It’s been fourteen years in the making but the fourth installment in Steven Spielberg’s classic dino franchise is finally here.
‘Jurassic World’ picks things up twenty years after the tragic events of the original film in a society where resurrected dinosaurs have become something of old news and altogether rather boring for tourists (can you believe it!?) The deaths and controversy surrounding John Hammond’s ‘Jurassic Park’ demanded a rebrand for the attraction which is now a fully functioning family destination. In an attempt to reignite the public’s fascination with its prehistoric giants and boost those all-important visitor satisfaction ratings, CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) gives the go ahead for chief geneticist Dr Henry Wu (B. D. Wong – the sole returning cast member from the original movie) to splice together a dino equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster. As you can imagine, the thing escapes and chaos ensues…
Two things stand out in the opening minutes of Jurassic World. The first is the much debated dominance of CGI over the loved animatronics of the original trilogy. The film opens with a close up of a baby Indominus Rex (the new mutant dino) emerging from its shell. The pure CGI is light years away from the birth of 1993s Velociraptor and some die-hard fans might find this unsettling. However, despite what some haters would have you believe, the CGI is exceptional throughout the film and it doesn’t suffer as a result of it. The argument of digi v plastic dinosaurs really just boils down to personal taste.
Secondly, Jurassic World is born in a different era from its predecessors and this shines in its gags which may also distress some (as it did me). The modern day clumsy and heavily child-friendly humour that runs rife through the endless superhero blockbusters of today has been injected into this revamp. It’s a sign of the times and was in some ways to be expected but the spoon-fed antics are a far cry from the dry wit of the original films. This gives the movie an initial feeling that it has its crosshairs aimed at a lower age bracket. No character embodies this spirit more than Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas-Howard) the park’s operations manager. A workaholic set with a task of childminding her nephews (who are a stereotypical pairing of bubbly younger sibling and moody elder teen) she is quite useless at this as well as at realising the needs of others, staying out of trouble and pretty much everything else.
Dancing on the fringes of parody, the movie is saved by its protagonist and some jaw-dropping fight scenes (excuse the pun). Chris Pratt stars as Owen Brady, an ex-marine turned raptor trainer. If Jurassic World is a tale about a deadly hybrid of dinosaurs then Brady is something of the perfect balance of Dr Alan Grant and Dr Ian Malcolm. Fusing wise seriousness with occasional wit, Brady is a confident and likable character for the audience to root for.
Once the trouble starts kicking off the film starts to assert its 12A certificate. There are some truly brutal deaths and enough blood splatter to darken the tone, revitalising the franchise’s horror slant. The Indominus Rex is a stunning foe and, not wanting to give too much away, there are one or two other monsters that get the audience warming the edges of their seats. With jump scares and thrilling chases, Jurassic World doesn’t disappoint when it comes to action and the final showdown is one of the highlights in the franchise to date.
In the end Jurassic World manages to balance action, cheese and humour (depending on how you take it) pretty well and its thoroughly enjoyable to watch. At times it feels like a different beast to the original trilogy but ultimately this is a new chapter breathing new life into the story for a new generation, so it has every right to. Fans will love the many well placed references to the old films and will undoubtedly hope to look forward to further installments.
Worth watching? Without a doubt – a solid film that is set to be one of the biggest hits this year. Does it live up to Jurassic Park? Yes, fans won’t be disappointed.
A solid film that is true to the original trilogy and paves an exciting future for the franchise.