Jurassic World | Dir. Colin Treverrow | 2015 | 12A | USA/China | 124 mins
Jurassic World is possibly the most highly anticipated sequel of recent times, smashing box office records and massively reigniting the 22 year old franchise. Personally, I was really looking forward to seeing it – so much so that we went on the release date. School day though it was. The original Jurassic Park is genuinely one of my all-time-favourite-films, so I was so prepared to be disappointed… but I wasn’t.
Jurassic World is set in current times but Isla Nublar has gotten itself a super talented PR team and the previously doomed dino theme park has now been open for 10 years. Boatloads of tourist make the trip to the Five Deaths everyday, but they’re starting to get a bit jaded. Dinosaurs are fast becoming run-of-the-mill, and definitely not scary. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park manager is facing huge pressure to keep the guest, sponsors and owners happy and luckily her new genetically modified beast should tick all boxes – scary, scientifically advanced and by all accounts, a real visitor draw. However, she has the misfortune of having Dr Wu (BD Wong) as her Chief Geneticist and we all know how his understanding of frog reproduction screwed the whole thing up in the first place. “All the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are female” my arse!
At the same time, Claire’s nephews have arrived to visit park/become the primary targets for the Indominus Rex (from the Avatar school of naming stuff) when she inevitably escapes. Claire is forced to enlist the help of lovable rogue Owen (Chris Pratt) who is the park’s velociraptor trainer. ‘Cos that’s something every park needs. However, Owen has his own problems in the form of the park’s Head of Security wanting to weaponise the velociraptors. Yeah.
OK, so the plot is completely ridiculous… but it works. Despite the impending dino-disaster, the concept of the park is not that dissimilar to current theme parks. Mosasaurus (above) is for all intents and purposes, SeaWorld’s “big splasher” Tilikum (free Tilly), while the general concept of constantly needing attractions to be bigger and scarier rings uncomfortably true in relation to current theme park rides. Owen plays the role of the doom-sayer – lamenting on the lack of respect that the powers that be have for the animals, but still training them for no foreseeable purpose. This again mirrors the role of the SeaWorld trainers and the way the ex-trainers spoke in the documentary Blackfish. They know that it’s not a matter of if something bad will happen, but when.
So the kids are annoying, the whole “uptight working woman” cliché is eye-roll worthy and the science is way off (although Dr Wu’s argument that the owners wanted the dinosaurs “look cool” makes me forgive them for this), but all things considered, it’s a great film. I definitely think that is more than a brainless summer blockbuster. It doesn’t quite hit the highs of the original Jurassic Park, you couldn’t expect that sans Richard Attenborough and Jeff Goldblum, but it sits pretty evenly with The Lost World. OK, maybe just below, but nowhere near the third film. Thumbs up from me.
What did you think of Jurassic World?