MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Jurassic World’

Written by J.T. Johnson

4-stars

DIRECTOR: Colin Trevorrow
CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Schwartzman
WRITERS: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
MUSIC: Michael Giacchino

Before I walked into the theater to watch the fourth entry in the “Jurassic Park” franchise, I found myself getting pretty excited. Of course, this was not because of “Jurassic World” per se. Instead, it was nostalgia. I was suddenly transported back to 1993 and at the impressionable age of eight, I watched “Jurassic Park” for the first time with my dad. The last time I watched it was in 2013 when it was rereleased in theaters to celebrate the film’s 20th Anniversary and it was still glorious.

So, the first thing I can say is that “World” does not quite match the level of the original. Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can say that the latest movie in the franchise does remind us of why we loved the original in the first place. “World” holds its own as a hair raising adventure that climbs to an epic conclusion.

In the latest movie, a new park has been built on top of the ruins of the original that was destroyed 22 years ago. That’s right! No more of this Site B nonsense from “The Lost World” and “Jurassic Park III”. Jurassic World is a fully functional park that has been open for years. However, the park is suffering due to a lack of interest by the general public and something must be done to attract them back to the park.

Therefore, the Masrani Corporation authorized Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong, returning from the original film) to engineer a new and original attraction. In particular, he created a genetically modified dinosaur known as Indominus Rex, built with the scariest traits of almost all the other carnivores on the park. Everyone including park’s operation manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) thinks that this will bring in new visitors.

However, in a twist away from the usual “power hungry CEO” cliché, owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) himself has issues with the new creature. He wants the local Raptor trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), to take a look for himself. When Owen arrives, however, the park’s deadliest new attraction escapes and puts the whole park in danger.

But before that happens, the movie gets to show off something unique in this entry over the other three films: a fully functional park open to the public. It’s a slow build for the action and it was a relief that the filmmakers took sufficient amount of time to show us what John Hammond’s ultimate vision was in the first place. We get to see the Mosasaurus take out a whole Great White Shark, an obvious nod to Executive Producer Steven Spielberg’s first film “Jaws”. Then there are other attractions such as Gyrospheres transporting visitors across vast landscapes to see some of the friendlier herbivores.

While this was a treat, eventually everything has to go south and it does in a big way. Like Hammond’s grandchildren in the first film, Claire has her two nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), at the park when things go wacky. Claire enlists Owen’s help to find them when they get lost and the chase is on. Meanwhile, InGen has apparently become a private security force and their leader, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), wants to use the trained Raptors and the extremely intelligent Indominous Rex for military purposes.

That leads to another thing the film gets right. In the real world, of course there would be those in the military that would try to find a way to weaponize the dangerous dinos.

Also, while at the park, you see product placement all over the place. Unlike other movies, this is a good thing because the movie uses the placements to make a comment on how corporations take over real-life parks and plaster their names all over the buildings. This, of course, takes away from some of the allure of the park.

If this park were to really exist and sales were on the decline, then of course we would be dumb enough to genetically engineer something potentially worse to bring people back. Like the first movie’s message of whether or not we should tamper with the laws of nature, “World” has its own messages that are relevant to today’s world.

The movie is not entirely perfect so let us get those notes out of the way. Beyond falling short of reaching the original’s impact (again, something that was never going to happen anyway), it also has some pretty cheesy moments. The worst aspect of this is the film’s dialogue. It is rather stilted with your standard “Oh, my God” moments and it really could have been polished. Also, while I definitely did not mind the slow buildup of the movie, some may be sitting in the audience wanting the action to come a little faster. Trust me, by the time the action does hit, it doesn’t stop.

Both the effects and the action, in short, are just incredible. I don’t want to go into any real details for spoiler reasons, but I can give a couple of quick comments including that the dinosaurs look fantastic. Also, the leading stars, Pratt and Howard, are excellent as the main protagonists while Robinson and Simpkins are also on point as two brothers who must rely on each other for survival for a brief part of the movie.

Director Colin Trevorrow managed to successfully capture the essence of Spielberg’s original classic. The film’s ending sequence alone was completely worth the price of admission. It’s simply a blast!

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