I was both excited and terrified about seeing Jurassic World. I hoped it would be great but was also very aware it could be absolutely terrible. Seeing some moments in the trailers, particularly the raptors, made me worry but I tried to go in without any expectations and I think this is key to really enjoying this film. Do not go in expecting something just as good as the original, as nothing could match that, but I am pleased to say I really enjoyed the film.
The film is decent enough story wise if you allow yourself to suspend some belief (it is a dinosaur theme park after all) but the fourth star I have given it is purely due to the visual spectacle of the film, which definitely deserves to be seen on the big screen. You will regret if you wait to watch it on DVD for your first viewing. I was never lucky enough to see any of the two Jurassic Films (what third one?!) in the cinema and it really does create a memorable experience rather than just watching a film.
Jurassic World is set twenty-two years after the events of ‘Jurassic Park’ and despite the disaster of the first test run the Park is now open to the public and it is bigger than ever. The park spans almost the entire island and has been successfully running for ten years, so seeing dinosaurs is no longer a novelty. To draw families back to the park the scientists manage to create a whole new terrifying dinosaur by splicing all sorts of DNA together, thus creating something smarter and more deadly than the T-Rex. When the creature gets loose, it’s down to Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to rescue her lost nephews and stop it from wreaking havoc in the highly populated Park. Pratt and Dallas Howard are really great together, conveying a love/hate relationship. There is a little romance between them but I’m glad to say it is not at all the main focal point, more like a nice side story. Because, let’s be honest, we go to these films to see Dinosaurs eating people and there is plenty of that!
The film does follow a few of the same story threads of the original, including two kids being chased around the Park. Brothers Gray (Ty Simpkins)and Zach (Nick Robinson) don’t get along under usual circumstances but when in mortal peril they protect and help each other. They feel very genuine and we can see the relationship growing and developing which is really pleasant to watch. The screaming girls are reserved to the young (and old) Chris Pratt fans so we don’t have to endure anything like the terrified Lexi from Jurassic Park.
Jurassic World has many homages to the first film, and that works both as a credit and a hindrance.It does deal with similar themes like chaos theory and humanity’s need to act like God but with the added consumerist layer, and there are some nice “flashback” moments (like finding the original visitors’ centre) but with them being so often you can’t help but think they are trying too hard to please the fans. This could also be one of the main reasons some people seem to enjoy it so much, so it’s hard to tell if the film is great because of its originality or because of the nostalgic feeling it creates.
But onto the dinosaurs! The Hybrid (named Indominus Rex) is very well designed. It looks terrifying and has a slight familiarity to make us comfortable with the idea of a genetically modified dinosaur. They introduce it to Pratt’s character at the same time as the audience and immediately establish just how dangerous it is. Of course we all know it is ultimately going to escape so hearing this builds your excitement for the inevitable dinosaur fights. It’s odd how watching people being eaten never gets old, and here we’re in for some really fabulous deaths.
The advance in CGI obviously really helps a lot. It does go a long way in creating the entire park, real eye candy, something which could not have been done before. However, though we do see more dinosaurs than ever, you don’t feel quite the same awe at seeing them as the original, as by now CGI is much more of a normal occurrence in films.
Without giving anything away there are some truly incredible visual moments within the film with a couple of surprises which keeps it interesting. There are a few times when you think the film is going to use a cliché but then they undercut it with humour so it is funnier than you would expect. This helps with the characterisation of the lead and supporting actors alike, who also deliver one liners with great comic timing.
Onto the Raptors! I was most worried about this part of the film as raptors are supposed to be THE most deadly dinosaurs ever and they have Owen attempting, sort of successfully, to train them. This feels wrong on so many levels. However, they did handle it well and were able to justify this ability so I was willing to accept it, just. Owen can never really completely control them and is very honest about how they could potentially eat him if he turns his back, which I liked. Also when I thought about it we see this kind of thing in real life. Humans have Lions as friends cause they raised them and it’s a similar relationship here. It does add a very interesting layer to the story but I do still feel a little weird about it.
Jurassic World is a feast for your senses and stirs many mixed emotions in its audience, both pleasant and reluctant. But I would say it’s worth giving it a chance and just enjoy it for what it is rather than comparing it too much to the originals. Because Jurassic World as a theme Park looks pretty damn awesome! You know, without the getting eaten part….
Jurassic World is in cinemas now.