Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
IMDB Rating: 7.6 (as of 19th June, 7/8 days after release)
I think this is the longest review I’ve ever done! Forgive me if I ramble, I just think this is quite a big film in the modern landscape of cinema, especially in a year where reboots are all the range!
The much-anticipated reboot of the 90’s Spielberg directed classics, this is a new era of film that it is trying to break into – yet this film holds its own as if it’s still ’93!
Set 22 years on from the events of Jurassic Park (incidentally, the same amount of time between the Park and World movies), the island of Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme-park, Jurassic World. The park, led by business woman Claire (Howard), is worried by the decline in attendances and creates a genetically engineered super-dinosaur – the Indominus Rex – to spike them back up. However the dinosaur manages to outsmart the park rangers, led by ‘friend of the dinosaurs’ Owen (Pratt), and wrecks havoc on the park. Meanwhile, Claire’s nephews Zach and Gray (Robinson & Simpkins) are visiting the park in hope of having a relationship with their neglectful aunt, and end up getting lost in the wilderness when the super-dino escapes, and army representative Hoskins (D’Onofrio) is visiting the park, with an interest in turning the dinosaurs into living war machines.
I should say before starting that with being born in ’94, I missed out on the hype that surrounded the first films, and I’ve only actually seen them in drabs on the TV! Also, I actually saw this film in 3D, which always feels to me like an unnecessary gimmick but what can you do.
The important thing with this is that it hasn’t in any way tried to distance itself from the original, and at times it feels perfectly comfortable sitting in its predecessors shadow. It refers back to the original films a lot of times, with old memorabilia and the like appearing in the wilderness. Also, that funny DNA cartoon guy made an appearance! That was a good touch, and an important thing for Jurassic World to do. Not the DNA guy specifically, but referring back to the original in general. I don’t know how much of a role Steven Spielberg actually played in this film – to me ‘executive producer’ sounds like a marketing ploy, their way of saying “look, it’s the guy from the last movie!” – but there is a lot of similarities between this film and the previous.
With Jurassic World using a lot of the magic from the previous films, it is apparent that the dinosaurs are less impressive to modern audiences than they would have been two decades ago. However, the film is keenly aware of the fact that times have changed since the first films, with Claire’s character stating early on that people are more interested in robots than dinosaurs now – her reason for creating a bigger dinosaur.
I was really impressed by the amount of comedy in the film, as there are genuinely funny moments in Jurassic World! The funny moments are worked in between the actual story to keep the film light and entertaining, without taking away from the actual thrill of the chase, which is very well done by the writers because that can’t be easy! The comedy interludes reminded me a lot of Whedon’s Avenger’s movies, as he uses a similar technique in his momentous blockbusters.
The acting in this film is pretty good, but there’s one person that stands out way above the rest. Chris Pratt may be the face of the blockbuster, but you quickly realise that it is Bryce Dallas Howard that is the star of Jurassic World. Bryce plays Claire, the leader of the Park who is put under pressure by stock holders to improve the park. She ends up being split between killing her trillion-dollar experiment or risking the safety of the park, while also dealing with personal problems including her robotic businesswoman nature as opposed to her sister whose kids she’s supposed to be looking after. The more you think of it, the more complex her character becomes, and she does an excellent job of playing all the different emotions subtly as they race through her characters head. Casting Bryce is a masterstroke by whoever made that call, as chances are that bigger names were lined up with the role before she was chosen, but now I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job!
Pratt was solid, but I personally preferred his performance in Guardians of the Galaxy than in this. He is good, and I have no doubt that he could do a serious role pretty well, but I think he naturally wants to lean towards more comedic roles than this. Who knows, maybe he’ll prove me wrong – he’s currently filming a remake of the classic western The Magnificent Seven directed by Fuqua (Southpaw) and starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio.
The directing by Colin Trevorrow – whose only other film director credit came in the low-budget indie sci-fi Safety Not Guaranteed, starring Jake Johnson – was pretty solid, but nothing new. He obviously takes a lot of styles from the original directing by Spielberg which helps with the whole ‘paying respect’ vibe, but there’s nothing in his directing that makes you think “wow, that’s pretty original”. It’s cool, solid for a blockbuster, but it’s not the type of directing performance that will make him a household name, put it that way.
When I heard that Jurassic World had beaten the Avengers to become the highest earning opening weekend of all time in cinema, I wasn’t really surprised. The Avengers are great blockbusters, but Jurassic World is at least in the same bracket as the Marvel epics, and that’s with less of a cast and less of a following! World is a funny film that expertly captures the magic of the 90’s epics.
We’re 2/3rds of the way through the year of the reboot, and while I wasn’t a big fan of Mad Max, there’s no doubting the success of these two films – especially with Jurassic World set to break records. But we haven’t even seen the main performance yet. The first thing I thought when leaving the theatre after this movie was that if Jurassic World could do this – heaven only knows what J.J Abraham’s Star Wars is going to achieve.