In Review: Jurassic World

The characters are rote, but the dinosaurs are terrific. This is the sequel the franchise should have gotten originally.

Jurassic World

Premiered on June 12, 2015. 124 minutes, rated PG-13.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Story by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver

Screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly 

Isla Nublar is open and you better not be wearing a tee shirt that says Jurassic Park, because that’s in poor taste from the deaths that occurred there. It’s been twenty-two years, and the theme park Jurassic World has been up and running for a decade. Visiting the park are brothers Gray and Zach Mitchell, who are going to be looked after by aunt Claire Dearing, who’s in charge of the running the park and kissing up to corporate sponsors. In fact, she can’t even meet with the boys until later in the day because she’s trying to get three representatives from Verizon Wireless to pay for the newest dinosaur that their scientists have created, the Indominus rex. This monstrous dinosaur is larger than a Tyrannosaurs rex and has a few surprising skills, as it was made from a combination of dinosaur DNA in order to give the adults nightmares. Working with the Velociraptors is Owen Grady, who had the four dinos imprint on him at their birth, so he functions as their alpha, which is demonstrated early on when a new worker falls into their paddock. Watching over Owen’s work is Vic Hoskins, the head of security operations for InGen. He has plans for the raptors, but Owen’s not willing to let him use the quartet. The Indominus’s paddock is causing concerns for CEO Simon Masrani, who instructs Claire to have Owen check it out, since he’s been so successful with the raptors. When he and Claire arrive the Indominus is missing, and there are claw marks heading up the forty fall walls. This is when the action begins.

I’ve been impressed with Chris Pratt (Owen) on talk shows saying he’s not the star of the movie, it’s the dinosaurs, and he’s right. He and all the actors do what the script requires them to do: scream, run, look scared, and spout occasional science. The only job of the actors is to provide believability for their characters against these terrible lizards. They do. Pratt is believable as an animal expert and the only person the raptors will tolerate, but even that trust doesn’t look to last forever. I’d seen the clip several times of him in their pen, commanding them to freeze. Seeing it on the big screen was much more impressive and frightening, because the previous films have established what these terrors are capable of. Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire) looks like she’s channeling Katherine Hepburn in a dinosaur movie. She’s the one trying to keep everyone in the control room calm, but she loses it when her nephews are lost in the park. She, of course, gets some gumption and changes her image as the movie progresses, but her running throughout the film in high heels was too much, especially in the forests. Ty Simpkins (Gray) and Nick Robinson (Zach) act like typical feuding brothers who anyone can see will bond when the monsters are loose. They do the best job in the film, as all young actors do in any film associated with Steven Spielberg. Taking over the kindly owner role is Simon Masrani played by Irrfan Khan. He does an acceptable job, but his dialogue is predictable in his every appearance on the screen. Once introduced as working for InGen, it’s only a matter of time that viewers know Vincent D’Onofrio will go evil. He doesn’t really get to do much in this film but look suspicious and wait for things to go wrong. Jake Johnson as Lowery, a worker in the control room, gets some of the biggest laughs in the film and he should come back for the fifthquel. The only returning actor from the previous films is BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu. His role is greatly expanded and he gets an excellent scene to throw someone’s comments back in their face.

The effects and action are what fans are paying for and I was impressed. Dinosaurs from previous films appear with a few new additions. ILM does a good job on the dinos, with some really spectacular effects on those in the skies and the waters. I saw the movie with my family and my thirteen and sixteen year old daughters were screaming in all the right places, and curled up in delirious fear when the soundtrack stopped signaling a dinosaur could be lurking about ready to spring. I saw the movie in 2D and thought it had the right number of scares, though 3D could make a few of them stronger. This movie also seemed a little more graphic than the last two, with several people dying just off camera or behind the branches of a tree. In doing this the movie reinforces that dinosaurs are not park animals, and I was glad the creators went there. The music by Michael Giacchino was fine, but nothing of it was memorable, save the elements from John Williams’ original score. There were two things that didn’t work for me. The first was the unbelievable amount of sponsors evident in the film. Yes, this film and the original poked fun at how companies pay to be present in theme parks, but when the camera lingers on a model of car for over 15 seconds with no actors or dialogue I groaned; and this included the insertion of a late night talk show host. This went beyond film making commentary and became a sad way the film was paid for. Where were Wayne and Garth winking at me as this happened? I also didn’t like what the two brothers were able to accomplish in a setting from the original film. Someone in the back of my full theater said “Really?” at what the pair do. It seemed really farfetched. Even with these two speed bumps, the technical achievements and the scares entertained.

The final line: The characters are rote, but the dinosaurs are terrific. This is the sequel the franchise should have gotten originally. Overall grade: B


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    One Comment
  • Eyes of Texas
    13 June 2015 at 9:12 pm -

    2 days ago
    The auther has lost all her sense.. She should start looking for an alternate career. She should know how to review mainstream and parallel cinema differently!!

    2 days ago
    Remind me to not read the reviews of ‘ Deepanjana Pal’ from the next time!!

    Eyes of Texas
    2 days ago
    What do you get when you combine a group of B rated actors, an unproven second string director, a script that’s been 13 years in the making, and a $150M budget for special effects? Oh, yes, add two sappy precocious kids and a PG-13 rating so you don’t alienate families with kids. The result is Jurassic Park 4, aka Jurassic World. Suspend reality (again) where actual velociraptors were the size of a tom (male) turkey and try to sell audiences on the idea those same fake velociraptors not only become good guys, they can be attack trained, saving not only the day, but Hollywood hopes, also saving the movie and its $200+M investment. For further disbelief add one Mosasaur, make it the size of the Titanic and able to leap from the water, just like Shamu.
    If you’re intent on spending $50-100 for a family outing it’s your choice. Remember you’ll be able to stream JP4 or buy the discs before Christmas. Instead check out the novel “Re-Creating the Cretaceous: a Tale of Survival.” It’s the story Hollywood should have made into a movie. Its recreation of dino DNA is more detailed and original than M Crichton and Hollywood ever envisioned. There’s no triceratops petting zoo or velociraptors jumping through hoops of fire. Featured in “Re-Creating the Cretaceous” are numerous newly discovered, menacing avian, aquatic and terrestrial creatures who defy Hollywood’s imagination. “Re-Creating the Cretaceous” is an adult novel with graphic violence. Best of all, it’s available now.

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