*SPOILERS abound for all of the Jurassic films. Tread lightly.*
The park is open, the dinosaurs are back, the references are abundant. What's not to like?
As a rabid fan of Spielberg's original Jurassic Park, a lone defender of The Lost World, and a steadfast believer that Jurassic Park 3 never happened and was all just a bad dream, Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World is everything I wanted it to be.
You know what I enjoyed the most about this film? It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel.
Despite what snotty IMDB reviews will tell you, this is the sequel that Jurassic Park fans have been pining for since we left the park in 1993. We get to see dinosaurs chasing park-goers, a unique threat in the Indominus Rex to up the stakes from Jurassic Park, and an excellent action hero in Chris Pratt's Owen. Does it try to evolve cinema as a whole the way the original did? No, and it's a solid film for it.
Cages and tanks
Whether or not you enjoyed the film, can we all at least agree that the Mososaurus was insanely awesome? As a nerd of all things Mesozoic, I've known that there's an entire prehistoric underwater universe to explore in these movies, and this one did not disappoint. To top it off, the tank that held the beast was designed based on suggestions from Steven Spielberg, and his innovation shows.
In addition to the grandeur and spectacle of the Mososaurus, we finally got to see the terrifying bird cage we've been waiting for, all of which culminated in the most horrifyingly spectacular death we've seen since The Lost World's Eddie Carr was split in two by mom and pop T-Rex.
I'll be the first to admit I was very skeptical when I read that they were bringing hybrid dinosaurs into the film. Call me a purist, but isn't a T-Rex cool enough?
I've never been happier to be so, so wrong going into a theater. This film's big bad, Indominus Rex, evokes that same feeling of terror and dread that the timeless T-Rex brought to the original film, if not more so. Even fervent haters of this film have to admit they had a smile on their face during the climactic battle between the Indominus, the Velociraptors, and our original T-Rex. If you didn't enjoy that, you went to see the wrong movie.
Wait, anti-terrorist raptors?
Was this a perfect movie? Well, no.
I have to admit, to this day I'm scratching my head at Hoskins' (played by Daredevil's Vincent D'Onofrio) plan to train the raptors for fighting terrorists, and yes, you read that correctly. Not to be a skeptic, but it does have me a tad-bit worried for the future of the franchise, if they decide to pursue this route.
I'm also not crazy about the brooding teenage kid we are forced to follow. Although, I could probably copy and paste that sentence into a review on just about every movie ever.
All in all, despite its faults, this film worked for its simplicity and wonder. It's a terrifically fun blockbuster and an exhilarating tribute to the groundbreaking film that sparked the imagination of an entire generation of moviegoers, and with any luck, this one will inspire the next.
While it's no perfect cinematic achievement, this is a film you can enjoy without having to dig too deep. It's a chance to see dinosaurs in our favorite park again, and that's good enough for me. So sit back, relax, and...
- The character of Dr. Henry Wu is a perfect thread to pull from the original film. He's not big enough to overshadow the next cast, yet is still notable enough to tie the franchise together.
- There's not many composers I'd trust to take the reins from John Williams, but Michael Giacchino is one of them. Beautiful score.
- Bryce Dallas Howard's character is surprisingly entertaining. From the trailer, I expected very, very little. I look forward to seeing where the franchise takes her and Chris Pratt.
- "Spared no expense." RIP, Richard Attenborough.
- Shoutout to director Colin Trevorrow for making the T-Rex's big entrance a crash through a Spinosaurus skeleton. That was well-deserved comeuppance for our original villain/hero, and at least an attempt at a Jurassic Park 3 apology.
- I immediately regretted not becoming a paleontologist when I walked out of the cinema.
- I'm a sucker for good callbacks. The entire sequence in the original park's visitor center had me grinning from ear to ear.
- Thank you for reading my first film review! You're awesome.