Jurassic World attempts to resurrect this once extinct franchise – can it succeed? The Filmnomore Movie Blog answers the question we’ve all be asking
Jurassic World is another demonstration that no time period is too long between sequels if a studio executive thinks he (most likely) has a brand that can sell. Universal and Amblin have turned to indie director Colin Trevorrow to try and get us to forget about Jurassic Park III (2001). The set up for this film is that we are returning to the original Island of Isla Nublar 22 years after the original debacle left many dead and the project without a pulse. A new eccentric billionaire, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), has stepped into John Hammond’s shoes and fulfilled his original dream. The new Jurassic World resort that comes complete with hotels and Sea World-esque aquarium has been in operation for ten years and the crowds are pouring in. However, the originality of dinosaurs being back in the world threatens to go stale so the park needs to keep adding new attractions to maintain business and turns to Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) to create new dinosaurs with the help of genetic wizardry. Sadly we haven’t learned our lessons and our attempts at playing God will once again backfire only this time there are more than a couple of scientists and mathematicians on the menu.
Jurassic World is clearly a homage to the original (and still the best) Jurassic Park film. There’s no getting away from the fact that Steven Spielberg is a master so don’t try and compete. What you can do however is pilfer with pride. If you are as familiar with the first film as I am there are plenty of Easter eggs to look out for so I won’t give them away. While this is a sequel there are times when it feels like a remake as there are whole sections lifted from Jurassic Park and tweaked a little so they fit into the narrative. I think the best comparison is with Superman Returns (not to everyone’s taste but I loved it) which managed to retain much of the feeling of the original while being able to do its own thing.
One of the pleasant surprises of Jurassic World is Bryce Dallas Howard who looked incredibly stale and flat in the trailers but turns out to be the one character (Claire Dearing) who has a full story arc. She goes from being the steely career-driven Aunt of two brothers, who sends them off with her assistant, to a doting mother-hen character stricken by the thought of losing them. Ermmmm, what happened to Dr Alan Grant’s character in the original film again? Chris Pratt plays it pretty straight and the ‘child’ actors, especially Nick Robinson (Zach Mitchell), hold up their end of the bargain and prove to be very resourceful in the face of apparently overwhelming odds.
Jurassic World avoids the trap of turning straight to dinosaur rampage and uses its opening act to introduce the world it inhabits to the film-goer and the main players. The narrative keeps moving forward and I congratulate Trevorrow for not overusing the action set pieces which was one of my main criticisms of Avengers: Age of Ultron. They form part of the story as opposed to being like one of those musicals where the little bits of story exist purely to get to the next big number. The other strength of the movie is the way in which it uses humour. One of the biggest failings of many summer blockbusters is that comic relief character who is utterly ridiculous and tends to ware a bright Hawaiian shirt. The comic relife in Jurassic World is provided by Jake Johnson who plays a member of the control room crew and wears an original Jurassic Park tee shirt he bought from eBay. His character’s sense of humour is very dry and sarcastic, I might even describe it as British. Look out for the scene when he takes the p**s out of corporate sponsorship which given the amount of product placement in the film is made all the funnier.
There are a few problems with the film. The main one for me as a serious fan of Jurassic Park were the gaping holes in the explanation for the existence of the park. OK so Ingen decided to resurrect the park but how did you contain the dinosaurs? You got he electric fences back up in the original movie but many of the them were damaged and the dinosaurs could run free? I then started to think that as the events of the second and third film didn’t happen (a single line in the first act writes them out of the history books) then maybe the lysine protocol came into effect and all the original dinosaurs died and they built from scratch! Oh wait, the original T-Rex is still alive … Oh well, guess that was a bit too tricky to explain.
There a few bits and pieces of dialogue that are a bit clunky and you’re not going to get me believing in that Pratt/Dallas Howard romance anytime soon. The final sequence becomes utterly ridiculous as there is a twist upon the twist and a little too much human emotion is attributed to the Velociraptors although I don’t think this is enough to detract from the film as a whole. I struggled with the subplot regarding a mysterious section of the Ingen company who appears to have ulterior motives for some of the genetic work going on behind the scenes. I thought Masrani was the owner? What it does do for the Studio(s) is set up the next sequel which I think will inevitably follow. I also have to say that I didn’t agree with the apparent change in character of Dr Wu who, reprising his role from Jurassic Park, seems to have taken on a very different demeanour.
I had gone into the cinema this morning really nervous having been underwhelmed by the trailers and truth be told hoping it wouldn’t suck. I had broken my own rules and watched/listened to numerous reviews. I just couldn’t help myself. The consensus seemed to be dumb but fun classic popcorn flick. There have been some reviewers who have really taken against the film and have gone to the nth degree to pick lots of holes in the story. My view is that those reviews are incredibly unfair and I think Jurassic World is the best of the summer blockbusters so far. It’s definitely better than Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is a worthy successor to Spielberg’s masterpiece and I really enjoyed it. My rating 4/5.