It has been 22 years since the incident at Isla Nublar, but the earlier devastation is now just a footnote in the logbook of the InGen financiers, for they have forgotten the tumult and the ethical barriers they tore down and commercialized. They now operate a seemingly infallible amusement park with monorails, an aviary, a raptor paddock; you name it, a Jurassic Park think-tank conceived it. Yet, these cutting edge scientists and proprietors have still failed to wrap their brains around the fact that one cannot simply dream up a faultless, quixotic “asset” to brush declining revenues under the carpet without there being repercussions. Like Dr. Malcolm once said long ago, doing so is “a rape of the natural world,” and that “life will not be contained.”
Viewers will be happy that the misstep was taken again, however, for the culmination of their efforts led to Jurassic World, a witty — even comical — and aesthetically massive installment to the renowned movie franchise that’s fallen on hard times.
Aside from the stunning visuals — with the impressive labyrinthine mise-en-scene — and the return of an original character in Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong, “Focus”), Jurassic World introduces a vigorous new lead in Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), who incorporates the savviness of Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) with the game warden qualities of Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) also from the first movie. The film’s writing, while stretched thin at times, is mostly pleasant, and is a noticeable improvement from the “parasailing gone awry” concept from the third movie in 2001. It’s quick, the frames are full — brimming with character, beast, and bullet; and Bryce Dallas Howard (“50/50”) even gets to show off her piercing scream. (I admit, she does a bit more, too, for her performance steadily improves over the course of the two hours).
It begins with Zach (Nick Robinson, “The Kings of Summer”) and Gray Mitchell (Ty Simpkins, “Iron Man 3”) being sent off by their parents to tour the dinosaur amusement park, much to the dismay of Zach who finds the exhibits to be a grade-A bore. On the island, the boys find their Aunt Claire (Howard), a workaholic focused almost exclusively on rejuvenating the park’s revenue, and executing a corporate mandate for something “bigger” and “scarier” with “more teeth.” The park’s answer comes from the research wing led by Dr. Wu (Wong) who cross-breeds a T-Rex with the DNA of a cuttlefish, and of course, a frog (among other animals, living and extinct). The result is a captivating hybrid beast known as: Indominus rex.
I-Rex is also intelligent, deceptive and bloodthirsty, and before its paddock is certified safe by Owen Grady (Pratt) it escapes containment, effectively spelling doom for the other animals and the 20,000+ in attendance at the park (and thrills for movie-goers).
When Claire learns that her nephews are still out in the nifty “hamster balls” after she orders the park into lock down, she, with her one-time beau Owen (who has spent many of his days training and taming the velociraptors), embark into the dinosaur laden abyss to save them. Oh, and as if facing off with a genetically superior predator wasn’t enough of an obstacle, they’ll also have to battle the ego of gruff InGen security expert, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio, “The Judge”), who wants to militarize the velociraptors.
To be fair, Jurassic World does not outshine or subvert the 1993 film, but it sure out maneuvers the last half hour of “The Lost World” and all 93 minutes of “Jurassic Park III.” Its strict compliance to the science behind the park, interspersed with wholly satisfying showdowns in the misty thickets, pays homage to the original in all the right ways, which is surprising since this latest installment offers up an entirely new cast. One scene in particular — in the elemental remains of the original park — will have any Jurassic fan glued to the screen. Further, it’s hard not to notice the motifs that director (and co-writer) Colin Trevorrow so plainly brushes into this film — allusions to Dr. Sattler, John Hammond, the impact terminal scene, etc., are all faithfully displayed.
In the previous sequels, the stakes always seemed to increase (a T-Rex loose in San Diego, really?), but with Jurassic World, some care was taken to ensure the focus of the narrative returned to the dynamic between man and nature. This installment also boasts better chemistry within the cast rivaling the original — Pratt and Howard are good together, the brothers hold their own, and the supporting cast also pumps some life into the film, especially Omar Sy (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”), who plays Barry, a sensible raptor tamer, and Irrfan Khan (“Life of Pi”) who plays the thankless part of new park owner Simon Masrani.
So, Jurassic World has in effect brought the franchise out of the reverie it was stuck in since the original film. Indominus rex might be a bit tacky, but the people that chase it down are fun to watch (as is the chase), and when they do so in a way harmonious to “Jurassic Park,” let’s just say one word can best describe the response: Goosebumps. And for me, it’s been too long since goosebumps and dinosaurs were said in the same sentence.
June 12, 2015 @ 4:29 pm Dastardly
Dinosaurs are so powerful they can overcome the worst screenplay ever written. Seriously. The writing in this is awful.
June 12, 2015 @ 4:37 pm MasterChief
There’s so much stupidity exhibited by everyone involved at the park that I wished the I-rex would kill them all. I liked the movie otherwise!
June 12, 2015 @ 10:02 pm trailmix
I wished those kids would find their fate in the mouth of a raptor and the lady do more than just run around with a blank look on her face..
June 12, 2015 @ 4:44 pm oscillator
The final fight was great but I hate that on your trailer post I was 100% correct on predicting it.
June 14, 2015 @ 12:55 pm General Disdain
Seemed obvious but just to be on the safe side can you send to me the winning powerball numbers?
June 12, 2015 @ 5:13 pm grifta
‘Verizon Wireless Presents The Indominus Rex’ yet the island doesn’t have cell service. The whole damn movie was a blatant cliché and advertisement.
June 12, 2015 @ 6:57 pm Lainie
What’s the matter, you don’t like the Tostitodon or Pepsisaurus?
June 12, 2015 @ 5:30 pm Legit Problem
Best on-screen death: that poor lady who gets eaten by a Pteranodon that gets eaten by the Mosasaurus.
June 12, 2015 @ 5:34 pm adolfo
Jurassic World proves yet again that even a bad movie with dinosaurs is a good movie.
June 12, 2015 @ 8:28 pm age appropriate
Means people are fascinated by dinosaurs and will see them in a bad movie. Which LW technically is.
June 12, 2015 @ 6:28 pm Bluefin
As impressed as I am with Jurassic World I am most impressed with Bryce Dallas Howard running around the park in heels. I’ve seen girls twist ankles just trying to walk in them things so watching her outrun hungry dinos at every turn is astonishing.
June 12, 2015 @ 7:42 pm Carl Lee Money
Fun movie. Loved Indominus. Chris Pratt is a cool cat, he’ll make a good Indiana Jones if ever they decide to reboot that franchise.
June 13, 2015 @ 1:37 am whole lotta colada
Theaters were packed for it. A number 5 is a forgone conclusion..
June 13, 2015 @ 6:11 am RadioDaze
Dinosaurs didn’t look as real as they did for Jurassic Park but World still had plenty of spirit and action. Really liked BD Wong getting the villain cred too, I didn’t see that one coming. Chris Pratt is a likable leading man, this role cements it for him. And I hope Blue gets to live a good life.
June 13, 2015 @ 3:15 pm deb-free
Aside from the glaring inconsistencies in the story I liked it. Made me feel like a kid again.
June 15, 2015 @ 3:14 pm Trae Hopkins
Nice review. Check out mine if you get a chance.
June 22, 2015 @ 10:06 am Dan Gunderman
This is a classic case of ‘love it or hate it.’ Generally speaking, JW had enough narrative and aesthetic chops to separate it from most of LW, and JP3, making it the “quintessential JP sequel.” Sorry to anyone who disagrees (plus, it’s almost at $1 billion and climbing).