It has been over a decade of talks, plans being developed and thrown away until we finally got a fourth movie in the Jurassic Park franchise.
In 1993 Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park set the bar so incredibly high, that not even he himself could top it with his very own sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997. Adding to the failure, was the big disappointment which was the later sequel Jurassic Park 3 in 2001.
Director Colin Trevorrow now not only wants to recapture the magic of the original with the newest entry Jurassic World, but literally opens up the infamous park itself in the movie.
With this bold new attempt to reinvigorate audiences' interest in dinosaurs and revive this long dormant franchise, can Jurassic World really be as good as Spielberg's original? Or will Jurassic World only show us once again that the impact of the first trip to the dinosaur island simply cannot be copied?
Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly.
After over 20 years have passed since the original Jurassic Park, and after over a decade of being stuck in development hell, Jurassic World is finally released.
But after two sequels alread showed that topping the original turns out to be a near impossible to reach goal, Jurassic World tries to amp up things. With the park now fully intact and even bigger than John Hammond originally envisioned it, everything is bigger and louder than before...but is it better? - Not really.
With that said, Jurassic World nevertheless boasts many new ideas which it has to be given credit for, yet sadly enough it literally overshoots its goal with its ideas. Though interesting, Jurassic World too often seems to ignore the boundaries and grounds of realistic storytelling in favor of executing a high budget blockbuster. The result is a movie whose story and far fetched ideas are sure enough interesting and often enough entertaining, yet so chock full of plot holes, clichees and redundant action blockbuster tropes that the entire Jurassic World movie itself feels like a movie that doesn't really belong to the Jurassic Park franchise at all - a Jurassic Park movie that feels like fan fiction.
|The park is open.|
Jurassic World though starts off with a premise that turns out to be the most interesting and immersing out of all the Jurassic Park sequels up till now. Starting off with a fully functional park (Jurassic World) that even went leaps and bounds beyond even the vision of original creator John Hammond, it's truely amazing to finally see how Jurassic Park would've eventually looked like if everything went according to plan. Topping it all off, is the fact that the entire park is sprawling with technical gadgets and updates. From holograms all the way to ridable "Gyro Spheres" to watch the dinos up close, you can definitely see that many years have passed since the first Jurassic Park and that technology made major leaps to make Jurassic World even possible in the state that it is in. Aside from some occasionally distracting overkill of product placement, the park indeed looks like a real place filled with visitors and numerous attractions...that is until you start to put deeper thought into it. Thus, many attractions in the park seem, despite the high-tech involved, very dangerous and far-fetched even for a Jurassic Park movie. Kids being allowed to ride on live baby triceratops and brontosaura, or visitors allowed to go paddling in a river next to grown up large dinosaurs, are some of the images that at first might amaze viewers in an instant but simultaneously will make the same viewers start to question how those attractions can even be allowed in a park in which it is said at numerous occasions that "security is their number one priority" - this is only to give you an example of the base on which Jurassic World's main problems arise.
Jurassic World therefore is a very neat and amazing looking movie and concept that quickly though shows to be more style than substance through its lack of enough realism. While the original Jurassic Park (and sure enough none of the sequels) aren't innocent of having one or two plot holes, those movies are basically clean in comparison to the swiss cheese that is the script of Jurassic World. And while the previous movies mostly did a great to decent job of masquing their plot holes here and there, Jurassic World constantly struggles with justifying the many of its logical missteps.
|The attractions certainly look cool but also anything but safe.|
Despite being aware of the events from the original movie, Jurassic World is a park whose new chief, Mr. Masrani, is still believing that all of the park's previous problems can be contained, solved and that it's all a question of high enough security. Nevertheless, Jurassic World mostly follows the exact same formula of the first Jurassic Park movie (or even partially Jurassic Park 3) and therefore, despite its refreshing premise, in many scenes feels a bit too much like a rehash of the first movie. While tributes and homages are frequently made to the original movie, Jurassic World sadly focusses a bit too much on evoking memories instead of creating its own great and creative moments.
However, to at least add something new to the franchise, Jurassic World introduces a brand new antagonist dinosaur, the Indominus Rex. Aside from the park itself being opened and a recharacterization of the Raptors, this is the biggest selling point of the movie. And to give credit where credit is due, the Indominus Rex is indeed a very terrifying new dinosaur in the franchise's dino roster. Being a hybrid dinosaur, whose genetic ingredients and capabilities are only slowly revealed to the audience, the Indominus Rex in many cases is a big mix of old and new antagonist dinosaurs from the franchise that culminate in this creature that literally can be best defined as a "monster" rather than an "animal". And while the Indominus makes for quite a couple of cool scenes, it's a bit unfortunate that some of the cooler abilities and features of it are not frequently or consistently enough used in more scenes throughout the movie but rather like a one-time-trick. There certainly could have been some more iconic scenes in which the Indominus could've cut completely loose with its standout abilities and scary appearance (which we won't spoil here) but for what it's worth, it serves its purpose right in a mostly satisfying enough way since hunting it down is the main core of Jurassic World's story.
|Now would be a good time to dodge.|
Yet the most controversial and simultaneously one of the more important aspects of the movie's storyline is the recharacterization of the Velociraptors.
Whereas the original built up the reveal of the Raptors very well and presented them as scarily intelligent killer animals, Jurassic World recharacterized the Raptors in the form of them now being able to be partially trained. It is very obvious that this decision was spawned in order for the movie to appeal largely to kids who are supposed to find Raptors more "cool" now rather than "scary". While this might be understandable from a marketing standpoint, the backlash or at least heavily polarizing effect from many fans of the original movie is very understandable. Though it has to be said that Jurassic World nevertheless treats this theme rather carefully and goes a fine line with it to avoid making the Raptors flatout look like dumb dog dinosaurs, the sight of Raptors running alongside Chris Pratt on a bike is without any doubt very "out there" and does require some "just go with it"-attitude from viewers. The relationship between Chris Pratt and the Raptors does indeed play a big part in Jurassic World's overall story though, making it grow above a simple gimmick for a poster. Nevertheless though, things get really awkward, cheesy and really ridiculously sentimental in the final showdown of the movie, in which it wouldn't be too harsh to say that Jurassic World pretty much "jumps the shark".
|Relationship Status: Complicated.|
Chris Pratt further strengthens his leading actor qualities with his role as Owen in Jurassic World. Even though he (just like most other characters in the movie) lacks a definite character development throughout the entire journey, he nevertheless makes for a tremendously likable guy. His portrayal of Owen might remind one heavily of his previous performance as Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, yet here Chris Pratt fittingly plays the comedy a good tad lower than before.
His character is well accompanied by business woman turned survivor Claire. Very much like the oddball romance couple in the 80s adventure movie "Romancing the Stone". Claire might be introduced in a very clichee and stereotypical manner (the businesswoman who is always very unemotional and "busy"), yet it's safe to say that she on the other hand holds the entire character development of the movie on her shoulders. It might be a very been-there-done-that development, yet it's ok and believable enough for what it's worth...even though the hints at the previous dating history between her and Owen remain largely unnecessary and make the romance feel at times very forced or convenient.
|This could just as well be a still from a "Romancing the Stone" remake.|
And just like in every Jurassic Park movie, there also have to be kids involved.
This time, these roles are played by Ty Simpkins as Gray, and his older brother Zach played by Nick Robinson. And while it's honestly quite nice to have kids involved that represent helpless characters without any skills or weapons on the island filled with high tech security (making the kids' confrontation scenes with the Indominus the more intense), they are oftentimes the reason why Jurassic World can occasionally feel quite unfocussed.during its first half of the movie. Even though hunting the Indominus Rex is the main plot in Jurassic World, it is in many moments interrupted by unnecessary sub-plots that lead to nothing (except most probably sequel bait).
Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson do solid jobs with their performances, yet what gets really grinding and annoying rather quickly is how lazily written both of their personalities are. While the younger boy Gray is a flatout (overplayed-)carbon copy of Timmy's dino geek character from the first movie, Zach is a stereotypical teenager character whose only interest throughout the entire first half are girls (or at least staring at them). In the long run, much like the trained Raptors, love it or hate it, Gray and Zach are both also integral characters to the movie. Not really by their personalities but rather through their function of being the nephews of Claire, which she has to safe and protect during the chaos on the island, creating an emotional family relationship element in the movie that (albeit sometimes a bit too) conventiently connects all protagonists together.
|So here, either Gray is seeing another dino, or Zach is staring at another girl.|
Taking a look at some of the rather side characters in the movie, Irrfan Khan playing Mr. Masrani, the new owner of Jurassic World, is hard to really categorize. Jumping back and forth between cold and rational businessman and comedic relief character, it's hard to put a finger on him.
And despite his supposedly important role as the main chief of the park, he doesn't hold a candle to the charming yet naive and goodhearted John Hammond from the original. Instead, throughout the movie, Masrani somehow repeatedly is caught in so many badly written and cheese filled dialogue that he ultimately becomes the equivalent of Bill Pullman from Independence Day.
If you thought John Hammond was incredibly naive and airy with his park administration, wait till you get a load of Mr. Masrani.
On the human front we of course also got an antagonist character. This time, in the form of Hoskins played by Vincent D'Onofrio. D'Onofrio himself has to be given credit for his performance. Though far away from being the most subtle of villain performances, he nevertheless somehow manages to pull off some of the most far fetched and ridiculous lines in the movie almost entirely convincing.
Without wanting to spoil too much, aspects from the original script of Jurassic Park 4 somehow found a way into Jurassic World, and yes, these are still as ridiculous, far fetched and just as dumb as before. Yet D'Onofrio still manages to deliver them with such a sense of self esteem that it's hard resist (or laugh).
Topping off his ultimately unnecessary villain persona is Dr. Wu from the very first Jurassic Park, who somehow got a completely new personality given to him. Now being more of a villainous Frankenstein character, he is portrayed as a scientist without any real sense for moral or ethics behind his genetic experiments. It's a really surprising twist of character and definitely unexpected, yet since we already got so little of him to see in the original movie in the first place, it's not really an unfitting character development rather than an unexpected surprise.
|Watch out, Jurassic World! Hubris has a new name - Masrani!|
Actionwise, Jurassic World fully delivers...yet in a largely different way than the original Jurassic Park did.
Rather aking to the likes of Jurassic Park 3, King Kong or even Godzilla, Jurassic World is a full-on dinosaur B-movie whose main goal is to serve as much dino action and "run away from dinosaurs"-scenes as possible.
With that said, you won't get nearly as many well built-up or flatout scary scenes as in Jurassic Park or even the Lost World. Jurassic World is a movie that wants to fire action from all cylinders and include dinosaurs along with it. It's no wonder then that Jurassic World sadly features a great over-reliance on CGI.
It's clear and understandable that many large scale scenes like battles between two dinosaurs or a big flying dinosaur attack on the large crowd of visitors cannot be made with animatronics, yet still most of the CGI and overall effects in Jurassic World feel incredibly run-of-the-mill and standard.
Without the phenomenal mix between CGI and animatronics, Jurassic World is despite its more refined CGI from today's age still worlds away from feeling as realistic and frightening as Stan Winston's animatronic dinosaurs from the first movie.
|Even raptors seem to be unable to resist Chris Pratt's charme.|
Ultimately, Jurassic World is an enjoyable, big, loud and dumb B-Movie with dinosaurs, but a bad Jurassic Park sequel that doesn't even feel like it really belongs into the series.
Even though Jurassic World has to be given large credit for at least including so many new ideas and daring to movie the franchise into new directions, it simultaneously overshoots its goal to such an extent that Jurassic World in the end feels more like some sort of fan fiction written by a 14-year old on the internet.
Thus, Jurassic World has all the ingredients that big, high-budget blockbusters nowadays have, yet it therefore also comes with the exact same tired clichees and tropes that drag the movie down into a pit of so many problems, that it's hard identify the true Jurassic Park spirit with it: clicheed and stock characters, no distinct theme, no true suspense build up, loads of plot holes, over-reliance on CGI, sequel bait, etc.
Once again, Jurassic World's will to take risks and try out some new things and ideas with the franchise's lore still makes it at least interesting to watch. Therefore, despite all of its numerous problems and occasionally very dumb moments, it will at the very least still entertain you with dinosaur action and the once again charismatic Chris Pratt.
Jurassic World is far away from creating as much of an impact or being generally as good of a movie as Spielberg's original masterpiece Jurassic Park. Yet, despite that, as long as you manage to mostly free yourself from any high expectations or comparisons and just watch the movie for what dumb B-movie fun it is, you are likely to just get the same amount of simple fun out of it like from movies such as Independence Day or Godzilla. The entire affair won't amount to anything more than a guilty pleasure though.
Final Verdict: 4 out of 10