It was a quarter of a century ago that audiences were first captivated by Jurassic Park, a blockbuster which showcased ground-breaking computer-generated animation and utilised multiple genres to thrill audiences. That very same formula was imitated 22 years later by Colin Trevorrow, who offered a less-enchanting, but admirable, take on the film.
The vision of the late John Hammond has finally been realised in the form of Jurassic World, a Central American theme park where dinosaurs have literally come to life. The tourist destination has been financed by Mr Masrani (Irrfan Khan) and is overseen by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the latter of whom must ensure that profits are healthy. At present, the park’s finances are excellent, but Claire is not convinced they will remain that way.
To entice even more visitors to Jurassic World, Claire plans to introduce a genetically-bred dinosaur named Indominous Rex, a beast so large and scary that Masrani believes it will give parents nightmares. He suggests that the park’s velociraptor trainer – and Claire’s ex-boyfriend – Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) be hired to tame and control the new attraction. Soon after, Claire begrudgingly extends the offer to Owen, who accepts it.
Owen is sceptical of Indominous’ ability to be tamed, and has every right to be – a brief survey of the dinosaur’s enclosure reveals scratch marks along its walls, suggesting that Indominous has escaped and is running wild across the park. With the park’s visitors now at risk, Claire is sent into a frenzy, desperate not to let it wreak havoc. The visitors, meanwhile, are oblivious to these happenings, unaware of the danger they are about to face.
Much like many of the reboots, sequels and otherwise that are permeating cinemas of late, Jurassic World has plenty of throwbacks to the previous films in its franchise, including their catchphrases, vehicles and iconic scenes. Comforting though these nostalgic references may be, they aren’t used sparingly enough to let World be a good movie in its own right – what’s needed is a greater opportunity for the film to be creative or innovative.
Jurassic World is also a very slow movie, taking a longer time than usual to build the tension and suspense. The action takes even longer to kick in, and once it does, one will find that it is incredibly violent – even more so than the previous films in the series. Blood splatters across glass windows, characters have their backs broken and human flesh can even be seen on the teeth of Indominous, all of which make the original Jurassic Park saintly by comparison.
While short on merits, Jurassic World is not without them. Every now and then, there are hints of that Spielberg-esque magic present, but especially in the cast. The lead characters are both pleasant, affable folk, with Chris Pratt being the most likeable of the duo – he no doubt sees this movie as a dress rehearsal for that rumoured Indiana Jones reboot. Even Claire’s two nephews, Gray (Ty Simpkins, Iron Man 3) and Zach (Nick Robinson, Love, Simon) have their charms.
Jurassic World also possesses that same blending of genres mentioned above, taking the familiar tropes of horror and thriller movies to feed the audience’s trepidation, only with dinosaurs. What’s more, the third act of the movie contains one of the most exciting scenes ever placed in a blockbuster – it deserves not to be spoilt, only to say that the film is worth viewing for that scene alone.
It doesn’t quite have the same impact as its forebear did all those years ago, but Jurassic World has all the elements which made it a success. Colin Trevorrow’s film pleases with reasonably-tense sequences, a decent cast and an epic climax, but should have done more to set itself apart.
This film was previously reviewed for YO Bendigo on July 1st, 2015.