Jurassic Park is one of those franchises that started off with a huge, groundbreaking and critically acclaimed blockbuster, and went kinda hit-and-miss after that. While never quite reaching the high standards set by the original classic, Jurassic Park II: The Lost World did so many things right. It was a fun, fuzzy, exciting action-adventure film that hit just below the mark. Which made the third film so much of a disappointment. Steven Spielberg didn’t return to direct the third outing, the story didn’t offer anything new or exciting, and the effects were lackluster. So understandably, I was a bit apprehensive about the sequel/reboot, Jurassic World.
After a fourteen year absence, relative newbie director Colin Tevorrow took over the franchise, with Hollywood’s newest superstar Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Jurassic World is set twenty-two years after the original blockbuster, and finally features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park. There are herbivore petting zoos, holographic museum exhibitions, spectacle-based events like dinosaur feedings, and there might as well have been a sign reading “10 years since last dino rampage”. But then, inevitably, all hell breaks loose. In a clever subtextual reference to Hollywood’s own drive towards bigger, faster, scarier things, the money-hungry InGen corporation who owns the park, pushes them to create newer and better attractions – even if that means genetically modifying dinosaurs to create the super-scary, super-dangerous Indominus Rex.
Jurassic World blends a monster horror movie, family drama, and action-adventure films, adds a touch of comedy and a tiny sprinkle of romance, creating something very similar to a typical Steven Spielberg film. The movie features almost as much character development, relationship mending, and families striving towards reuniting as it does chases, monsters, giant dino-feet, and velociraptors. Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is an all-round lovable hero, with equal measures action hero cool, comic relief, and sex appeal. Bryce Dallas Howard starts out the film as a super-stiff, high heels-wearing corporate girl, but aside from her shoes, her character’s progression throughout the film turns her into a sympathetic protagonist. There are also a pair of surprisingly not-annoying kids, whose unsupervised trip through the park leads the audience on a big chunk of the story.
Despite this film, unlike the previous three, relying mostly on computer generated dinosaurs, and featuring only one old-fashioned, animatronic dinosaur (as far as I could tell), the effects were amazing. These dino’s didn’t look nearly as fake as the previous instalment, which obviously utilised a mix of practical and CG creatures. The story and characters are heartwarming and encourages empathy, and although the plot has it’s holes, the film is a fun ride which doesn’t try too hard to reference the previous films, but nevertheless succeeds in planting a few winks, and commenting on its own existence with a tongue firmly in its cheek. Jurassic World, while certainly not the best film in the franchise, is a welcome addition to Steven Spielberg’s legacy.
What did you think of Jurassic World? Leave a comment and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome.
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