By Matthew Soall
Jurassic World is not a great film, but it is an entertaining B-grade monster movie, with enough dinosaurs to keep any palaeontologist happy.
Jurassic World begins with the same kid crap that you are not going to really care about. In fact, there is a whole plot line here with the kids and their parents that doesn’t get explained until halfway through the film, and is so out of place that I wondered why it was included in the first place. It’s not until Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) get to the island that you should start to pay attention; in fact, if you want, you can probably nap through the first five minutes.
It was only when the John Williams’ score started to play that I knew we were in business. So the film starts with a nice build up. You’re treated to the gates and a nice overview of the park, kind of like a visual tour, and that helped to get me familiar with Jurassic World and where everything is, which will come in really handy when you have to follow the characters through the park.
As the kids roam around, you get a nice look-in at the exhibits as well. The T-Rex is teased, we see a rather cute herbivore petting zoo (which reminded me of a few childhood wishes). Then the film takes on a more serious tone when we make a visit to the velociraptor enclosure.
It seems that InGen is still in the money game and they’re hoping that Owen (Chris Pratt) can weaponize his velociraptor research. Before we can get into that too much, Owen is requested to consult on a brand new hybrid dinosaur: the Indominous Rex (or D-Rex for short).
As you could guess by the trailer, the D-Rex gets out and causes loads of mayhem and death. What’s different from the first film is that the intentions of park management – Clair Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Simon Masrani (Irrfan Kahn) – aren’t as shady as the original film. They both want a safe park for people to enjoy, but they are after patrons’ money at the same time. The creation of the D-Rex is a simple business move to increase patronage at Jurassic World.
This is where the social commentary shines through. The next generation of filmgoers need bigger explosions, less dialogue and quicker scenes to keep their stunted attention spans focused. The irony here is that most of Jurassic World’s audience won’t get that subtext.
Now, when I first saw Jurassic Park (1993) as a child, I was pretty blown away. The scale and wonderment captured my imagination. Jurassic World, however, is really just about nostalgia. If you can remember playing with your toy dinosaurs after watching Jurassic Park and having them all fight each other in mock battles to the death, then you’re going to completely understand where Jurassic World is coming from.
Some parts of the film are just balls-out insanity, however. Loads of dinosaur fights punctuate the rare few moments where they attempt to recapture the wonderment of the original film. The fight sequences are impressive though, as long as you can get through the batshit-insanity of it all.
As far as the dinosaurs go, they look pretty convincing. Technology has come a long way since the first film, but I did find myself missing Stan Winston’s puppets, because they helped to keep the world better grounded. The velociraptors look really cool until you get a close-up of their heads. Those are the moments where you second-guess what you’re seeing, taking you out of the film.
The villain of the piece, the D-Rex, was pretty cool. She had a neat design and a few tricks granted to her by her combination DNA. Because they’re not sure what she can do, she presents a greater danger as an unknown element.
All the acting was pretty serviceable. Howard and Pratt are a likeable duo, though Pratt’s lines are a little dull and nowhere near as charismatic as Starlord (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy ). I actually thought that Howard had the more interesting character moments. She finds her strength pretty quickly in the film and has quite a few heroic moments. I think her character Claire is a small step in the right direction for women in Hollywood.
The rest of the supporting cast are what they need to be. Zach and Gray are the audience’s eyes and ears in the park. Vince D’onofrio is your typical corporate money man, while Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) and Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) are the evil scientist and good well-wisher respectively.
Jurassic World has a lot to enjoy. It’s a big, dumb, fun action monster movie, and a good time out. Even if you only watch it once, your inner child will thank you.