Monday, 15 June 2015

Film Review: Jurassic World



Hold onto your butts - the park is finally open and ready for business in Jurassic World, the fourth entry in the beloved 90’s franchise that redefined blockbuster cinema. 

With a fresh-faced cast, up-and-coming director and some of the meanest dinosaurs this side of Tony Abbott’s cabinet, Jurassic World is a wildly entertaining thriller that’ll entertain audiences of all ages.

After two iffy sequels (1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park and 2001’s Jurassic Park III), the overarching motto for Jurassic World is out with the old and in with the new – Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas-Howard step into the void vacated by Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill, whilst Colin Trevorrow replaces Steven Spielberg on directorial duties. 

It’s an entirely clean slate for the series, whilst also remaining loyal to the original – John Williams’ iconic score soars throughout, whilst the film namedrops the park’s original visionary, John Hammond, on a number of occasions. It’s less of a revolution, and more of a natural evolution.

The premise in this outing is simple – in the era of hashtags and Kardashians, regular boring old dinosaurs just don’t cut it with the public anymore; they crave something bigger, scarier and with more teeth. So, billionaire investor Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) and brilliant geneticist Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong, the only returning cast member) cook up a hideous Frankensaur that’ll get the cash till ringing once more.

However, as anyone with half a brain could predict, the T-Rex dung really hits the fan when their monstrous creation decides to vacate its enclosure and sample some of the local tourist-flavoured cuisine, alfresco-style. It’s up to dino-whisperer Owen (Pratt), and the park’s workaholic director Claire (Dallas-Howard), to entrap the beast, and save the park from destruction.

Whilst it doesn’t deviate much from the formula (hungry escaped dinosaur + lots of people = running and screaming), Jurassic World does deliver on its promise of unashamedly fun action, likeable characters and eye-popping special effects. Pratt makes for a charismatic lead and shares some great chemistry with Dallas-Howard – their love story is a little contrived, but I found that her arc throughout the film was really well handled. Pratt’s character doesn’t grow much, but he’s a dependable and assured hero who can handle the action, emotion and humour in equal measure.

Even the child actors are decent - Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson bring genuine notes of warmth to roles that could’ve easily been generic movie brats. It’s Vincent D’Onofrio’s character that serves as the only weak link – he plays a villainous military contractor who is hell-bent on turning Owen’s trained raptors into weapons, and is the very definition of flat and two-dimensional.

That being said, Trevorrow’s direction shows a true appreciation for the series; I felt as though this was the first entry since the original to truly capture that sense of awe and wonder. He doesn’t rely too much on computer effects, and the decision to shoot on location in Hawaii has really paid dividends for those scenes in the jungle.

Jurassic World is also a surprisingly subversive blockbuster – not only does it crack jokes about the commercialisation of something so dangerous (“Why don’t you just let the sponsors name the dinosaurs?”) but it also acknowledges its own formidable legacy – at one point, desk jockey Lowery (Jake Johnson) gushes over how the original Jurassic Park was “the real deal”, all whilst sporting a t-shirt with the classic logo emblazoned across the front.

There’s a lot to sink your teeth into with Jurassic World; whether you’re a returning fan, or simply there in the hope Pratt takes his shirt off, this entry brings the series back from extinction, and is the truest sequel to Spielberg’s timeless original that we’ve seen so far.

The Verdict: 8/10


Pratt and Dallas-Howard make for an entertaining lead duo, and Trevorrow takes the series in a new, exciting direction. The action is exciting and inventive, whilst the visual effects bring the series firmly up to what we expect in 2015. Only a few silly character choices and cheesy supporting characters blight this otherwise solid summer blockbuster adventure.

Jurassic World is in cinemas across Australia now.  This review was originally published over at Hooked on Film, a Perth based website where you can find even more new release movie reviews, features, interviews and insight. Click here to check it out.

4 comments:

  1. Great review, buddy! LOL, love the shirtless Pratt comment. That was the first thing my wife said when we got in the car after seeing this..."why didn't he take his shirt off?!?!"

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    1. Thanks mate! :) That was more or less the only underwhelming thing, right?! :)

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  2. He made a decision to shoot in Hawaii? Easiest decision ever, haha.

    I agree that the love story wasn't really needed, but like you I did enjoy it.

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    1. Certainly makes for a better film than one shot on green screen! :) Thanks for commenting!

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