Spoilers of Indominus rex proportions ahead. You’ve been warned. Recommended listening during reading:
Put all the great parts of the Jurassic Park series into a pot, add some of John Williams’ iconic theme song, sprinkle in some of the disregard for character development that the series is known for and you get Jurassic World.
This is hardly a bad thing given that Jurassic Park has become an epochal part of pop culture. In fact, director Colin Trevorrow does an admirable job in his second feature film (after indie hit Safety Not Guaranteed) , reintroducing the franchise to a new generation while finding just the right combination between new and nostalgia to make the film flow smoothly.
The basic plot of World follows its predecessors closely. Dinosaurs get unleashed. Dinosaurs attack main characters. Characters try to survive. Along the way, the plot is pushed forward by a series of convenient events and general stupidity from the characters (more on that in stray observations). This is nothing new for the majority of action films however, World saves itself through the quality of its action sequences, encapsulating what every viewer imagined when they smashed two toy dinosaurs together pretending they were fighting to the death. This dynamic is most notable in the film’s climatic battle that I swear they stole from my childhood imagination (who am I kidding…even as an adult the final battle is awesome). The effectiveness of these action scenes may be aided by the fact that it has been 14 years since we returned to Isla Nublar and as a result it feels fresh but nevertheless World succeeds in this regard.
Areas between action scenes are a struggle though. Despite efforts from Chris Pratt (Owen) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire) the script just didn’t have enough to bring any sort of depth to the characters (because even though their names are on the poster we know the main stars are the dinosaurs). Two prominent examples come to light, the first, a scene where Gray (the younger of the two child actors portrayed by Ty Simpkins) breaks into tears after informing his older brother Zach (Nick Robinson) that their parents are getting a divorce. This exchange is supposed to unite the brothers but is seemingly done randomly and is never mentioned again rendering it ineffective. The second scene that is cringe worthy occurs in the World’s final scene wherein Owen uses a cheesy pickup line when asked, “What’s Next?” by Claire. I suppose this could be viewed as clever but it feels forced and lazy as if the four screenwriters didn’t know how to end the film so it settled on the cheesiest line. Bad writing and poor character development have been staples of the Jurassic Park franchise and this should be expected by now but that does not excuse it.
Perhaps Trevorrow’s greatest asset in his direction of Jurassic World is his willingness to take what worked in the previous installments and incorporate them into this reboot of the franchise. World is littered with nods to the original films ranging from the subtle (night vision goggles from the original or the raptors picking off the hunters in the grass from Lost World) to the more extreme (a near shot for shot remake of the memorable hiding from the T Rex under the car scene (this time covering his scent with gasoline-nice touch)). These work because they are not overwhelming for newcomers to the series while feeding the nostalgic and there is just enough variety in the action scenes to keep it fresh.
Aesthetically, Jurassic World feels like a step forward for the franchise (no surprise given the advancement of technology). By in large the dinosaurs look better and are now capable of doing more than they did previously. I did feel that the design of the Indominus rex was a little bland for my taste making it hard to differentiate between him and the other dinosaurs especially in action scenes (particularly in the final battle) but other than that the effects were done well (even though they weren’t groundbreaking like the original film’s special effects were)
Jurassic World is not particularly ambitious choosing to operate in the safe zone of the tried and true but it does enough to be the best installment since the original. The action sequences are on point, the dinosaurs look great (for the most part) and the iconic soundtrack still resonates with the audience. After 14 years (22 if we’re being honest) away it’s nice to walk among the dinosaurs again.
- What kind of a theme park has no override allowing the capsule pods (the hamster balls) to automatically return in case of emergency
- Also, Why is there no automatic stop once the pods enter a restricted area?
- Shout out to Claire for running in heels the entire movie, I imagine that takes tremendous athletic ability
- Secondary shout out to Claire’s white suit and hair which somehow did not get dirty or fray for much of the runtime
- Unlike the movie, this review is not sponsored by Samsung, Mercedes Benz, Beats by Dre or Coke (Email me though I’m sure we can work something out)
- Joke in movie about product placement does not excuse product placement in said movie
- I don’t care how much money the dinosaur costs…you’re going to try and subdue a genetically modified super DINOSAUR with a net and some tasers? Good luck with that
- The amount of times the characters are able to outrun a dinosaur is stupid
- Super convenient that the shark dinosaur just happened to jump into the battle at exactly the right time, attacking exactly the right dinosaur
- Jump into a pool of water and come up completely dry. Yep that makes sense
- Light matches that should be wet from aforementioned dip in water? Why not?
- High school kid stares at every girl in the park. You’re a teenager so hormones… but you have a girlfriend at home…show some class man
- The “I have a boyfriend scene” during Jake Johnson’s final stand is by far the best non action scene in the film
- Pterodactyls are attacking but let’s makeout in the middle of it. Why? Because the power of boners is stronger than dinosaurs…Duh…
- I understand the need to start fresh but no cameos from original stars (Neill, Dern and Goldblum) = disappointing
- Despite 4 instances of deadly dinosaur attacks the government still allows the creation of these parks