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Review: ‘Jurassic World’ An Adventure Over 20 Years in The Making

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Credit: Universal

 

In terms of the subsequent sequels that followed Jurassic Park, all shared the common hurdle of compensating for the lack of novelty that permeated the first film and played a major part in its success back in 1993.  Steven Spielberg’s brilliant adaption to Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel also had the heart and the horror. It began as E.T. and ended as Jaws, but married both elements seamlessly. Even The Lost World, Spielberg’s own sequel, couldn’t recapture any of that lightning in a bottle.

 

At first glance, Jurassic World creates the same feeling of déjà vu. It is essentially a ‘monster run amok’ film, and the pretty framework is a mere set up for mass carnage and destruction. As in the original film, Jurassic World introduces the audience to a massive commercial theme park, filled to the brim with over-the-top dinosaur attractions. When a newly created hybrid dinosaur escapes its pen, all hell breaks loose, as the creature begins to tear everything and everyone apart along the way. Among those in peril are Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), two brothers who scored a trip on the island to spend time with their steely career obsessed aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as an executive for the park. Teamed up with raptor trainer and ex-Marine Owen (Chris Pratt), the group attempt to band together and find safety.

 

Big kudos to director Colin Trevorrow, who overall manages to rekindle some of that magic that made the original so special (if even in fleeting moments). You may be surprised to find a little chill run down your back, as the rousing John Williams, score and gorgeous panoramic view welcomes us to the visually extraordinary Jurassic World in the first moments of the film. Elsewhere, Trevorrow prefers fast and furious chaos, as opposed to tightly wound suspense a la Spielberg. Jurassic World is more of a no-holds-barred rollercoaster ride, and that has its time and place as well. Deftly executed action sequences come at a rapid clip (almost exhaustively), and Trevorrow also has a knack for impressively staging the jaw dropping special effects to much success.

 

There are a few interesting new elements as well, including a subplot involving domesticated raptors, and of course, the addition of the frightening Indominus Rex. Performance-wise the film is fine, if not overwhelming. Pratt is a charming actor with plenty of comic skills to accompany his gruff, yet he never really grabs hold of the audience. Howard is even more one-note as the control freak park exec that slightly morphs into bad-ass heroine by the final act.

 

It’s hard to fault Jurassic World. There are plenty of flaws, and the script borders on the weak end, but it’s also a film that adores the original that came before it, as seen in countless references throughout. This is an entertaining, action packed big summer film, and in addition to ticking those boxes, it feels less like a cash-in and more a competent reboot of the series. 

Nothing will ever surpass Spielberg’s classic, but Jurassic World is a worthy blend of the past and the present. Sign me up for Jurassic Universe.


 

Contact Jim Teti at jteti@philly2philly.com

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Photo credits: Universal