Finally, an instalment in the Jurassic series that can hold its prehistoric head high and make its father proud – its father being the 1993 masterpiece Jurassic Park.
So let’s get the obvious out of the way and come to terms with the fact that Chris Pratt taming raptors is by all accounts as silly as it is fantastic. And in fairness to Colin Trevorrow, who was charged with filling the sizeable boots Steven Spielberg left behind, he did a good, sensible, job of it. When you’re deep in the depths of the jungles of Isla Nublar (the same island from the first film, and home to the theme park) a few raptors trained to do some party tricks is the least of your worries. This is what the film does well; the tension and suspense make you genuinely worry for everyone’s safety and, with the musical score by Michael Giacchio and the film’s top draw special effects, it gets the heart a-pumpin’!
The omission of the legendary animatronics was a shame. However, it took nothing away from the thrill – especially watching it on an IMAX screen – as the dinosaurs were believable and by all accounts looked like real dinosaurs, certainly like the ones in the Natural History Museum anyways.
In fact, as I am writing this I am 40 minutes in to Jurassic Park III, and feel a little ashamed of myself. Not because I paid money to own this film on DVD and VHS, but because I was once young enough to believe that the clunky robot dinosaur heads were real. And nowadays, I always expect the best and feel hard done by when CGI doesn’t live up to my standards. It is 2015 though, and is a realistic 50 foot dinosaur too much to ask for?
And this is very much the lesson Jurassic World teaches us in a not so subtle way. Bryce Dallas Howard‘s hard-up business woman (Claire) is the representation of the commercial world that we should all hate and rise up against, and be happy and content with our bog standard dinosaurs, not the genetically modified beasts they’re concocting. We’re given a lesson on human psychology, and the desensitization of humans to, well, everything. Remember when the internet was just MSN Messenger and steakandcheese.com? Now it’s on our phones and in our watches, but what we really want is internet enabled coffee cups. Enough is never enough.
The moral of the story is bigger isn’t always better and sometimes the no-expense-spared approach is a big mistake. And I guess you could say that has been the case with the Jurassic franchise as a whole. Since Park, technology has improved, film budgets have got bigger, cinematography has become an art form, but nothing will ever beat those raptors in the kitchen. Therefore, when the humble park was upgraded to an entire world, things were damaged during the move.
It is not an original story, but this can be forgiven because it had no real option to be. The similarities between World and Park are numerous, but it’s this familiarity that gives us a relative sense of safety and comfort in an otherwise ridiculous situation. As has always been the way in the series, when things go bad, they go bad, and it happens quickly. You’re introduced to the characters, you’re given sufficient information to care about them enough to not want them to be eaten by the big toothy, growling one – then bang! Dinosaurs.
I suppose that’s the winning formula Jurassic Park I, II, III and now World has going for it. You’ll accept any plot faults and cringe inducing moments because, come on, there’s a T-Rex – two and a baby in the second film, and that film wasn’t great. A small child fighting a raptor with gymnastics is something only five T-Rexes, seven raptors and a triceratops can help me get over. But I hate to be critical about any installment of the series because I am so fond of it as a whole. So let me now explain to you exactly why Jurassic World is the greatest film and why you must see it immediately a minimum of 5 times.
First of all, Chris Pratt. If you don’t like him, just in general, then I would probably suggest seeking counselling. He’s likable and hot stuff, so what more could you ask for from your leading man? Another bonus is that he is also definitely not Ansel Elgort. Check plus plus.
Then we have Ms. Dallas Howard, who does an excellent job of convincing us she has a soul, despite being a business woman – f*ck the glass ceiling! As is often the case in films that Spielberg has a hand in, she’s a strong woman and someone to root for, “woman inherits the earth” and all that.
The kids are good. I think that’s enough to say about them, they’re cliches of kids but their performances are strong and they have enough of their own stuff going on that again you want them to be okay, and don’t mind when they take up screen time that could be given to Chris Pratt.
Irrfan Khan, is doing his best Irrfan Khan impression and is very wise. He adds a sense of levity that gets you thinking that “oh yeah, breeding a super dinosaur ISN’T a good idea,” even though it’s a totally awesome one. Nick Miller is in it. Sorry, Jake Johnson. He’s the comic relief element we expect from a Jurassic film, and worth a few laughs.
On the whole it is a very clever film, in that it shows you absolutely everything you’ve seen before but convinces you to see it with virgin eyes. Without giving too much away, there are suggestions as to how the series may go and we could be seeing a re-brand in the near future, one heavily invested in genetics. I don’t think the Indominus Rex is the only modified dino we’ll be given the pleasure of being introduced to.
Is it a perfect film? No. But it is the second best film of the series. Overtaking Park is probably only possible with pure cinematic perfection, and I remain skeptical that it will ever happen. But Jurassic World, when all is said and done, is fantastic. So just go see it. There doesn’t seem to be any other option available to you if you ask me. Whether you’re a dino survival movie fan or not, it’s an excellent watch. There are enough throwbacks for the dino-nerds and enough reality for the casual fan. And if you’re going to see it, see it in 3D or, if you can afford it, on an IMAX screen – the extra level of immersion added so much to the experience, and I don’t think I’d want to see a film of this scale on anything else.
In a summer of blockbusters, this has set the bar, and set it high. There may be better films this year, but I don’t think there will ever be a better dinosaur film that isn’t Jurassic Park…or The Land Before Time 7.