The park is open…
The park is open once again as Jurassic World hits the big screen 22 years after Jurassic Park stomped it’s way into the hearts of the audience with critical & financial success in tow. The film itself, also set 22 years after the events of the original film, has a fully operational dinosaur theme park open to the public. Despite it’s massive success, in order to keep interest in the theme park the scientists turn towards genetic splicing to create new breeds of dinosaurs. Unfortunately for those on Isla Nublar visiting or working at Jurassic World, the new attraction is on the loose.
Despite the franchise lying dormant since 2001 with two sequels that received a lukewarm response, it carries with it a strong fan base and a lot of expectation. Following in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg is a hard task, following those footsteps into the world of Jurassic Park is an even harder one. Despite the pressure, Colin Trevorrow delivers a sequel that is both a loving nod to the first film, as well as making it’s own T-Rex shaped footprint into the history and future of the franchise. Jurassic World is a fun, fast paced film that has the right balance of action, laughs & dinosaurs that serves the Jurassic franchise very well.
With only one cast member returning from the first film, a whole new bunch of actors begin their Jurassic journey and pretty much all of them are solid additions. Chris Pratt & Vincent D’onofrio are as awesome as they usually are but Bryce Dallas Howard’s character Claire, the operations manager of the park, is for me the stand out. A genuinely honest character, with a few detachment issues, played very well by Howard. The brotherly duo of Zach & Gray, played by Ty Simpkins & Nick Robinson, also provide good bait for the carnivorous dinosaurs rampaging through the park.
When it comes to the dinosaurs, personally I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to CGI as an alternative for animatronics & prosthetics, the detail in the CGI is amazing but the lack of physical presence always seems to show at one point or another, which always breaks the illusion. The film shouldn’t be knocked for it’s use of digital effects though, they’ve still clearly spent plenty time bringing these creatures to life. Effects aside, the new genetically manipulated addition to the park is a very good one. It is smart, lethal and looks very evil. A perfect way to enhance the threat level over the dinosaurs that previously were the biggest threat in the other sequels.
Maybe I read too much into this bit, but it felt there was some of meaty subtext during the start of the film as characters discuss in various scenes the necessity of genetic enhancement to create new dinosaurs. The need to create a WOW factor or risk going bust could as easily be an allegory for the film industry and the real life story arc of the Jurassic Park films, as it is a tool for conversation in the film. Normal dinosaurs just don’t have the awe inducing effects that they did back in 1993, so they need to keep improving, manipulating and making things bigger & badder. One could even suggest this story is about as close to Spielberg’s prediction of Box Office catastrophe as we could get without being literal.
As far as a sequel to Jurassic Park goes, you’ll struggle to find much better than Jurassic World. The references to the original are both a perfect homage and fitting passing of the torch. Though I think it is unlikely it will stand the test of time like the first film has, because at the end of the day Jurassic World is still just a big summer blockbuster with action coming out of it’s ears. That being said it’s an incredibly enjoyable big summer blockbuster that is well worth your time, you won’t be disappointed.