Has it been that long, beloved dinosaurs? After the less than exciting The Lost World (1997), and the even more forgettable Jurassic Park III (2001), I tempered my expectations for Jurassic World, a good 14 years after the last movie in the franchise.
I am happy to announce that the expected disappointment never materialised, and the movie was certainly worth the wait (since its announcement, anyway).
The premise of Jurassic World is simple enough – the original Jurassic Park has now become a dinosaur theme park/zoo/safari named Jurassic World, 20 years after the Tyrannosaurus Rex discovered humans taste like chicken.
As with all businesses these days, the park is under intense pressure to attract audiences with new innovations, because you know, humanity just can’t be wowed by dinos any more.
Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the operations manager of Jurassic World, owner Simon Masrani (Irfan Khan) and InGen lead scientist Dr Henry Wu (the returning B.D. Wong from the original Jurassic Park) work together to genetically create and market a new dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, as an attraction to boost their slowing guest rates, and to get potential sponsors on board.
Obviously, we know that’s a bad idea and that’s why we’re all going to watch the show.
Of course, the dinos are going to have to get through Star-Lord… I mean, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady first, a former Navy man now charged with training a pack of Velociraptors.
Grady has a bond with the raptors (the Dino-Whisperer, he shall be), and often clashes with Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio in non-Kingpin mode) about the applications of the raptor pack. Unsurprisingly, the one-dimensional Hoskins wants to militarise them, because humanity’s greatest accomplishments should always be used to find better ways to kill one another.
Omar Sy (Bishop from X-Men: Days of Future Past) plays Grady’s co-worker, while Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson play Gray and Zach Mitchell, Claire’s nephews who are at the park to spend time with her, and watched over by Zara Young, Claire’s assistant played by Katie McGrath (Morgana from BBC’s Merlin).
Director Colin Trevorrow certainly did a respectable job with the beloved franchise, which as mentioned earlier, had lost its way after the last two sequels.
There’s a lot of humour, in part thanks to Pratt’s comedic background, and he comes off as one of the better actors in the show. Clearly, he’s found a new place for himself as the funny, wise-cracking action guy (now for the inevitable Indiana Jones reboot?).
Nods to the original movie can be seen throughout Jurassic World, and I certainly looked upon them fondly as I remembered the show I watched as a nine-year-old kid. Nostalgia is a powerful thing in movies, and this one gets it just right.
The film has the advantage of modern CGI over its 22-year-old ancestor, but at times that may seem a bit overused, and can distract you from the immersion. Remember kids, there can be too much of a good thing.
The plot here isn’t really surprising, nor are the “twists”, if you could call them that, but overall, I felt it was quite possible to relate to the various scenarios the movie portrayed and the messages behind them.
The nephews Gray and Zach serve as the viewer’s guide for those new to the franchise, and while their storyline may seem draggy at first, it gets better as the film progresses. There’s also a bonus point for a cameo by a certain late-night host.
And I have to award special credit to Bryce Dallas Howard’s character for somehow managing to run around during the entire movie… in heels. For the record, that includes running away from a certain dinosaur.
A lot of the pre-movie buzz concerned the accuracy of the dinosaurs involved (Indominus Rex aside, of course).
For example, none of the dinosaurs have feathers, even though recent scientific discoveries have proved otherwise, and the velociraptors in the real past were more the size of turkeys, whereas those in the show tend to be similar to larger species like the Utahraptor.
Jurassic World nicely addresses this with a single line from Dr Wu, which as a fan of both the franchise and prehistoric reptiles in general, I found strangely satisfying.
Overall, it was a decent, fun, and worthy sequel to Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park, in ways that the previous two failed to be. And hopefully, unlike the attendees at Jurassic World, may we never ceased to be amazed by dinosaurs. Because dinosaurs.
Jurassic World opens in Singapore today. Tell us your thoughts on the movie!