With the last movie released way back in 2015, Jurassic World stormed in topping the box office charts with a whopping 1.6 billion dollars generated at the box office. So with that in mind, I thought a retro review of this runaway success of a movie would serve as a nice reminder to whether this movie was simply all hype and no substance or truly the real deal…
The first movie showcased the dinosaurs themselves. The second brought the star attraction, the now symbolic T-Rex, to roam within our cities. And the third introduced a creature supposedly even more terrifying than all the dinosaurs preceding it, the formidable Spinosaurus. In every subsequent movie, the stakes seem to be amped up, though not necessarily to the movie’s advantage. General consensus says the first movie (as that popular stereotype has proved time and time again) is the best one, by far. Though I doubt the second and third iterations were attempting to best the original in any way. And so we come to a fourth one. Almost a reboot of sorts because this was always planned as being a new trilogy, starting with Jurassic World.
Here we have a world set in the near future where all the dinosaurs have been rounded up within the island of Isla Nublar (where the conclusion to the first movie took place) and integrated into a successful commercial theme park. Crowds flock from around the world to gaze in awe at the dinosaurs in their primitive habitat and the monetary proceedings flow in thick and fast. However, things go awry as the powers-that-be want to take the park to the next level by creating a genetically altered dinosaur named Indominus Rex, equipped with intelligence far outweighing its other prehistoric counterparts and having other such “abilities” which I won’t go into here. Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) is the park operation’s manager who teams up with Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt) attempting to bring down this new hulking menace as it manages to break free of it’s enclosure and wreak havoc in the park.
Now, with a premise like this one, it would be safe to assume you can leave your brain at home when going to watch it. Though the thin plot provides just enough believability to set the scene for one chaotic monster mash brawl. We see some of our CGI favourites from the past movies make their return in the form of the velociraptor’s and of course, the T-Rex. Worthy of a special mention is a new aquatic behemoth Mosasaurus which is a 56-foot lethal killing machine. The “feeding time” scene was simply glorious to watch, brief as it was. But what of the new main star of the show, the Indominus Rex?
Well, there are no surprises here. We get the usual fare. I mean, what other direction could these movies possibly take? Dinosaurs on the loose, people running for their lives, a few select individual end up devising a plan to restore normality again. So, though the acting is adequate enough for the roles they serve, Jurassic World knows exactly what the expectant audience wants. Rampaging beasts tearing puny humans and each other limb from limb. And in that respect, it delivers on that in spades. The CGI effects are just superb (though it must be said the original Jurassic Park made back in 1993 holds up extremely well all these years later. Just goes to show how ground-breaking that movie really was) and the action is non-stop once the basic story-line is established. I feel this movie was a resounding success because it isn’t pretending to be something it isn’t. It knows what people want when coming to see these movies and executes on that promise magnificently so.
As I mentioned, the rest of the cast are well up to par too (possibly with the except of Claire’s nephews who prove more of an annoyance than a benefit to the narrative of the story). Chris Pratt is perfectly cast as the main protagonist. What I particularly liked is his balance between humour and tension as there is a fine line between the two that only the best actors in the business can pull off. Bryce Dallas Howard also turns in a commendable job which is a good thing as most of the “human” element of the film focuses mostly them. Of course, there are the usual nods and easter eggs to look out for which is always fun to discover upon repeat viewings.
All in all, a phenomenal success for what it is. A valiant attempt at resurrecting a franchise that had been left shelved for a considerably long time. It looked like everything was running firmly on track to make this next trilogy every bit as good as it could be and in turn, allow a current generation to enjoy the wonders and thrills of a new Jurassic Park era.
Alas, we were given Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom...