This movie is particularly polarizing for me, as on one hand I loved every minute of it, and on the other I know it wasn't particularity an outstanding piece of cinema.
Jurassic World is directed by Colin Trevorrow. It stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and boasts a supporting cast including Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vince D'Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson and BD Wong.
I really don't want to talk too much about the plot, so here is the short version - Jurassic World opens to the public in 2005 and shows dinosaurs to the world. They decide that they haven't fully learned from their mistakes, and in an attempt to boost attendance, up and genetically engineer a new dinosaur to bring in the revenue. This genetically engineered hybrid is called the Indominus Rex. It's super smart, can camouflage, cover it's thermal signature. communicate with other dinosaurs, and has a very violent mean streak because it's emotionally scarred and wants to kill everything. So of course this monstrosity gets out and proceeds to ensure that Jurassic Worlds legal team is tied up in litigation for the next 105 years. So Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt have to try and save: A. Her nephews (Nick Robinson & Ty Simpkons), B. the people on the island, including the staff, C. The dinosaurs that are getting the regular Friday the 13th treatment from Indominus Rex, and D. each other because why not a romantic subplot.
I know this is a very brief summary of the story that misses on a few points, but I've just boiled it down for convenience. Look, flat out, if you loved the first one, you're getting more of what you loved for a 4th time. Included are even a few new beasties to entice you. But essentially, it is a monster run-amok film set in a dinosaur theme park, just like the original. And that's really where the nature of this film lies, with the original. It spends so much time paying homage to the first installment, that it never truly feels like it's own movie. It lacks any substantial identity for itself in favor of heavy handed, albeit loving, references to its predecessor.
Now, you might think that with all of it's naval gazing Jurassic World is a bad movie, but that isn't true. As a matter of fact, I quite liked the flick. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I loved it. I grew up watching Jurassic Park and it instilled in me a love for science that I've carried for 20 years. It was very influential to my childhood. So a movie that goes above and beyond to remind me how awesome Jurassic Park is, is cool with me. Plus, it's not like the film has nothing going for it. Sure the characters are cookie cutter "good guys" and "bad guys", but that simplicity is fine within the confines of Jurassic Park. That very simplistic dichotomy existed in the last three films and was as acceptable there as it is now. Besides, there isn't a poor performance to be found. I mean, don't get me wrong, nobody in the movie is deserving of an Oscar for their work here, but the film isn't exactly trying to be Schindler's List. It's a summer blockbuster. Transformers is also a summer blockbuster. The bar is set low for a reason.
Yes, Jurassic World tries its damnedest to instil nostalgia from its viewers. And yes, it doesn't particularly worry about people who haven't seen the original (let's face it, who hasn't?). But I cannot deny that it doesn't accomplish it's mission in making you remember that Jurassic Park is awesome (notice I've said that twice now). It spends a lot of time showing us cool stuff with dinosaurs; dinosaurs as theme park attractions, dinosaurs doing dinosaur things, dinosaurs eating people, dinosaurs fighting other dinosaurs. It inundates you with what you want to see in a Jurassic Park movie, dinosaurs fucking shit up and being awesome (there's that word again). I will concede that even as a fan the movie isn't perfect. There is a distinct lack of animatronics in this movie. One of the things that made the last movies great (I use that term VERY loosely in regards to Lost World and Jurassic Park 3) were the dynamite special effects by Stan Winston studios. They made some of the greatest animatronics in film history, and their work on the Jurassic Park movies has stood the test of time (as much of a test that 22 years can bring). This movie went the far opposite direction and gave us almost entirely (like 99%) CG animals, and that was disappointing. It's probably my biggest gripe with the whole movie.
Even with its shortcomings however (the cookie cutter characters, lack of animatronic dinosaurs, recycled story elements, aforementioned naval gazing) Jurassic World proves to be a fun ride. It stays active for the majority of its 2-hour runtime, and thus, moves along at a very smooth pace. The dinosaurs are the real star of the show and they do some really great stuff. The whole movie is a "sit back, relax, and watch the mayhem" kind of popcorn flick that does nothing more than prove that Jurassic Park is fucking awesome (4th times the charm. See that? See what I did there?). If you love the older movies, you'll at least be entertained by this one. If you expect anything extraordinary, or a modern day cinematic masterpiece, you will be disappointed. Jurassic World isn't 'good' but it's a damn good time. 'Nuff said.