsistencies, questionable character decisions, underdeveloped characters and wonder how Bryce Dallas Howard’s character can outrun a dinosaur in high heels.
Jurassic World isn’t a terrible movie experience by any means. It’s just one where the filmmakers are content to stay in their lane and stick to the established guidelines of the previous entries in the dinosaur disaster franchise.
They’re certainly not interested in bringing anything new to the series. In essence, Jurassic World is yet another trip to Camp Crystal Lake with everything you expect dutifully checked off. Come for the crazy dinosaur action, don’t look for much else and you’ll be satisfied.
Every post-Jurassic Park film struggles with the one major question the filmmakers fail to answer — why anyone would trust amusement park officials to keep them safe on an island filled with dinosaurs?
Siblings Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins, Insidious: Chapter 2) are visiting their aunt Claire (Howard), who is overseeing efforts to re-engage audiences with new attractions — hybrid dinosaurs — at Jurassic World. Ironically, Jurassic World features more eye-catching and stunning visuals than anything in Tomorrowland. Of course, having dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes doesn’t hurt the wow factors. Twenty-two years since the first film, the CGI work on the dinosaurs looks even more impressive.
Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) plays Owen, a dino-whisperer who along with his fellow trainer, Barry (Omar Sy), have developed a bond with a quartet of Velociraptors. Owen’s limited control of the dinos is one of the film’s highlights – there’s a reason why it’s featured so prominently on the movie posters. Vincent D’Onofrio gets the short straw and has to play the slightly shady/underhanded character that sees the dinosaurs as a means for a big payday.
Per the norm, something goes terribly wrong with the latest and greatest Build-a-Dino, who takes advantage of its advanced capabilities to break out of its cage and wreck havoc on the park. And of course Zach and Gray don’t get back in time prompting Owen and Claire to stage a two-person rescue mission leading to numerous encounters with the inhabitants of dinosaur world.
Since Hollywood is always trying to remake popular old school movies from the 80s, a studio exec could do a lot worse than pairing Pratt and Howard in an updated version of Romancing the Stone.
Their scenes are easily the film’s best character interactions — not a high hurdle, mind you, but the movie would have been just fine if they were the only main characters. The trailers suggest Pratt is just playing Star-Lord in a dinosaur park, but to his credit, Pratt makes Owen a very different/more traditional hero character.
There’s some jarringly awkward attempts at humor that don’t fit the otherwise serious tone. Those moments, which frequently feature Jake Johnson’s quirky computer tech whiz, feel like they belong in a different movie.
Script predictability and inconsistencies are to be expected though since Director Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly revised Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s script. Maybe all the intricate character development got erased after the first draft?
While his script changes did little to make the story captivating, Trevorrow (‘Safety Not Guranteed’) delivers big time when the dinosaurs are let loose. You probably don’t care all that much about the characters coming in to the film so the dino-action being on point is likely far more important to fans. The trailers didn’t do the film many favors as a lot of the highlights are teased or outright spoiled. The 3D effects were too soft to recommend paying the extra price. This is a solid 2D investment.
Based solely on the action, the film is a lot of fun and enough to make you gloss over the numerous issues. There are some tense moments and Trevorrow shows welcome restraint in limiting the gore although some younger viewers will likely still be unnerved by the action.
Jurassic World isn’t going to end up on many Top 10 lists for the year, but it’s a standard fun, check your brain at the door kind of summer blockbuster.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Picture credit: Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment