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 fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.
“Jurassic World” accomplishes something I had long been hoping for: it completely reinvigorates the “Jurassic Park” franchise. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first two movies, “Jurassic Park III” was a big letdown. It does have some good moments throughout but overall, the initial excitement moviegoers experienced with “Jurassic Park” and to some extent, “Jurassic Park: The Lost World,” was all but gone by the time the third movie hit theaters in 2001. I had such a blast with “Jurassic World” that I would put it on a par with the first movie. While “Jurassic Park” would probably edge out the latest installment, just barely, that is because back in 1993, there was a new era of special effects that had never been seen before and the public’s anticipation and enthusiasm for “Jurassic Park,” sent it into the stratosphere and with Steven Spielberg at the helm, it was bound to be a surefire hit.
“Jurassic World” pretty much ignores the last two movies and picks up twenty two years after the events of the first film. The island on which the original park was created, Isla Nublar, now houses a theme-park bigger and more expansive than its pioneering creator and visionary, John Hammond, could have ever conceived. Exhibited much like Disneyland and Universal Studios, with different attractions featuring a vast array of dinosaurs, restaurants and hotels, Jurassic World is the new entertainment capital of the world. However, with attendance numbers declining, the powers that be decide to create a new attraction, a hybrid dinosaur called Indominus Rex, which resembles a Tyrannosaurus Rex in appearance and has the genetic material of Giganotosaurus, Rugops, Majungasaurus and Carnotaurus, giving it ultra-tough bony osteoderms with horns placed above the eyes.
When the creature, which has been kept in captivity since its creation, breaks loose and makes its way towards the park’s central metropolis, filled with over 20,000 visitors, the park has no choice but to request Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), an onsite park instructor who has accomplished an almost impossible feat of training four velociraptors to be subservient to him, step in and contain the situation before all hell breaks loose. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the park’s operations manager and while she is initially hesitant to work with Owen, because of a past failed romance, after a small team of park soldiers intercept the creature and are wiped out, she has no choice but to team up with him and in the process of trying to stop the dinosaur, she must also try to track down her two nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), who are visiting the island.
Much like the gradual reveal of the T-Rex in “Jurassic Park,” the movie successfully elongates the display of the Indominus Rex, starting off with a close-up on its eye, then a shot of its claws, followed by its huge stomping feet until we see it in its full glory. In the first two movies, once the T-Rex was revealed, the majority of the action took place at night while it was raining or in dark, shadowy locales, thereby allowing the special effects artists to hide any flaws visible to the naked eye but because CGI has advanced so remarkably since the first two movies, here, we see a multitude of assorted dinosaurs in their immense greatness in the middle of the day and they look flawless. The special effects are immaculate and at times, it is almost impossible to differentiate between the practical effects and the CGI. Dinosaurs have never looked this good.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard have undeniable onscreen chemistry and the movie successfully employs a lot of necessary humor, to offset some of the more savage violence that inhabits much of the film. Director Colin Trevorrow triumphantly recaptures the magic and wonderment that made “Jurassic Park” such a worldwide phenomenon and in the process, eliminates the bad taste left after “Jurassic Park III.” While that movie did boast a short but impressive battle between the T-Rex and the much larger Spinosaurus, “Jurassic World” showcases a comparative scene that eclipses that fight in every sense of the word. With the assured success of this film, talk has already turned to further sequels and as long as they bring back Chris Pratt, and maybe the possibility of a cameo or co-starring role from one of the characters from the first movie, I’m all in.
In theaters June 12th
For more info about James visit his website at www.IrishFilmCritic.com