Jurassic World Review
Jurassic World Review
The original Jurassic Park is often held up as a blockbuster done right. Not only does it hold a special place in many people’s minds, it is highly regarded as a turning point in technology for film-making as well as one of Steven Spielberg’s greatest achievements. Because of this it has developed a legion of fans and spawned two sequels which weren’t quite as much of a hit. Jurassic World aims to breath new life into the franchise while paying homage to what made the original such a hit in 1993. The film largely succeeds in this objective but not without a few stumbling plot points along the way.
The story revolves mainly around Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Grady works as a trainer at the park while Dearing is in charge of running and managing the park. However, much like the original, a portion of the film is seen from a child’s perspective, namely Zach and Gray Mitchell, who are Claire’s nephews. Rather than simply being characters who run away from dinosaurs, director Colin Trevorrow allows the characters enough story to give them depth. Much of the story is given to Claire’s arc as she moves away from her initial attitude of being distant with her family and aloof to the creatures under her care. She is a much stronger character than the film’s trailers suggested and her journey is one of the more interesting aspects of the film. Chris Pratt is charismatic and injects some energy into proceedings while there’s a more heartfelt story at play between the young Mitchell brothers.
Perhaps the greatest attribute the film manages to get right is the balance between paying tribute to the original Jurassic Park and doing something new and something different. There are passing nods to the original that keen-eyed viewers will spot and some more obvious, poignant ones. Thankfully though, the plot does not retread the steps of the original beat by beat making it feel like a fresh start and a good starting point for those who have never seen the original. The biggest difference of course is that Jurassic World is a fully fledged, opened park, a resort that resembles many of today’s biggest tourist attractions. Trevorrow takes plenty of time at the start of the film to show of the park with sweeping shots of the many different activities and attractions on display. While not a technological marvel, the film’s dinosaurs look believable enough and there is a decent mix of practical and computer generated effects. Initial worries of early CGI shots of Chris Pratt riding a motorbike alongside raptors can be set aside and while the fact his character trains raptors on paper sounds a little ridiculous, it makes more sense in the context of the movie and is a key aspect of the story.
While in the main the story is decent there are a few issues, particularly with the supporting cast who are less effective in their roles. Vincent D’Onofrio plays Vic Hoskins who works for InGen, the company behind the creation of these dinosaurs. His motivations are a little murky, and although he wants to militarize some of the park’s animals, it’s not made clear why he wants to do this. Overall, he comes across as a bit of a clueless character and doesn’t offer a great deal. Irrfan Khan plays Simon Masrani, now the owner of InGen after the passing of John Hammond. He’s clearly a spiritual successor to Hammond’s character, eccentric and invested in the success of the park. However, he lacks the enthusiasm and tenacity of John Hammond and while he seems to genuinely care about the well-being of the park, he fails to offer much in the scenes given. The one member of the original cast that returns is B.D. Wong who plays Henry Wu, a geneticist who has created Jurassic World’s latest attraction. It is unclear why Wu has gone to such lengths to play with science or what his deal with Hoskins and InGen is. Disappointingly this is left unaddressed and may be leaving something for a sequel. The film could certainly have developed his character more.
For better or worse, Jurassic World is a true modern blockbuster which ostensibly gives it a different feel from Jurassic Park. While this means flashier visuals, more impressive looking dinosaurs and a big budget, it also means Jurassic World lacks some of the more subtle, quieter moments. Owen Grady is more concerned with stopping the Indominus Rex and lacks the scientific knowledge of Alan Grant which allowed the original to explain what was happening as the film went along. Despite this, the film does contain some heartfelt scenes, particularly between the young Mitchell brothers and does retain the theme of nature rebelling against the control of man and science. The film lacks some of the finesse of the original but perhaps this is for the best as it tries to begin a new chapter in the franchise for a new generation of filmgoers.
Overall, Jurassic World succeeds in creating a park come to life which the original film did not explore. The plot contains enough nods and homages to the original to appease older fans while offering something different and new. There’s a lot to like, from new and deadlier dinosaurs to a core cast that delivers on the character development on show. While some of the characters fail to impress, Jurassic World achieves its aim of reinvigorating a franchise for a new era.