22 years ago, Steven Spielberg transformed Michael Crichton’s book into a blockbuster of epic proportions and created one of the most timeless films in his career by bringing “Jurassic Park” to life on the big screen. It was a game changer of a film and despite the sufferable sequels “Lost World” and “Jurassic Park III” crippling the film’s quality record; its popularity is still high as it was 22 years ago. So when still-up-and-coming director Colin Trevorrow took it upon himself to give the original “Jurassic Park” a proper sequel with “Jurassic World”; expectations and concerns were both at an all-time high with audiences. Did Colin salvage the series or doom it to extinction once again? You’re about to find out.
John Hammond’s vision for a functioning dinosaur theme park is finally realized in “Jurassic World”, its open for business and its success is at an all-time high thanks to the managing performance of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her staff. However, attendance spikes with each new attraction and the company decides to engineer a new dinosaur: the Indominus Rex. Despite the warning from Gary Owen (Chris Pratt) about the dangers of this new DNA spliced creature, Claire continues to support the creature’s survival…until it escapes. Now dinosaurs are running amok on the island and with 20 thousand people trapped along with the park staff, humanity once again struggles to survive their dinosaur attractions.
One of the most important things that were missing from the previous Jurassic sequels was the connection to the feel and spirit of the first film, even with the same actors and director, they never felt like they had any real purpose or point other than to milk their T-Rex cash cow to death. “Jurassic World” accomplishes what I was hoping it would accomplish: create its own story and characters while at the same time, keeping faith and respect towards the original film’s spirit and essence. This film has so many nods to the original film and maintains the message that it started 22 years ago; without making it seem too much like a rehashing of the same material. “Jurassic World” is its own animal much like the Indominus Rex, but also like the Frankensaurus Rex; it has traits and elements of its roots displayed effectively well.
We get a grand view of how the park functions as a real live park, getting a beautiful scope of what everything was supposed to look like in Hammond’s dream. The results are simultaneously awe inspiring predictable to an extent, that’s not a flaw though as one can almost imagine this being park actually existing in our world. Our two leads are Pratt and Howard and after years of Goldbloom and Neil at the helm, these two are a welcomed and most amusingly wonderful pair of leads. Pratt’s signature charm and smart ass attitude remind us why he’s hot in Hollywood these days, he says what were all thinking but he says it with a smirk and a relatable attitude that is easier to connect with than say a paleontologist. Howard’s character may seem cliché but she plays it flawlessly and I was greatly pleased to see the dedication she put towards this role.
We get new takes on the Raptors, a nice homage to the T-rex and of course; plenty of fright filled footage of the Indominus Rex; chomping and clawing her way to the top of the food chain. If there is one complaint that can be lobbed against this movie, it’s the sadly evident absence of Stan Winston’s animatronic dinosaurs. Every dinosaur here is CGI, unlike the first film where animatronic effects were used for every scene except for more complicated physical scenes. It’s no shock computers brought these dinosaurs to life, but it’s a hollow life when compared to the life like practical effects of the first film.
Overall though, “Jurassic World” accomplished many feats that even Spielberg couldn’t achieve in “Lost World” and he started this franchise. The cast is small but well presented, the tension is high and intense, there are first film nods aplenty and the finale gives you a monster dinosaur mash event that even the most skeptical of critics can admit taking pleasure in.