Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson
Written by: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly, (also story) Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and (based on the characters created) Michael Crichton.
Running Time: 124 mins
Release date: 11th June 2015
Was it really 23 years ago that Steven Spielberg took us on an amazing journey into a world where dinosaurs exist with Jurassic Park? At the time, the effects were groundbreaking and the film became an overnight sensation. Now, after two fairly average sequels that never came close to the original, we get Jurassic World. The stakes are higher, the production bigger but can it match the big daddy?
After years of trying, Jurassic Park, now renamed, is opened to the public, allowing them to get up close and personal with the former extinct creatures. As every theme park knows, you have to give the people bigger and better, so park Supervisor Claire Dearing and her team of scientists have developed a cross-breed called Indominus Rex. Unfortunately, this new breed doesn’t want to be cooped up and so, using her intelligence, escapes, causing pandemonium among the staff and visitors, with only ex Marine and dino-trainer Owen Grady to stop her and InGen, the security group who have a few ideas of their own about the future of the dinosaurs.
A great deal of blockbuster franchises have hit our screens between the last Jurassic Park (a woeful and forgettable experience) and now, so to reboot this would need the makers to look back as to what worked in the original. Not that this is a carbon copy of Spielberg’s film but it certainly nods towards it. At the same time, bringing some quite unique and often exciting twists.
Director Colin Trevorrow, whose only previous film was the low-budget sci-fi comedy, Safety Not Guaranteed, is an unusual choice. Someone without a huge track record, taking on a massive blockbuster in every sense of the word. He handles it with great aplomb, allowing plenty of time for the audience to meet the characters, explore the set up and build upon the tension before unleashing all hell on those enjoying a day at the park.
Upping the gore factor (thus jumping up a classification from PG to a more mature 12A) and adding enough shocks to make a younger person slightly more shaken, this becomes an all-out popcorn-munching, coke-swilling adventure, that never manages to meet the 1992 champion but certainly pushes out the memory of The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. Yes, it’s just as ludicrous as those films but it’s done with energy and with pace that we can forgive it of being a little silly.
The characters are more well-drawn than before. Chris Pratt, who is slowly becoming THE leading man, after last year’s superb Guardians Of The Galaxy, is perfectly suited as the all-macho ex-Marine who seems to fear very little. Although lacking the humour of Guardians, you can see why he’s at the top of the list to take on Indiana Jones. He’s handsome enough not to become a threat to other males, while blokey enough for guys to want to hang out with him.
Bryce Dallas Howard, who should make more movies that she does, is excellent as Claire, a woman with a personal agenda, that of profit margins, than taking care of her nephews who have come to visit the park, then finding herself having to drop the business woman act and start defending those she loves. With her striking blue eyes and red, red hair, she holds her own among Pratt and the effects.
Even the two youngsters, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson, are given enough time to flesh out their roles before they start running from the big, bad monster. Not as memorable as the two kids in the first film, they are not as annoying as other child actors.
The rest of the cast is fairly nondescript and even the great Vincent D’Onofrino cannot do much with his one-dimensional villain. Yet this doesn’t matter, as there are plenty of thrills and spills, the occasional laugh to break up the tension and some terrific set pieces, from the Predator-style commando hunt to a helicopter scene that will make fear flying, to the finale, that takes Transformers and Godzilla and beats both at their own game.
Jurassic World does exactly what you expect a blockbuster should do. You go in, you put your brain into neutral and you go with it, even when it gets ridiculous. While it’s still a long way off from Jurassic Park, it’s a far more entertaining and exciting movie than the sequels and with a set up for more, it will be interesting to see where it will go from here. And any film that has Raptors following a motorbike will have me sold every time!