Welcome, to Jurassic World. A tourist attraction where dinosaurs great and small roam for all to see, where children can poke and prod at baby triceratops, and where everyone seems to have swept the events of Jurassic Park under the rug, along with those of its two sequels.
It was never going to end well. Dinosaurs are dangerous, people, and combined with the hubris of man they can only spell trouble.
Clearly unsatisfied with the spate of disastrous attempts to keep dinosaurs at bay and under control, InGen, founders of the original Park have rebuilt their dream tourist attraction on the very same island where it all went so terribly (and gloriously) wrong the first time around, Isla Nublar. Times have changed the island and under InGen founder John Hammond’s motto of sparing no expense, vast attractions have been built and an array of new dinosaurs have been “cooked up”. But alas, we live in a fickle society it would seem, and dinosaurs aren’t the draw they used to be with visitor numbers dwindling. In steps the answer to these woes, Jurassic World’s latest and biggest new attraction, the genetically modified part T-Rex, part “classified”, Indominus Rex….what could possibly go wrong?
No, it doesn’t stack up next to Jurassic Park. But what director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) has brought though is a high energy, fast paced roller coaster ride. Like a well oiled machine, or the Indominus Rex itself, Jurassic World is built for purpose as a blockbuster movie and that’s exactly what we are given, for better or for worse. The characters aren’t massively deep, the plot doesn’t hold any major surprises, but it sure does meet its end of the fun quota.
Our entry point into Jurassic World is Zach (Ty Simpkins) and his older brother Gray (Nick Robinson), nephews to the park’s manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the up tight, business orientated salt to free spirited raptor whisperer Owen’s pepper, played by Chris Pratt who finds himself in reliably likeable form. Whilst younger, less cynical brother Zach provides us with a character to share in the excitement of the theme park, his older brother Gray is a bit of a drag, more preoccupied with his phone and girls to revel in the prehistoric beasts he is surrounded by.
Reflecting Gray’s attitude to proceedings, the dinosaurs are treated very matter-of-factly initially, serving to drum home the message from the top brass at InGen that the park is a business, the animals are nothing more then attractions and the bigger the attraction is, the more likely it will be to capture the attention of dum dum kids.
It isn’t until a good chunk of the way through the film when we get our first introduction to the Dr. Alan Grant-esque Owen that we begin to see and appreciate the dinosaurs fully – this time around brought to life with more than their fair share of CGI, along with some impressive animatronics. Whereas in Jurassic Park we experience Isla Nublar with wonder through the eyes of Dr. Alan Grant from the get go, there is a mildly frustrating restraint to initial act of Jurassic World, which is shared between the open minded Zach and Owen, and the uninterested Claire and Gray. Thankfully the inevitable escape of the Indominus Rex is on hand to kick things up a notch – perhaps InGen were right after all?
Because make no mistake about it, any restraint that had been shown up to this point goes out of the window. It’s all carnage and mayhem from here on in, and it’s both spectacular and ridiculous. The final two thirds of the film act as a non stop barrage of spine chilling, white knuckle dinosaur action well worth the ticket price alone. With more people for the dinos to chew on than ever before the scale is massive, but it’s in the quieter moments that it achieves its most effective emotional beats, with call backs to the original movie pulled off perfectly, serving as both a loving nod to Jurassic Park and a reminder to us, the audience, of why this is such a well loved franchise. With a pumping score by Michael Giacchino set some good old fashioned dinosaur chaos, Jurassic World goes big, and is all the better for it. No, the Indominus Rex has nothing on the Tyrannosaurus, but it absolutely knows how to cause a little destruction all of its own. The park is open, and it’s good to be back.
Huge in scale, breathtaking and absolutely ridiculous, Jurassic World is a summer blockbuster through and through. It may not have the brains of Jurassic Park, but it certainly brings the brawn.
Rating (out of 5):