Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Irrfan Khan. Directed by Colin Trevorrow. (2015, 124 min). UNIVERSAL
Considering how often belated sequels end up disappointing, it's surprising we've gotten two (so far) in 2015 that truly delivered. The first was [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445), director George Miller's welcome return to the franchise that launched his career. Even without Mel Gibson in the title role, you'd be hard-pressed to meet anyone not blown-away by this brilliantly psychotic exercise in vehicular mayhem.
The biggest surprise, however, is Jurassic World. Arriving 14 years after the last lame sequel to Steven Spielberg's groundbreaking classic, it's no masterpiece, but unless you're a complete cinema snob, it's a hell of a lot of fun. Sure, it's got a new cast, new director and new writers. And yeah, if you really wanted to, you could point-out some glaring plot holes and bits of supposed sexism which outraged some of the more vocal trolls of the world. But what's the fun in picking apart something which has no aspirations beyond being a perfect popcorn picture?
Jurassic World doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel. It's more like sticking big fat mags on that classic old car that's been sitting in your garage for years and taking it out to lay down some rubber. Only then do you realize how much you missed driving that old beast, rendered hot all over again by shiny new accessories.
Despite all the new accoutrements, Jurassic World, much more than the previous two sequels, feels like a true kindred spirit to the original. At this point, the dinosaur-themed amusement park has been open for a decade. But it's existing attractions no longer thrill the public like they used to, so its owners genetically create a vicious new creature, Indonimus Rex, to boost attendance. Naturally, this turns out to be a bad idea. The monster escapes, putting thousands of tourists in danger, with only raptor-whisperer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) to try and keep them from becoming jurassic junk food. There's also your usual batch of human bad guys, led by Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who want to use these critters as weapons (!) and mostly exist to keep us rooting for the dinosaurs.
While never as awe-inspiring or jaw-dropping as the original film (how could it be?), Jurassic World is fast, suspenseful and narratively-outrageous (in a good way), with decent special effects and yet-another amusing performance Chris Pratt (arguably the most likeable guy in Hollywood right now). Sure, we've seen this brand of dino destruction before, but it's been a long time and sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder. Jurassic World isn't likely to land on any critic's top 10 list this year, but no one can honestly claim it doesn't deliver what it promises. How often can you say that about belated sequels?
BONUS FEATURES: (surprisingly light, considering it's the biggest film of the year)
- "Welcome to Jurassic World" and "Jurassic World: All-Access Pass" (behind-the-scenes featurettes)
- "Chris & Colin Take on the World" (the director and star interview each other)
- "Dinosaurs Roam Once Again"
- "Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt"
- A Barbasol-sponsored montage of 'Close Shaves' from all of the films
- Deleted Scenes
- Blu-Ray 3-D, Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Copies