The park is open…but is it worth admission? Read on to find out!
Jurassic World (2015)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas-Howard, Jake Johnson, Vincent D’Onofrio
Directed by: Colin Treverrow
Like many people my age, Jurassic Park stands as one of the greatest movies of all time. Hell, I even love the sequel, The Lost World, and can’t understand why people don’t like it (I get the dismissive remarks for Jurassic Park 3 though). Watching Raptors stalk their victims or hearing the T. Rex roar never gets old for me, so naturally I was pretty excited when the long delayed fourth film in the franchise, Jurassic World, was announced. And when Hollywood’s most recent awesome leading man Chris Pratt was cast, I was ecstatic. So, yeah, there’s a fair amount of hype in my brain for Jurassic World, and now it’s time to see how the finished product stacks up.
Set 22 years after the original Jurassic Park disaster, John Hammond’s dream of a prehistoric amusement park is finally a reality. Jurassic World has been operating for ten years, but public interest is stagnant. People just aren’t interested in just Dinosaurs anymore. In an effort to boost up attendance rates, park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas-Howard) has helped create a brand new creature, genetically modified to be the first original dinosaur that Jurassic World has ever seen. Of course, things go wrong, and it’s up to Claire and raptor trainer Owen O’Grady (Chris Pratt), to contain the new creature before it kills everyone on the island, including her visiting nephews.
Let me get this out of the way now: Jurassic World has some pretty goofy moments. From the idea of Vincent D’Onofrio’s military man who wants to use Raptors for the military to the sheer fact that no one learned from the mistakes of the FIRST park, there’s plenty to make you roll your eyes at how ridiculous World is. But at the same time, it all works, and adds up to a really fun time at the movies. Hell, I had such a blast that I even put Jurassic World above Lost World as my favorite Jurassic Park sequel.
Much of the charm of this film comes from Chris Pratt, who proves here that he’s more than just Andy Dwyer and Peter Quill. Pratt pulls off an effortlessly cool performance that feels more like a Steve McQueen guy than the loveable rogue that Star-Lord was. If Pratt can continue to pick these kinds of roles, he could end up being our generation’s Harrison Ford (and he’s my only choice for Indiana Jones if another movie gets off the ground).
As for the other characters, Bryce Dallas-Howard’s Claire has the formulaic but still entertaining “stuck up business person who needs to learn about family” character, and while her character is a little annoying at first, she starts to grow on you. Plus, she has great chemistry with Pratt. Less endearing are her two nephews Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson), who are really here to fill the “kids in danger” roles. There’s also the aforementioned D’Onofrio, who chews the scenery as a military big wig who wants to get “dinosaurs in the field”, and Jake Johnson as a hilarious Park tech worker who steals the movie with his meta lines about the “original Park being legit”.
Jurassic World is Colin Treverrow’s first time directing a big blockbuster, and he does an admirable job of re-introducing the world of Jurassic Park to a new generation. For someone who’s sole previous directing credit was the indie flick Safety Not Guaranteed, the fact that Treverrow’s action scenes are so well crafted is really impressive. World features arguably the most action of any of the Jurassic Park films, and there are moments here (like the Pterodactyl attack) that will leave you speechless.
Treverrow also sprinkles in a few surprises for Jurassic Park super fans, but unlike some of the reviews I read, I didn’t find them to be distracting at all. Actually, I felt that World could be watched by someone with no previous knowledge of the Jurassic Park films. Sure, you’ll miss out on some Easter eggs, but you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything really important either.
Jurassic World isn’t going to be the best movie of the summer (that belongs currently to Mad Max: Fury Road) but it’s still a fun time at the movies, and the best movie in the franchise that isn’t Jurassic Park. Sure, it stumbles at times, but it has some pretty spectacular action sequences, and it features Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle with a pack of Raptors riding next to him. I mean really, what more could you want from a summer movie?