Jurassic World

"she's killing for sport."

*WARNING* Spoilers Lie Ahead

 

Steven Spielberg’s 1994 global phenomenon returns to the summer screen with a contemporary twist and a ferocious sense of scope.

We remember the iconic John Wiliiams theme and it remains as evocative as ever.The audience is again whisked away to Isla Nubar, the original island in which John Hammond and company first genetically-engineered the infamous dinosaur theme park. Yet the nostalgia doesn’t cease there.  Throughout the film, the franchise’s original entry is constantly referenced. It makes for a fun exercise in itself, even if this practice becomes somewhat of a bombardment. Easter eggs are littered throughout this blockbuster, which currently ranks as the fourth highest grossing film of all-time. Pretty impressive for a film by a young director ( Colin Trevorrow) and a project that was initally met with much speculation.

Although original cast members Richard Attenborough, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern are absent, there remains more than enough connective tissue to solidify the franchise in this new era of genetics research and entertainment. There are a number of new ( the irony of calling extinct creatures 'new') animals sharing the Costa Rican island which create quite the literal splash. The mosasaur proved to be the aquatic thrilling attraction promised from the waves it made in trailers. Including staple species to the franchise was very much appreciated; there can never be too many reminders of falling in love with the cinematic rendition of a triceratops, stegosaurus, brachiosaurus, hadrosaurus etc. 

 

The opening frames cleverly depict the commonly accepted evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs that is grabbing from the beginning of the first act. For Christmas Break, two very different brothers, played respectively by Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, venture to be guests at Isla Nubar’s brand new Jurassic World Park in which their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a high ranking businesswoman for the park’s executives. 

Jurassic World is a park created sparing no expense (haha). The mission statement for the new brain trust is to  overcome the generational  gap between the last park when engineered dinosaurs was a novel concept; it is truly a new age. Adolescents and teenagers are harder than ever to keep satisfied and entertained, texting girldfriends and boyfriends while seeing something truly incerdible, despite being man's creation now. Accounting for the modern era of science and entertainment are major themes. 

This new company, in true capitalistic form, have not full thought out the dynamic repercussions of designing (how arrogant) creatures that undoubtdely possess more danger than the dinos that wrecked the first park and almost killed two innocent children, let alone an entire island full. 

                                                                                Chris Pratt further proves his Hollywood prowess with equal measures of badass and wit

                                                                                Chris Pratt further proves his Hollywood prowess with equal measures of badass and wit

They have enlisted the discipline and courage of an ex-Navy officer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to train and impose superiority over a pack of velociraptors, only to have more dubious motives.  Grady cares for the animals, appreciates their instincts and intelligence and the perspective space in the food chain. He quickly learns that a war-hungry military leader, Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio) is interested in his project with aims to make trained raptors a deployable bio-weapon.  

Pratt further solidifies why executives and producers are keen to cast them in tentpole franchises like The Lego Movie and potentially being the new Dr. Indiana Jones. The role of Owen Grady is a more serious version of Starlord yet Pratt's charm and sarcasm shines through as the moral ambassador of his pack of trained raptors. In fact, the franchise introduces a 'Raptor POV' for this new age of fancy expensive filmmaking and harpooning the notion of militarized velociraptor with Naval headgear as they prowl the jungle.

Hoping to create a disconnect between the original defective park and this state of the art dinosaur Disney World, the new big wigs for the park constantly search for new animal attractions, or assets as they are referred to by capitalists and military personnel.  The major highlight of the futuristic theme park included gyro-sphere technology that replaces the now ancient 1994 Ford Explorer, which now reside at Universal Studios Island Of Adventure. Instead of having an archaic dash mod, these new patrons are treated to video demonstration by Jimmy Fallon. Yea So yea, kids, if you want to feel extra connected to the franchise, coerce your hard working parents to buying you park fare and head to the Jurassic Park section. Considering the film being reviewed, this advice seems particularly meta. 

 

A flashy, wannabe helicopter pilot has taken over for the deceased John Hammond.  The motives are more cynical and as with all convoluted schemes, complications spread. This particular gaffe is a genetically-bred hyper-intelligent Tyrannosaurus Rex roaming the Costa Rican jungle. The thrills that ensue in this blockbuster are numerous, climaxed by a bona fide nostalgic geek out, fist-pump moment when the original T-Rex mama which reigned supreme in Spielberg's cornerstone is summoned by humans to fight the advanced T-Rex hybrid.

The weak link is this movie was undoubtedly Bryce Dallas Howard and her lack of acting talent. It´s unfortunate that she secured the lead heroine role, a more convincing actress could have shined, with a strong overall film behind her. The many strengths of a film of this ilk can potentially be diminished by the misfiring of a major role casting; this is the case with Jurassic World. Howard is the lone outlier of a more than capable cast.

 

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