Review: Jurassic World (2015)

When I first heard there was a new Jurassic Park movie in the works I was immediately excited. That excitement was quickly replaced with worry. Would Jurassic World (directed by Colin Trevorrow, executive produced by Steven Spielberg) be any good, or would it ruin an era- (and childhood) defining classic?

Don’t worry, they got it right.

So, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 22 years (I can’t believe it’s been that long either), the basic premise of a Jurassic Park movie is as follows:

Imagine an island, a theme park, filled with dinosaurs. Real, actual dinosaurs! It’s amazing. Until they lose control of the dinosaurs and all hell breaks loose.

Jurassic World is set 20 years on. We return to Isla Nublar where they’ve finally managed to run a successful park; and to keep people’s interest piqued, they decide to create a genetically modified super dinosaur. Because nothing could possibly go wrong with that… right?

Now if you’re thinking that dinosaurs are interesting and scary enough without having to create super dinosaurs, I’m right there with you. This is addressed though, and in fairness, in the context of the film actually makes sense.

That said, I felt the Indominus Rex was the least interesting part of the film. It felt more like a Maguffin than a Big Bad; but it did it’s job, which was to be the driving force behind what was otherwise quite a good film.

Did I have the same sense of wide eyed wonder and amazement I had when I went to see the first Jurassic Park in 1993? No. But I’m not a nine year old boy with dinosaur models in his bedroom any more either.

Part of that wide eyed wonder was because it was the first time I, or anyone else for that matter, had seen realistic dinosaurs on screen. CGI was still in it’s infancy and animatronics were used for a lot of the original special effects. So basically, the dinosaurs were convincing and looked real because they were “real”.

CGI has come a long way since then though, and unlike the computer generated everything that dates the Star Wars prequels so badly I genuinely feel that the CGI dinosaurs in Jurassic World will stand the test of time.

If anything, a short cameo by Jimmy Fallon as himself is much more likely to date the film than the dinosaurs.

Speaking of actors, the casting of Bryce Dallas Howard as Judy Greer’s sister was visually fantastic. The resemblance is uncanny and one would be forgiven for believing they were actual sisters. While I wasn’t familiar with her previous work (and as her previous work includes two Twilight films and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village I don’t feel I’m missing much) I was happy to see that Ms. Howard could easily hold her own (as park operations manager Claire Dearing) among a cast that was surprisingly bigger than I thought.

Then there’s Chris Pratt. I loved him doing funny as Parks and Recreation’s Andy Dwyer, I loved him doing action-funny as Guardians of the Galaxy’s Starlord. The question was, could he do action without the funny? The answer, was no. But that’s why you cast Chris Pratt. If he (or anyone) was to play Owen Grady as a straight action hero without any humour, you’d be waiting for him to die rather than rooting for him to win. So Chris, in the unlikely event you’re reading this, I’m sorry I ever doubted you, you can do no wrong. Though you might want to reconsider the mustache.

Vincent D’Onofrio was a perfect fit for Vic Hoskins, the somewhat skeezy head of security operations for InGen. Whether this is down to sheer acting talent or the fact that his portrayal of Wilson Fisk in Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil has left me feeling slightly uncomfortable every time I see him I’m not sure. Either way, it works. By the way, if you haven’t seen Daredevil yet, watch it. Now. You won’t regret it.

Finally, while a cameo from Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm would have been more than welcome, it was good to see B.D. Wong reprise his role as Dr. Henry Wu, scientist and chief geneticist who really should have known better by now. Incidentally, Dr. Wu is the only character from any of the previous films to appear in Jurassic World. (And for those of you who care, the issue of whether the raptors should have feathers or not is addressed by him if you’re paying enough attention.)

Overall Jurassic World is well worth a watch, with enough nods to the original to keep fans of the first film smiling without being so reference-heavy that a new audience (those under 30) will feel like they’re being beaten over the head with someone else’s nostalgia.

If you’re looking for a genuinely family-friendly summer film, the way summer films used to be done, go and see Jurassic World.

Jurassic World is in cinemas now.


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