ReviewAway: Jurassic World
What would have happened if Jurassic Park had actually opened? This is the question that Director Colin Trevorrow tries to answer in Jurassic World, the latest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise. Set 22 years after the original Isla Nublar incident chronicled in the first film, Jurassic World is now a fully functional theme park/dinosaur zoo that’s been operating seemingly without incident since it first opened. Despite appearing to be a resounding success, the management decide that dinosaurs just aren’t interesting enough anymore, so they combine the DNA from various dinosaurs in order to create a new, more dangerous and exciting one in order to bring the crowds back. This is just the first in a series of increasingly stupid and nonsensical decisions that will honestly make you wonder how it is that the place managed to open at all. But, while watching Jurassic World, you’ll have fun doing it.
The film stars Chris Pratt as ex-navy guy Owen Grady, who is now training Velociraptors for InGen and trying to dress like Han Solo at work. While Grady is busy trying to teach the raptors to play nice, Claire Dearing, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is busy trying to manage the unveiling of the new “Indominus Rex” (Latin for “Untameable King”) whilst trying to keep an eye on her two nephews, Zach and Gray, played by Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins respectively, who are enjoying their first day in Jurassic World. The cast is well rounded and deliver some great performances, with Pratt being the definite standout as he nails both the seriousness of Sam Neill and the self referential comedy of Jeff Goldblum from the first film. The actors do a fantastic job of acting with the Computer Generated Dinosaurs, which don’t look as impressive as their counterparts from the first film, but still look realistic enough to be completely believable. The Indominus Rex is particularly problematic, as it’s revealed with little buildup and doesn’t look anywhere near as threatening as it’s been described, but it still remains a serviceable monster with some interesting traits.
However, as the aforementioned stupid decisions are continuously made, Jurassic World reveals that it’s real problem isn’t security, it’s the script. Sure, it does a good job of demonstrating the severity of the situation, and has enough nods to the previous films to keep the long term fans smirking, but there’s just too many inconsistencies to overlook. Odd character motivations and consistently moronic decisions take a lot of the weight and importance off of the film, as it’s difficult for the audience to identify with characters who make decisions that the audience wouldn’t, which makes it difficult to care when the characters are in life threatening situations. Even the the source of the mayhem is nonsensical, as Bryce Dallas Howard’s park manager Claire Dearing claims the park needs the new super dinosaur in order to increase attendance, saying that people aren’t interested in dinosaurs anymore. Yet, throughout the film, all you can see is a park packed with people enthralled by the dinosaurs, making the reason for the new dinosaurs existence completely pointless.
The other big blunder the film makes is it’s lack of awe. The first Jurassic Park had those beautiful constructed wide shots that really demonstrated the magnificence of the subject, in this case the dinosaurs. Jurassic World seems like it can’t hold still for long enough to give us anything to be impressed about. Tonally, the film’s all over the place, with strange shifts from slow, dialogue filled shots to action sequences to comedy breaks often within the same scene. There’s very little anticipation that’s developed due to the bombastic nature of the film, and turns what could have been a worthy successor to the original into what is essentially an above average summer movie with some memorable lines and interesting action that ultimately fails to recreate the wondrous and thrilling nature of the first Park.
Verdict: Jurassic World may be bigger and badder, but it’s certainly not better. Definitely worth a watch, but don’t expect the series to come back from extinction.