Film Review: Jurassic World

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The dinosaurs are back! More than two decades after the release of Spielberg’s memorable film, and a quarter of a century after Michael Crichton’s novel was first published, the fourth movie of the Jurassic Park franchise is finally with us. But how good is it really? Insite’s Philip Attard reviews Jurassic World….

These days it seems you can’t switch on the television without being bombarded by adverts for the latest youth preserving cream. All unnecessary, I say, because watching Jurassic World will make you feel like a child again throughout its entire two hour runtime.

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That’s the best compliment anyone can give it, really, because Steven Spielberg’s classic Jurassic Park transported everyone to a land of wonder and awe, while its two sequels damped down the fun with the unfortunate ‘more danger, more kills’ attitude. Jurassic World will never be anything of a classic, but it’s undeniably fun, and that’s what counts.

But comparison is such an awful way of critiquing and considering a film, and after all I’m fairly positive that Jurassic World is the best sequel to Jurassic Park to date.

The film is set 22 years after the events of 1993’s Jurassic Park and largely forgets the events of both The Lost World and Jurassic Park III – no complaints there. Jurassic World, the theme park inspired by John Hammond’s dream, has been open for ten years, but as its manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) very well knows, dinosaurs are no longer the next big thing and sales are going down. The solution? Create a genetically modified T-Rex hybrid, apparently. Keeping in touch with the franchise’s ‘let nature be’ mantra, however, things soon go awry, and it’s up to Claire and dinosaur trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) to prevent a large scale massacre.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jurassic World, but before I tell you why, I feel it’s important to point out some shortcomings, lest anyone goes in with exaggerated expectations. Don’t anticipate another classic in the vein of Spielberg’s masterpiece: the film’s script, first and foremost, isn’t exactly the most well written, as is usually the case when three or more screenwriters (in this case, four) are credited. Most crucially, try as it might, Jurassic World never reaches the level of memorability of its landmark predecessor. There’s simply not enough magic, not enough beauty this time round. This is probably because the dinosaurs themselves don’t look as good as we all expected. There’s a large reliance on CGI and motion capture here, and while now, in 2015, the creatures look amazing, in ten years’ time they probably won’t age as well. It’s safe to say, then, that the film isn’t as iconic or wonderful as its 1993 counterpart.

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But comparison is such an awful way of critiquing and considering a film, and after all I’m fairly positive that Jurassic World is the best sequel to Jurassic Park to date. In reality, what more could we have asked for? This is a hugely fun, endearing, entertaining and rousing film; it never thinks it’s anything more than that, playing its cards close to its chest and thankfully concentrating on tone and atmosphere more than it does on spectacle.

There’s a certain childlike quality to the film, even in its most sinister and peril filled moments, and innocence can go a long way when you’re making a family pleasing blockbuster. Scenes depicting the park in its full, operational glory will make even Spielberg proud, and director Colin Trevorrow is brilliant at maintaining a brisk sense of momentum and humour throughout.

The film is set 22 years after the events of 1993’s Jurassic Park and largely forgets the events of both The Lost World and Jurassic Park III – no complaints there.

This is why the film works as well as it does. Trevorrow, with only the 2012 Safety Not Guaranteed under his belt, was an odd choice for helming the film, and surely enough his handling of action isn’t as refined as could be, but he confidently understands that bigger and better don’t necessarily equate to a satisfying sequel. Jurassic World can comfortably rest in the midst of the franchise as the original’s best sequel: the set pieces entertain, the characters are easy to like and it’s got just the right amount of everything.

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I mentioned that the characters are likeable, so it makes sense to conclude the review by mentioning the great work done by Howard and Pratt. They’re both immensely capable leads, sharing some amazing chemistry together and playing their (limited) characters to perfection. I’m not talking about Oscar calibre performances here, and who would want that anyway? Jurassic World is about the dinosaurs, but Howard and Pratt make the humans just as interesting and engaging, making them fully capable actors in my book.

Verdict:

This doesn’t match Jurassic Park in terms of awe and splendour, but it’s easily the best Jurassic sequel to date, which means it accomplishes what it sets out to do. With a great ensemble cast, confident direction and a stupendous sense of adventure, Jurassic World amounts to an admirable, successful blockbuster, both as a sequel and a film in its own right.

Written by

Philip Attard

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