Hard to believe that it has been 14 years since I had a Jurassic fix, so I say THANK GOD for Jurassic World. As I say in my video review above, watching genetically created dinos chomping on human flesh is one of my guiltiest movie pleasures — and has been since Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic of the CGI summer blockbuster genre Jurassic Park came on the scene.
The new and long-delayed entry into the series suffers from the usual sequelitis in that it can’t possibly re-create the sense of awestruck wonder (as seen in Laura Dern’s eyes in the original) that we felt 22 years ago, but it does succeed in taking the story to new levels. In fact, the script (by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly and director Colin Treverrow) conveniently leaves out any reference to the two previous sequels Lost World and Jurassic Park III. Instead, it points directly back to the first one (and Michael Chricton’s bestseller) and the immortal concept of John Hammond (no relation, I think) who had a dream destroyed when the dinos went wild.
Now back at the same jungle just off Costa Rica, a theme park/resort Jurassic World has been operating successfully for a decade but in order to perk up business the greedy corporate types behind it are demanding bigger, better, scarier. (That’s a sly wink at what corporate types at Universal must have said in greenlighting this fourth edition.) So enter gigantic T. rex Indominus Rex, the holy grail of theme park attractions guaranteed to keep turnstiles turning. Only problem is that before he can be launched, he escapes into the 4-mile wide jungle surrounding the park and all hell starts to break loose.
As the film points out these dinos can be genetically engineered, but when you start playing with those genetics and bringing up DNA out of your control, watch out. Of course there are many humans involved in various aspects of this. Chris Pratt does nicely as a guy who can talk to dinosaurs, an ex-military animal behaviorist who has struck up a relationship with four lovable velociraptors who will play a key role eventually. Bryce Dallas Howard is the no-nonsense corporate mouthpiece running the park (and one time “date” of Pratt’s) whose work ethic is interrupted when her two nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) come for a visit. She gives them an all-access pass and you KNOW that is going to spell trouble. B.D. Wong, returns from the first film to play a slightly mad scientist consumed with creating the dangerous new breed. Vincent D’Onofrio is the villain here, obsessed with taking things way to far just to make some bucks. Irrfan Khan is the billionaire owner who sets it all in motion with his dictum for “bigger and better.”
So is the movie all that? The effects of course are tremendous and I had a great time. It doesn’t break new ground in this genre but it’s just plain popcorn-chomping fun. And like last year’s reboot of Godzilla, this one smartly makes the main attraction monster vs. monster — or in this case, dino vs. dino — action. Although Treverrow is the director this time out, you can see the handprints of executive producer Spielberg all over this thing. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley produced this effective Amblin Entertainment production done in association this time with Legendary Pictures (Thomas Tull is also an Executive Producer on it). Universal unleashes the action around the world starting Friday.
Do you plan to see Jurassic World? Of COURSE you do. Let us know what you think.