Twenty-two years after the original JURASSIC PARK, John Hammond’s dream returns as a fully-formed theme park in JURASSIC WORLD. The original JURASSIC PARK was utterly ground-breaking – appearing at a time when blockbuster movies rarely generated such interest and featuring stunning visual effects – but does the franchise need a fourth instalment?
JURASSIC WORLD’s main premise is that people are growing bored of dinosaurs. The visitor numbers are in decline and the science is constantly being pushed to create bigger, better and more exciting attractions. There’s an interesting parallel here: when the original JURASSIC PARK was released, it too drew in huge numbers at the cinema. JURASSIC WORLD couldn’t just do the same thing: cinema attendances are in decline, and much like the scientists in the film the film-makers were driven to push the envelope to present something new and engaging…
So, did they succeed?
JURASSIC WORLD, as you’d expect, features impressive effects. The dinosaurs look and sound great and there are lots of them. We get to see a decent range of species, with some faithful nods to the original PARK. The sense of wonder that I first experienced on seeing the dinosaurs on screen in PARK isn’t present here, but perhaps that’s something lost to the changing film environment. There has been some scientific controversy surrounding the film-maker’s decision not to include feathered dinosaurs, but I can well see why they chose to persist with the “classic” reptilian look: there are competing schools of thought on this, and it is consistent with the earlier films.
WORLD has a lineal and fairly straightforward plot. The new Indominus Rex, which is a hybrid created to draw in more visitors, gets loose on the park. There are some children, sent to visit their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who become lost on the island. Chris Pratt plays Owen, an advisor attached to the park. There is a side-plot featuring a company called InGen, who are interested in developing the dinosaurs (particularly the Velociraptors) for military purposes.
The acting is solid, but the character development isn’t as engaging as the original PARK. Pratt and Howard do good jobs; Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson do their best as the two “children in peril” but their roles are largely constrained by that label. There are fewer schmaltzy family distractions this time around but there is still a family issue looming in the background – this doesn’t really develop very much during the course of the film.
JURASSIC WORLD does feature some quite stunning death scenes for a 12A certificate! I’d certainly advise that youthink twice about taking a younger child to see it. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but one character in particular meets an extended and quite undeserved death… WORLD feels much more graphic and visceral in terms of violence than the first film (or indeed the subsequent sequels).
Overall, JURASSIC WORLD is a solid entry into the film series. It’s not deep and the plot is simple. But if you go in with open eyes, and expect to see dinosaurs that you could almost believe are real (especially if you watch in 3D or Imax), you’ll enjoy JURASSIC WORLD.