If there’s one word that I associate with Jurassic World, it’s “big,” written in flaming letters that are ten feet tall and adorned with blinking lights. Big budget, big stars, big ambition, big hype, and some truly big dinosaurs. The original Jurassic Park changed the world of animatronics and CGI when it was first released in 1993. After two disappointing sequels, Jurassic World was Universal Studios’ attempt to bring back the magic and terror of the original. Universal “spared no expense” with its’ ridiculous $150 million budget, which included high profile actors like Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and daughter of Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help).
Taking place twenty-two years after the original Jurassic Park, and on the same island, a park called “Jurassic World” has been built in which visitors can see and even interact with dinosaurs, cloned from DNA found in the blood of mosquitos encased in amber. In the hopes of attracting more guests, scientists in Jurassic World decided to build their own dinosaur, making something that’d terrify visitors, and wound up with a monster called the “Indominus Rex.” When this beast breaks free, it jeopardizes the lives of every guest and dinosaur in the park, setting other creatures free and wreaking havoc.
Raptor trainer and all-around cool dude Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) has to take down the Indominus Rex, while the park’s operations director, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dalls Howard) has to rescue two nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), before they’re turned into dinosaur chow.
Though not completely original, the general plot pitch is not Jurassic World’s greatest weakness. The film’s fatal flaw is its uncertain identity: it can’t decide whether it wants to be a monster movie, or a disaster flick. The original Jurassic Park was a full-on disaster movie. The dinosaurs weren’t evil, they were just acting on the natural need to hunt, feed, and survive, leading to all kinds of bedlam. The poor folks who were munched on weren’t killed by some kind of monster, it was just an act of nature.
The movie has its moments of boredom, but is quickly sped up with dinosaur fights or comical jokes, which sometimes (okay…maybe often) fall flat. Unlike the original, there was no frightening, jump out of your seat moment. Chris Pratt’s role is very different from that in Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt doesn’t have quite as many one-liners because he plays a more serious role in this movie.
There are instances in which you hope Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Claire, gets torn apart by the Indominus Rex. Claire can be slightly annoying at times throughout the movie, but the focus quickly shifts to her two nephews, Zach and Gray. Claire’s nephews compare nicely to Hammond’s grandchildren from the original by drawing laughs and smiles as they visit the park. I would give the casting a 4/5 due to the great chemistry seen with Chris Pratt as the lead.
If you are a die-hard Jurassic Park fan, you will fall in love with the franchise all over again. Jurassic World, directed by Colin Trevorrow, brought the feel of the original back, which The Lost World and Jurassic Park III lacked. This movie follows the same script as the original, while setting itself apart as one of the best in the franchise. Jurassic World hooks viewers by including iconic scenes from the original, but updating them for 2015. Lovers of the original will want to jump out of their seats when they hear the iconic John Williams score while overlooking the completed park. You should definitely re-watch the original before seeing Jurassic World because Trevorrow throws in some great Easter eggs that will excite all fans. It is electrifying to see the kids walk into the old visitor center from Jurassic Park as well as a blink and you’ll miss an appearance by Mr. DNA.
Dinosaurs of all types make appearances from the first scene to the last. Even baby triceratopses make an appearance in an adorable petting zoo scene. The dinosaur action is ramped up throughout this film, including many dinosaur on dinosaur fight scenes. The arrival of the Indominus Rex comes early on in the film, but is still terrifying in every scene that follows. Jurassic World’s fight scenes triumph over the original’s with the help of outstanding visual effects.
Overall, The movie’s arbitrary plot devices and generally weak writing make it feel like more of an amusement park ride than an epic story. The impressive sound design and effects offer plenty of entertainment, but don’t expect Jurassic World to change your life. It’s a fun ride, especially on the big screen, but the film’s flaws make it doubtful that it’ll stick with anyone after they walk out of the theater.
*Featured Image from PlayBuzz.com; videos from Universial Pictures