Review: Jurassic World
Everything about Jurassic World is set up to remind you just how much you loved Jurassic Park. From the classic music, to the old command center, to the extremely rare t-shirt bought on Ebay, Jurassic World punches you in the face with nostalgia until you have a grin on your face. Those fleeting glimpses of joy are the strongest segments of Jurassic World, a theme park and movie that is about filling seats and crunching numbers.
After one last family breakfast, brothers Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) are to spend a holiday week with their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). Claire hasn’t seen her nephews in seven years as she’s been clearly focused on her career. That career consists of managing the assets of one of the world’s most impressive theme parks, Jurassic World. Many of the tourists just aren’t all that impressed with dinosaurs anymore; they want something bigger, scarier, and with more teeth. The scientists have just the answer they have been looking for to bring more excitement to the park and they dubbed the creature, Indominus Rex.
Apparently no one cares that these are prehistoric beasts that have no qualms about killing. In fact, a sub-branch of the military has been breeding and training Raptors for the sole purpose of using them in combat. These fast, highly-intelligent, killing machines are mostly held in check by their handler, Owen (Chris Pratt), who has somehow been able to train these animals. With his history of being good with the Raptors, he’s sort of the go-to guy for risk assessment in Jurassic World. So much so, Claire asks Owen to check out their Indominus Rex to please the investors.
Good fortune quickly unravels for Jurassic World since stupidity is the name of the game. No matter how bad the situation might be, countless characters are willing to sacrifice themselves in front of these mammoth beasts. Whether it is creating such a ill-advised dinosaur, flying helicopters and driving cars without completing license requirements, or navigating a motorcycle through an uncanny flat jungle with a herd of Raptors; the characters of Jurassic World move the plot forward through their sheer ineptitude.
Ignoring all the unexplainable, Jurassic World still manages to bring out some joy. There is pure spectacle on display with countless dinosaurs getting in on the action. The Indominus Rex is pure sadist, just killing everything in its path for the sport of it, taking down plenty of other dinos and humans in the process. Nostalgia is another big asset that carries a lot of Jurassic World‘s best moments. Parts of the famous John Williams score are sprinkled throughout the adventure and plenty of artifacts from the first Jurassic Park make an appearance.
You don’t go to Jurassic World for spectacular acting and in case you were expecting some, prepare to be disappointed. Before Chris Pratt was made into a superstar with Guardians of the Galaxy, he was signed on for this role. Universal lucked out in the process getting a legitimate actor as a draw for their dinosaur spectacle. Unsurprisingly, he holds his own with his charisma leading the way because his dialog is often times cringe worthy. Bryce Dallas Howard on the other hand, really only succeeds at giving a great “deer in headlights” look every time she is faced with peril. Her character is supposed to go from this uncaring, career-focused woman, to someone who cares about her nephews and can open her heart to people. The only explanation that can be made, is that she was scared enough times to value life.
Jurassic World is plenty entertaining for those wanting to revisit the Dino island. Bigger dinosaurs, ridiculous set pieces, and stupidity all-around really define this new entry in the Jurassic Park franchise. As much it wants to be Jurassic Park, Jurassic World feels flat and hallow compared to the original. There’s enough excitement to visit the new park, but once will probably be enough without many return visits.