Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Nick Johnson, BD Wong | Director: Colin Trevorrow
20 years after the absolute failure of the first park, InGen has been successfully running a state-of-the-art facility at Isla Nublar for years with great success. The Board, however, only have eyes on continually increasing their profits by introducing new species on a regular basis. Intending to bring in record numbers, the genetics lab creates a wholly original dinosaur that for some reason they never expected to be uncontrollable. Oh, those irrational movie scientists. Anyway, I think you know how this movie turns out.
There needn’t be any confusion about whether Jurassic World is a reboot as there are many references to the first movie throughout this film. However, one shouldn’t expect Jurassic World to be a cerebral action-adventure like its iconic predecessor. There’s little character development, no subtle allegory about how man should respect nature, and plenty of action right from the get-go. As capable as Colin Trevorrow is in creating an engaging film, there is no signature to his work just yet… like one would recognize Spielberg or Scott, etc.
Jurassic World is filled with a lot of talented actors, an embarrassing amount actually. Sadly many of them aren’t given anything worthwhile to do. They are either extremely daft or concerned about park operations – they exhibit little humanity. The awe and wonder of what they do for a living is lost on them. No one appears to have any objection to the existence of gigantic lab-grown monstrosities, despite the previous “mistakes” that occurred in the first three films. That’s one of the more infuriating things that occur in JW: too many people forget that these creatures can EAT you. When Chris Pratt’s smarmy, borderline charismatic raptor trainer Owen is the most rational employee on the entire island full of geneticists, techies, and executives, you know the body count is going to be high as hell.
Unfortunately, the most satisfying moments in Jurassic World is when these horribly one-dimensional characters are creatively dispatched by the rampaging dinos. It’s obviously part of the appeal of these films, to witness the people we love to hate get torn to shreds or bitten in half. Problem is, nearly everyone in Jurassic World deserves to be eaten and pooped out with great alacrity. All it would have taken was perhaps five minutes total of exposition to create a more sympathetic tie between the audience and ALL the characters. There is no mistaking this is Chris Pratt’s feature as he does his best Indiana Jones meets Gunther Gebel-Williams meets Nathan Drake, biking and shooting his way through different enclosures. His adventuring leaves nothing else for the supporting cast to do but demonstrate a ridiculous level of buffoonery that makes one wonder how the hell they kept the park running without incident until the film.
Every day at Jurassic World must have been a cakewalk before they had to contend with a beast like Indominus Rex. Her appearance was leaked earlier this year but it didn’t spoil her official reveal that took place during a very violent breakout scene. The brainchild of Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), I-Rex is a complex amalgamation of various dinosaur and amphibian genotypes that result in an extremely intelligent and devious apex predator. What’s most frightening about the Indominus is we’re discovering her abilities alongside her; traits no dinosaur should ever exhibit. Every aspect of its life was controlled to meticulous detail, knowing nothing about the outside world. When she literally claws her way to freedom, no living thing is safe. As scary and heart-racing as it was for our adolescent selves to watch the T-Rex attempt to eat Timmy and Lex, today’s kids will likely have full blown nightmares about being eaten whole or skewered by claws.
Despite the sheer idiocy of the humans and a lack of cagey banter and acerbic wit, if one is willing to accept Jurassic World as a typical tentpole summer film instead of a cleverly layered science fiction film with action sequences, you’ll certainly be more satisfied by it than many of the films currently released. Although it provides nothing new or innovative in the grand scale of the franchise, Jurassic World aptly rides the wave of nostalgia to tug on the heartstrings of our youth while introducing a whole new generation to majestic behemoths who never seem to stay within their own damn zones in the park.
The spectacle of seeing the various species roam and swim among us tiny humans remains an engrossing and exciting experience. The true test for the longevity of the Jurassic series is whether the next film (and you know they’re planning one) can go beyond the tired storyline of a malfunctioning, mismanaged park. Maybe they’ll have the Mosasaurus swimming around San Francisco! Yeah, how about no?