Jurassic World (2015) (film review): Mark’s take.

June 25, 2015 | By | Reply More

This is our fourth outing with the world Steven Spielberg created with ‘Jurassic Park’. As with the first film, the defence measures for the restored park are pitted against nature and we all know who will win. Sadly, the dinosaurs are much more interesting than the people are. The hero of the film seems to be chosen for his age and not his acting ability. The film is full of re-used dinosaurs and re-used plot. But most of us can always enjoy watching the dinosaurs.

Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

There is a minor spoiler after the review with a posted warning.

Jurassic World first trailer.

Jurassic World first trailer.

The ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise has some built-in limitations for the filmmakers trying to draft follow-up stories. You can go only so far in showing dinosaurs and people in grave situations, trapped and easy prey for bigger and bigger dinosaurs. The first film had people in a jeep in a tree. The second film upped it having a van hanging over an abyss. The third film had a Tyrannosaurus Rex facing the even bigger fiercer Spinosaurus. Now, much of the audience had not heard of a Spinosaurus, but it was explained to us well and accurately that a Spinoaurus really is scarier than a Tyrannosaurus. Now we come to the fourth in the series and there is nothing the writers can pull out of the real Mesozoic to be still bigger and badder. At least, there is nothing the ticket buyer might recognise. Instead, we will have the science patch together bits of DNA to create something nasty enough to outfight anything in any of the other films. This fictional thing is called an Indominus and it looks a lot like a Tyrannosaurus with bigger arms and small boney studs of armor on its back. At times, it is hard to tell if we are looking at a Tyrannosaurus or an Idominus. That must save some effort for the CGI staff that provided the effects.

It is twenty-two years since the release of the original ‘Jurassic Park’ and in the film we find ourselves twenty-two years after the events of ‘Jurassic Park’ in ‘Jurassic World’. The dangerous park is now open and running. It has become part zoo and part amusement park. The real dinosaur attractions were a huge success with its first-time visitors, but it suffered from lack of repeat business. The public wants to see something new and really scary in prehistoric reptile form. The park’s owners have an idea how to really scare people. They call on science to use genetic surgery to create something bigger and stronger than any currently known dinosaur. It is called the Indominus.

Once again, two young people related to a major executive of the park come visiting. In this case it is two nephews of the Recreation Manager, Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard). The boys are Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson). But the real hero of the tale is raptor wrangler and general dinosaur behaviour expert Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), only a little older than the park himself. Owen Grady is a far cry from Alan Grant (Sam Neill). Pratt is young, handsome, and rides motorcycles, appealing to the teen demographic. One problem with the plot is the whole idea of creating a newer and more deadly dinosaur that never lived. There are plenty of interesting dinosaurs and contemporary non-dinosaur reptiles for them to need to invent new ones.

To make a long story short Indominus executes a clever escape from its enclosure and runs free into a nearby forest. Meanwhile, off on their own are Gray and Zach who are exploring the forest in a motor vehicle that looks like a hamster globe. They are blissfully unaware that there is an evacuation of the island called because of the escaped Indominus and, of course, someone has to go out and find them. This is the same basic plot of ‘Jurassic Park’.

There is more to the story, but it is hard to care because the characters are not well drawn. There is almost too much in the film but not enough sense of wonder.

While the dinosaurs are interesting to see, what is really missing from this film is moments of awe. Seeing the park is little better than visiting MarineWorld. In ‘Jurassic Park’, we had that terrific scene when Alan Grant and Ellie Satler see the Brachiosaurus walk out of the forest and sit up to get at the high branches. There is just nothing comparably breath-taking in this film.

To re-enforce the connections to ‘Jurassic Park’ there is one character in this film that was in the original. Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), was just a lab geneticist in the original film now runs the biology lab. He was in neither of the intermediate films.

There are films you want to just wash over you and others you want to think about. I do not have to tell you which kind is ‘Jurassic World’. This is a turn your mind off and go with it sort of film. It will pay off in seeing real-looking. For fans of dinosaurs, this film has both pain and pleasure. The realistic dinosaurs are the pleasure. I rate ‘Jurassic World’ a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.

Mark R. Leeper

(c) Mark R. Leeper 2015

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Category: Films, MEDIA, Scifi

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