In preparation of Jurassic World, like a nerd, I spent the entire weekend cramming in the previous three films. It’s safe to say that I’ve seen the first one like a hundred times, but the latter two, I honestly had no recollection of. I also have to admit, these films aren’t really my favorites either. The effects are dated, but the concept is oh so cool. And with Jurassic World you’re talking about the star quality of Chris Pratt, who is practically on fire due to the overwhelming success of last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The guy went from a pudgy beach bum to a beefy, household name. If you try to touch him, you’re going to get burned. Han Solo…Indiana Jones…bring them all on! Chris Pratt is ready to tackle them all and so am I with this film review of Jurassic World, which lands in theaters everywhere this Friday, June 12th. Come, come.
If you were keeping track of the math up above, then you’ll quickly realize that Jurassic World marks the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise. For anyone who was hoping Spielberg would return to the director’s chair for this installment, don’t hold your breath any longer. Colin Trevorrow takes over the directing duties while Spielberg returns again as only an executive producer. And in addition to Pratt, Jurassic World stars the spicy Bryce Dallas Howard (although I’m sure there will be a lot of poking fun at her for this role…trust me on that), Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan and B. D. Wong, with the latter being the only actor to appear from any of the previous films.
I kind of feel like I owe my readers a history lesson in this review before we go any further. Like Mad Max Fury Road, Jurassic World was stuck in its own development hell for over a decade. The fourth film here (also coincidentally like the recent Mad Max) was initially intended to begin production in 2004 for a summer 2005 release, but release dates were pushed back several times while the script went through multiple revisions. And it should be noted it is the first sequel and second film to take place on Isla Nublar, as the previous two sequels took place on Isla Sorna. I could go on and on and talk about the script revisions, etc., but why? That’s what Google is for. Let’s talk about the actual film itself now. Ladies and gentlemen…welcome to Jurassic World.
There were two things I feared most going into Jurassic World this past Tuesday night. Was it going to be a CGI laden mess (like I’m scared it appears in the trailers) and would it be a worthy successor or is it just a mere cash cow grab at gullible moviegoers who were smitten by the nostalgic and magic of the original film? I’m not going to lie. I’m not a huge fan of the original trilogy. I actually consider the films kind of boring. However, I have no problem in admitting that I liked the King Kong style of the second film better than the first, but there’s something to be said for the magic of birthing dinosaurs into our modern day world. It would be the ultimate theme park attraction that no one can ever top, don’t you think? So yes. Let’s say for the record that I am a sucker for Jurassic Park/World‘s concept. Now armed with that knowledge…
So let me just start off by saying Jurassic World is one hell of a way to reboot an “extinct” franchise. Wow! Can someone say super size my adventure? This is what summertime blockbusters are all about! All of my initial hesitancies and fears about Jurassic World were instantly squashed within the very first thirty minutes of the film. Not only did things look leaps and bounds spectacular over the original franchise, but Jurassic World managed to do something to me that only the first movie semi kind of did, it fascinated and made me invested in what was going on and never let go. How many of you can say that about the first three films? This is Jurassic Park/World I wish to inhabit. Let me tell you why.
First, let’s tackle the CGI. It’s not perfect, albeit its damn elegant compared to its predecessors. There are a few iffy scenes here or there, but when Chris Pratt is in the middle of a pack of raptors and interacting with them, then dammit Chris Pratt looks like he is really in the scene with those raptors. Whether it’s the advancements in the world of CGI over the past twenty years or the charismatic performance of Chris Pratt, you pick your poison. No matter how you slice DNA, if you were mildly invested in the original franchise, you’re gonna fall hard for this one. I did.
Second, the Jurassic Park franchise has always been a tale about human survival, but this time around the stakes just felt higher and the relationships stronger, complete with a romance shoehorned in. This is an evil necessity though as in any good story, you have to have a love interest and I think it fits in really well as relationships and bonds are tested at great lengths to achieve one common goal…survival. They say that only the strong survive, but perhaps they mean only the strongest love survives. How does that sound? Try it on!
Finally, I want to talk about the action elements at play here. The action sequences, violence and gore were all entertaining, thrilling and ferocious at times. The animal lover in me always has a hard time seeing innocent dinosaurs die, but it’s an evil necessity in films like these. One can almost say deaths like these are baked in and inherent to the film’s genre. With that being said, hold onto your hats as once Jurassic World kicks into motion, the action and adventure are quite addicting. No, it’s not near the levels and wonders of Mad Max: Fury Road, but believe me when I tell you that the peril and tension are all there amidst all the chaos set within the constraints of an amusement park setting on a familiar isolated island not seen since circa 1992. So oh yeah, you’re probably wondering what Jurassic World is all about, eh? Let’s tackle that question next!
Jurassic World takes place some twenty years after the events in the original film with John Hammond’s original vision of the spectacular park pretty much still intact despite his demise. The “world” of Jurassic World, which the park is now also known as, is pretty common now to the lay folks. Sure, you still have to catch a boat to get to the island and partake in all its attractions, but for the most part, just like in professional sports, Jurassic World is heavily commercialized with the newest dinosaur being sponsored by telecom giant Verizon Wireless. No, I am not making this up!
So getting back to this newest dinosaur I was talking about up above. It’s a hybrid. The mystery and fun/premise of it all is uncovering what DNA this hybrid consists of once it breaks loose and goes on a wild, rampage of a killing spree in order to try and stop it. The cool thing about this feature is no one is safe or immune from the wrath of this hybrid, not us humans or even the dinosaurs we are all here to see and marvel at. Now do you see why I say the stakes are high here? It just feels real and organic like a being reunited with an estranged family member.
Could this be the best entry yet in the Jurassic Park franchise? I certainly think so and I challenge the filmmakers now in the daunting task of coming up with a reputable followup story to this one, unlike the second and third films that not many cared for. From charming casting to wild romps through the familiar island with the dinosaurs, Jurassic World serves up the action, high octane thrills, enamoring adventure and elicitation of cheers we all know, love and desire in our summer blockbuster films. So what are you waiting for? Wax those cars, wrestle up the kids and take the entire family out to experience the next level of 21st century amusement park entertainment, Jurassic World. Afterwards, there’s always time for some frozen custard too. You’re made of money! Welcome to…Jurassic World.