Jurassic World (2015)
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Jurassic World is a fun and refreshing addition to the dearly beloved franchise but doesn't have the punch of its predecessors. While the new film's thrilling suspense is based largely on its wow factor, the suspenseful thrills from previous installments is the result of skilled storytelling and cinematography. That doesn't make the new thrills anything less, rather they're more in line with the strictly entertaining posture of the new theme park.
The story begins with a pair of siblings traveling to the titular Jurassic World, the theme park located on the old island of Isla Nublar. They go to vacation with their aunt Claire, who's an administrator at the park, but she happens to be busy dealing with the vetting of a new attraction (a genetically engineered dinosaur) and getting an employee, Chris Pratt as ex-Navy, animal wrangler Owen, to follow her line of thinking. The new dinosaur, Indominus Rex, is so over-engineered that it manages to escape its enclosure and begins to run amok on the island, causing eventual chaos as Owen and Claire try to stop it.
However, with the setting in a popular and established theme park the production is open to a wealth of avenues that were previously closed. Features, like a glorified zoo, can include things like a T-Rex habitat, a water show with an enormous Mosasaurus, and a petting zoo with rideable triceratops babies. And although some liberties have been taken, indeed the protagonist is a genetically engineered monstrosity with all the evolutionary survival and predatory tools in an issue of Zoobooks, the bases are covered with the genius inclusion of one bit of [paraphrased] dialogue: "Nothing here is real. Every dinosaur has been altered with other animals' DNA."
The beauty of Jurassic World is in its self-awareness. The Jurassic Park franchise is one of thrills, bringing dinosaurs to audiences with capable and realistic[ish] stories. You won't get any archeologists finding a cave where dinosaurs have managed to survive for thousands of years. The production team is aware that that kind of b.s. won't fly if you want the movie to get any kind of positive reaction, and the thought of even placing a dinosaur into a modern setting is an almost ridiculous idea. But that's the franchise they've got their hands on.
...the Indominus Rex is symbolic of corporate greed and collateral blindness, [but] this film has fallen prey to exactly that...
The plot is about as realistic as one with modern dinosaurs can get: there's a company trying to make massive profit, a CEO who genuinely wants an educational and fun experience, scientists who care about their science, and warmongers who want weapons. They push the realism about as far as they can and then, sadly, go a little too far with their whims. Just a bit less indulgence would've made the story of Jurassic World fantastic, and going so far as to create a whole story and backstory for a brand new dinosaur, Indominus Rex, to overtake the tyrannosaur is a little sad.
Although Trevorrow has stated that the Indominus Rex is symbolic of corporate greed and collateral blindness, this film has fallen prey to exactly that same greed and blindness. There's too much of a focus on great CG and funny quips and product placement and not enough on a realistic path of events. The story, while it unfolds skillfully, includes good humor, and has characters that we want to root for, is just too much; it tries to be more than it can be but flops under the waves of its beautiful computer graphics and stellar dinosaur sounds, never quite managing to reach the surface. And although the action and those moments where we silently think to ourselves, "Oh wow!" are so skillfully metered throughout, there are just too many logical mistakes to turn this entertaining ride into a memorable classic.
The action is superb, but it falls prey to the modern love for perfect, dance-like precision; the suspense is breathtaking but so much is predictable. Don't get me wrong: there is so much that's good about this movie, and without a doubt it'll revive interest in the franchise, but in the end I just wanted to go back and watch Jurassic Park.
TL;DR: This Jurassic reboot oozes nostalgia from its fancy, new duds and proves to be a robust revival from its prior staleness. There's plentiful humor and action along with beautiful graphics and breathtaking suspense, more than enough to make up for any gaps in quality. In fact, if you like any of the previous movies or dinosaurs at all then as the references push, the pace quickens, and the action ramps up you'll certainly get caught up and forget any complaints you may have. I certainly had fun with this movie, and its worth a watch, but if I want to revisit the franchise I'll spring for the original.
- Acting – 15 / 20
- Story – 10 / 20
- Cinematography – 14 / 20
- Soundtrack – 9 / 10
- Entertainment Factor – 10 / 10
- Adventure – 7 / 10
- Other – 10 / 10