Jurassic World (2015)


In some ways, Jurassic World is like the franchise itself.  After 10 years, we find attendance and memories of the park in decline.  In an attempt to keep the park viable and fresh, the people in charge have decided to create something new to bring interest back.

The metaphor goes deeper though.  Let’s look at John Hammond for example.  He has passed away and has given control of his vision to another.  This parallels having Michael Crichton pass away and leaving the project in the trusting hands of Steven Spielberg.

And if we look at the park itself, we see that it is technologically superior to the original.  And yet, it strives to keep true to its roots without drawing too much attention to its earlier mistakes.  Additionally, we also see that the new park relies more heavily on commercialism than the first one.  Just look at the product placement and corporate tie-ins throughout the park.  Now look at the same thing in the movie itself.

Story (3/5) – The story recaptures the awe and wonder of the first film better than The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III.  That might be because the plot didn’t add anything new to that original story.

I mean, audiences are again seeing the movie through the eyes of two young individuals (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson).  We still see humans (namely Dr. Henry Wu played by BD Wong once again) using science to create dinosaurs that never were.  And we still see these people failing to understand the monsters that they’ve created.  And once again, human greed and folly trigger the events of the park’s downfall.

Fortunately, there are experts again on hand to take control of the situation when things start going unexpectedly.  Some of these experts die, while others survive.  And ultimately, the dinosaurs pretty much prove they are the dominant things at the park.

Characters (5/5) – I enjoyed just about every character and performance in this film.  Being a longer running film, the characters were allowed to develop more.

Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) was that likable character that everyone will remember about the film.  He is also, as the film states, “a bad-ass”.  He’s basically the Muldoon character of the original film with a bit of Dr. Grant and Ian Malcom thrown in.   That said, Grady is very much Pratt too.  Pratt’s performance was really terrific.

When we first meet with Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), she’s somewhat distant and unlikable.  She’s as a workaholic, company-focused business person, who sees the dinosaurs at the park as assets or simple animals.  She tries, but fails, to connect with her family.  So much so, that she doesn’t even know that her sister’s family is basically falling apart (with the hinted divorce).  But, after seeing several wounded Apatosaurs, she becomes more empathic.  Through the course of looking for her nephews, she becomes a far more interesting protagonist than even Owen.  And Howard does one fantastic job of going through her transformation within the movie’s two-hour time frame.

We also have Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who is InGen’s head of security.  Of the humans, he’s pretty much the de facto antagonist.  D’Onofrio is always great at his performances, giving even the bad guys a likability.

I’d be stupid not to mention the non-human characters as well.  For example, the old jeeps from the original films.  Number 29 and 18 appear in Jurassic World and not as flashbacks.  The new characters are interacting with them.  The film makers have quite a few nods to the original film such as this (including music cues).  For example, we see the old banner and pavilion again.  We also see the tall electric fence from Jurassic Park.  Wonderful touches.

And we also have the dinosaurs.  These dinosaurs are very much characters in this film as in the original.  I love that we get to revisit old friends like Rexy.  And although they are a new pack, we also see the raptors returning as well.

Direction (4/5) – Colin Trevorrow did a fantastic job directing this film.  The story moved at a reasonable pace and I really appreciated the balance of action and humor throughout.

Execution (4/5) – As you would expect from a Jurassic Park film, the visuals were amazing.  And not just with the dinosaurs.  You can see a lot of detail went into the backgrounds and props as well.

The sound was again outstanding.  Though not as impressive as Godzilla’s roar in his recent movie, it was thrilling to hear the ol’ T-Rex again.  And who can forget the pounding of an approaching dinosaur’s footsteps as it chases people down.  I was sitting next to a metal vent that rattled with each step, and yet, the volume wasn’t even that loud.

Entertainment (4/5) – The film was entertaining.  The scene from the trailer with Pratt and the raptors was even more exciting on screen.  I always liked watching the raptors hunt in the original film, so it was good to see them doing it again with more detail.  It was like watching a fox hunt with the raptors as hounds.

[Spoilers ahead]
But I especially loved seeing Rexy the T-Rex go up against the Indominus Rex.  Mostly for the build up to that point.  It started out with Gray mentioning they need more teeth to fight the Indominus, and you start to suspect what’s coming.  And then you saw Claire running off, and you get excited because your suspicions might be true.  Then Claire told Lowery (Jake Johnson) to open the paddock doors of the T-Rex Kingdom, and your heart starts beating with excitement for the reveal.  And sure enough, the tyrannosaurus rex was there in all her bad-ass swagger.

And like the first film, she rushes in to save the day.  But knowing that the Indominus was a superior and younger creation, you knew the battle of titan dinosaurs wouldn’t be easy for Rexy.  You basically expected a certain outcome.  But the fight still had all the exhilaration of watching a boxing match and rooting for the underdog.

And just as I thought the fight was too short and underwhelming, the movie gave me the one surprise I hadn’t seen coming.  The beta raptor (“Blue”) teaming up with T-Rex to take down Indominus.  Catfight with Dinos…Round 2…Fight!
[End spoilers]

Overall – I give Jurassic World a 4.0 bow ties out of 5.  I could definitely see myself purchasing this film when it’s released on Blu-Ray (Ha…I hope they do something pun related with Blue when it does).  And hopefully they spare no expense in doing so.




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