It’s been a long time since I remember sitting in the cinema watching JURASSIC PARK. I was 9-years-old and I always remember being petrified by the T-rex. Even when I watch it now, that movie still unnerves me with some of the best suspenseful moments I’ve ever felt when watching a movie. THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK came and whilst I thought it was a decent sequel, it never matched the calibre of the first for me. The easily weakest entry in the series, JURASSIC PARK III, for me, was soon forgotten.
Rumblings of a fourth movie always circled, but soon seemed to die down — maybe because the third movie left such a sour aftertaste? A new story would arise saying that JURASSIC PARK 4 was in development and then it would go all quiet. It seemed as if the next venture into JURASSIC PARK could be stuck in development hell.
2013 rolled around and it had been said that filming was due to commence with a 2015 release date. A teaser banner was revealed, and then behind the scenes pictures were starting to be tweeted and shared via social media. Then it was confirmed: JURASSIC WORLD would be hitting our screens!
“Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfil a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.”
I’ll get this out of the way first before I go on to talk about the cast, movie and my final thoughts….
When I first saw the teaser trailer and then the subsequent trailers and reports from the movie, I was dead against having what looked like domesticated raptors! I mean, come on… an animal portrayed in the first movie as so deadly, now looking to be trained? Nope! Engineering new dinosaurs?! To quote Chris Pratt from the movie, “They’re dinosaurs, wow enough!” Again, nope! This immediately lowered my expectations on the movie to lower than low. I was not expecting much from the movie other than to just reboot JURASSIC PARK for a new generation. What did I think of it in the end? Read on and you’ll see…..
Plot wise, it’s not too dissimilar to the first movie, aside from this time, the park is actually open! I don’t want to go into much about the plot of the movie, as the trailer shows just enough to get an idea of what’s going on, but doesn’t reveal too much at the same time.
Chris Pratt heads up the cast this time around as Owen, joined by Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire, Vincent D’Onofrio as Hoskins, Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani, Nick Robinson as Zach, and Ty Simpkins as Gray. The only returning character from any of the previous movies is Dr. Henry Wu played by BD Wong. Those longing for an onscreen cameo by Dr. Ian Malcolm, sorry, you’re going to be disappointed. Chris Pratt takes a more serious turn to what we’re used to, especially after the likes of his turn as Star-Lord in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. If anything, this movie is a good showcase to the producers out there that if you are going to remake INDIANA JONES, Chris Pratt is your man! Bryce Dallas Howard, whom I was originally a bit cold towards, puts in a great turn as ‘corporate woman-turned-survivor’, not playing the typical damsel in distress that I thought she was going to. Irrfan Khan adds some good comedic elements counteracted by Vincent D’Onofrio who has a much more sinister motive. The kids, Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, both do a great job in their roles also, running scared into the park as the movie goes on. Overall, the cast are great. My main problem is I think I would’ve liked to had seen a couple of cameos from previous cast members, but I can understand the reasons for not including them.
Now, onto the movie itself. As I explained above, my expectations were lower than low for this. I hold JURASSIC PARK in such high regard, it’s one of my favourite movies and one that still genuinely scares me to this day. The whole sequence with the T-rex breaking out from her paddock before going on the rampage around the park is one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve ever witnessed. So coming into this, I didn’t know what to expect. As the movie started the famous score that I know and love kicked in as the titles rolled. Thrust straight into Isla Nublar, we watch Gray and Zach go there for the weekend and we see that Jurassic Park has been turned into a fully functioning ‘amusement park’ now called Jurassic World. When we follow Gray and Zach, you really do get a feel for what the park could actually be like. Always wanting to better themselves, scientists set within the island have been tasked with creating a new dinosaur, to be bigger and better than the T-rex, and they’ve done it. They have created the Indominus Rex. Spliced with genes from various other dinosaurs and animals, it is the park’s first fully fledged genetically engineered dinosaur. During some routine training with the velociraptors, Owen is sent to check over the new paddock for the Indominus where in turn, the new beast fools them into breaking out of her paddock to run free, experiencing the outside world out of captivity for the first time. This is where the proverbial dinosaur poo hits the fan, and also where I talk no more about the plot.
My gripes? Not many actually! The whole domesticated raptor thing is, in my opinion, portrayed much worse in the trailers than it actually is in the movie. I want to tread carefully here as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. I imagined them to be like lap dogs taking commands like dogs, but this was far from the reality. My biggest gripe, however, is that in my opinion, they made the Indominus Rex almost too clever to portray her to be the main villain. Unlike JURASSIC PARK where there wasn’t a villain in the dinosaurs per se, here it is almost as if they are trying very hard to make sure you know that the Indominus is going to know your every move and turn, making it the true ‘bad guy’ of the movie. Other than that, I really can’t complain about anything else!
So, my expectations were low. Maybe this was for the best as I had an absolute blast! JURASSIC WORLD is easily the second best movie in the franchise. Nothing will beat the first movie, but JURASSIC WORLD is up there. The overall plot is nothing too different from what we have already seen, but the cast are great, the dinosaurs are great, the action is plentiful, the movie is damn loud and a fine mix of both CGI and puppetry that looks fantastic on screen thanks to Legacy Effects (AKA Stan Winston Studios). The final quarter of the movie is a fantastic pay-off. I said to my wife a while back when I was naysaying about the movie that I wanted and hoped it would end in a certain way, and when it came, I actually clapped my hands and stamped my feet in excitement! The last 30 minutes of JURASSIC WORLD are just pure brilliance for me and I cannot wait to watch it again… I will certainly go back and watch it on the big screen again.
What I thought was going to be a reboot I found to be the perfect sequel to JURASSIC PARK, and it has already broken box office records. The closing shot honestly made me want to stand up and clap. Had my expectations been higher, would I have enjoyed it as much? I don’t know, I guess I’ll find out on my next viewing. For now, anyone on the fence – GO AND SEE THIS ON THE BIG SCREEN!