Jurassic World is the long awaited new chapter in the Jurassic Park franchise. After the much-loved dinosaur franchise was nearly forced into extinction by the poor Jurassic Park III in 2001, Jurassic World is a film that faced many years in development hell and, quite frankly, became a film that I never thought we would see.
Jurassic World is here though and it is big, thrilling and most importantly, fun. Pretty much everything you would want a summer blockbuster to be.
Twenty-two years on from the incident at Jurassic Park in the first film, Jurassic World is now a fully operational dinosaur theme-park that sees thousands of visitors every day. The park has been open for ten years without incident but customer satisfaction is starting to wane.
The answer; create a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur using the DNA of a number of different species, the identity of which I don’t want to go into as it leads to a few surprises. It isn’t long before this new attraction, named the Idominus Rex, breaks loose and sets about killing everything in its path.
Velociraptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) and operations manager of the park, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), whose nephews Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) end up in the restricted areas of the park, face a race against time to stop the Idominius Rex from a feeding frenzy on the thousands of visitors stranded in the park.
Jurassic World is easily the most interesting sequel to Jurassic Park as it is the first to play with the idea of a fully functional park that sees John Hammond’s dream brought to life. The running and screaming comes in the second half of the film but for the first half, we are shown the park in all its glory and the variety of new dinosaurs on show, including the monstrous Mosasaurus.
Where Jurassic Park was about humans interfering with nature to provide entertainment, Jurassic World is about humans interfering further with nature for the sake of profits, as customers have become dissatisfied with the attractions. It is interesting to go back to the same themes that featured so heavily in the first film however, it is a little disappointing that these themes see very little development in Jurassic World.
The dinosaurs are the heart and soul of this franchise and director Colin Trevorrow does a grand job in making that the case once again, particularly with the Idominus Rex and Velociraptors.
The Idominus Rex is a great addition to the roster of dinosaurs. It’s big, clever and as quoted by one of the film’s characters, may be enough to give the adults nightmares too. Don’t worry though guys, the T-Rex does get its moment to shine, unlike in Jurassic Park III.
The Velociraptors are the fan favourites of the franchise and if I’m honest, I was a little worried about how they would be handled in Jurassic World as all the trailers pointed at them as being tamed by Chris Pratt’s Owen. I am glad to say that the whole situation with the Velociraptors following orders is handled very well indeed and, as much as it can do, makes sense.
Colin Trevorrow proves that he is capable of handling a big budget summer blockbuster after having only directed the independent film Safety Not Guaranteed. With the help of great visual effects and pulsating action sequences, including an exhilarating finale that will seriously please fans of the franchise, Trevorrow gives us a welcome reminder that we don’t have to rely on superheroes or fast cars to wow an audience and that the fun summer blockbuster isn’t going anywhere soon.
Where the dinosaurs are impressive, the human characters leave a lot to be desired. They are all pretty one dimensional bar Owen and Claire, who seems to be the only character who goes through any sort of development. Other than that, the film is scattered with forgettable characters such as Vincent D’Onofrio’s villainous Hoskins, who wants to use the Velociraptors as weapons, and Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani, the owner of the park, who just comes across as an irritating charicature of a rich businessman.
Chris Pratt proves that Guardians of the Galaxy was no fluke and that he is Hollywood’s new leading man. His relationship with the Velociraptors is one of the film’s most interesting aspects and Pratt’s concern with what Hoskins wants to do makes him one of the only characters you end up caring about. There is no goofy behaviour or dance-off with a dinosaur in sight.
Bryce Dallas Howard avoids the Tea Leoni approach and goes more down the path of Laura Dern or Julianne Moore to make Claire a character who has more to do then just run away and scream.
I was a bit worried about the two child actors; Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson, and the arc their characters would follow. The pair deliver good performances but the only problem I had with their involvement was the needless subplot revolving around the divorce of their parents. It was obviously included as a way to bring them together but surely trying to escape a bloodthirsty dinosaur would be enough to do that. It was only mentioned once but it is a scene that could and probably should have been cut from the final film.
The film is scored by Michael Giacchino and he does a brilliant job including some extracts of John Williams’ iconic original score throughout. He gives Jurassic World a score with its own identity and it plays a major part in making the film such a thrilling ride. Using music, Giacchino certainly knows how to make a scene feel that little bit more tense or exciting.
There are callbacks to Jurassic Park scattered here and there but the film was missing the usage of animatronics and relies a little too much on CGI. There were moments where animatronics should have been used but instead they chose to use CGI, and it’s pretty blatant.
With that aside, Jurassic World is a return to form for the franchise and will definitely be one the most entertaining experiences inside a cinema for me this year.