Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should
Jurassic World is directed by Colin Trevorrow and stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Steven Spielberg served as executive producer.
There is next to nothing about Jurassic World that could properly justify the reason for its existence. I mean, its very title ought to be a giant enough clue that this is supposed to be Jurassic Park on steroids, with more dinosaur breeds, more dinosaur action, and an even greater sense of wonder for all the dinosaurs. Jurassic World succeeds, to some degree, with those first two things, but falls flat on its face with the last one. Granted, the original Jurassic Park struggled with awe and wonder, but it at least knew how to be a spectacle of pure popcorn entertainment, and it had the luxury of Steven Spielberg's careful directing hand. Jurassic World, on the other hand, firmly believes that bigger means better, while cashing in on your childhood nostalgia by replaying almost exact moments from the first movie.
During the late stages of production for Jurassic Park III, Spielberg came up with an idea that he believed could take the franchise to a whole new level, claiming it to be the best story idea since the first film. Spielberg hoped for Johnston to return as director, but Johnston declined. Following Johnston's announcement were issues with getting the script together, with producer Frank Marshall and others making announcements basically saying, "We've got an idea, but no script" or, "We're still working on the script." Colin Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly kept working to get the script in order, their efforts being advised by Spielberg and David Koepp. The final result was a story that is a direct sequel to Jurassic Park, but accepts the events of the next two films as canon.
And that story is this: A new dinosaur theme park called Jurassic World has been built on Isla Nublar, where it has successfully operated for years. Brothers Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) Mitchell visit the island to meet up with their aunt, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as the park's operations manager. Claire's hectic work schedule prevents her from spending time with her nephews, so she assigns her assistant, Zara (Katie McGrath), to watch over them. However, the boys sneak away to explore the rest of the park on their own.
Meanwhile, US navy veteran Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), works as a trainer for the park's four velociraptors, when he is summoned to help take a look at one of the park's genetically engineered dinosaurs: the Indominus Rex. The I. Rex, using camouflage to fool Owen and the others, manages to escape from its enclosure and make its way into the island's interior. As the I. Rex goes on a rampage throughout the island, Owen and Claire set out to find Zach and Gray, who have ventured into one of the island's restricted areas.
The good news is that Jurassic World is the best sequel to Jurassic Park. The bad news, however, is that "best sequel to Jurassic Park" is no kind of majestic compliment, especially when you take into account the glaring lack of inspiration for The Lost World and the Syfy Channel quality of Jurassic Park III. And given that nearly fifteen years had passed since Jurassic Park III, there was absolutely no excuse for this film to not be at least somewhat better than The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. Even though it is better than those two films, it still feels like a far cry from Jurassic Park, going through a lot of the same motions we've seen time and time again, and showing no interest in doing something brand new or at least imaginative with its dinosaur world.
- Chris Pratt is, without question, the best part of Jurassic World, bringing charisma and plenty of spunk to a movie that features far too many one-dimensional characters. Pratt proved in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy that he has the chops for playing a leading man in a summer blockbuster, and here, he does whatever he can to bring some vigor to a role that could have so easily been "generic action hero" had it been assigned to the wrong actor.
- The dinosaurs chomping on helpless humans is pretty entertaining, but nothing takes the cake like a fight near the end involving the I. Rex, a T. Rex, and the velociraptors. My inner Godzilla/giant monster fanboy was having the time of his life watching the dinosaurs ripping each other to shreds, and though it's not the first dino vs. dino fight in the series, it's the best one by miles. The thrills are handled with much more care, effects-wise, than the two previous films and don't boil down to just "humans running away from hungry dinosaurs." Tthe dinosaur action, overall, provides an enjoyable ride that will keep you amused for two hours, and when taking everything else into account, that's enough to suffice.
- Nothing has hamstrung the Jurassic Park franchise more than lazy, inept writing, and that issue rears its ugly head once again here. We don't need to make too much fuss about how the plot is basically an overblown rehash of Jurassic Park, but I do feel the need to discuss that one-dimensional character business a little bit more. The worst one-dimensional character in the bunch is the human villain, the head of InGen Security Vic Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), who seeks to use the velociraptors for military operations. This guy is bad news from the first moment we meet him, and absolutely nothing changes for him over the course of the film. He's just a greedy bad guy. Nothing more and nothing less. Meanwhile, Zach and Gray serve no purpose to the film other than to fill the "child/children in danger" role that has been included in every film so far in the franchise. Them two being in danger is the only reason that Claire has for running around with Owen, and I applaud Bryce Dallas Howard for doing the best she can to not make her character seem totally useless.
So yeah, the flat characterization is one sign of the lackluster screenplay, with another one being the number of moments taken straight out of Jurassic Park, such as a T-Rex eating a goat and our two main characters tending to an injured dinosaur. These moments don't come off as paying homage to the franchise's first film; instead, they come off as lazy repetition, suggesting that screenwriters Connolly, Trevorrow, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver didn't want to spend time thinking up original ideas, so they decided to recycle old ones, thinking to themselves, "people liked seeing these moment in Jurassic Park, so they should like seeing these moments in our movie too!" How in the world did this screenplay take so long to get figured out?
It's probably a little too harsh to call Jurassic World a mediocre summer blockbuster. It has the right kind of leading man in Chris Pratt, and the CGI effects are top notch, right where the franchise needs them to be in order to be successful. But the kind of screenplay that the movie has would easily lay the groundwork for a mediocre summer blockbuster, making it all the more appalling that it took this long for the movie to get made. They waded through potential idea after potential idea, just to arrive at a final product that looks highly derivative of Jurassic Park. Though Jurassic World is far from being one of the worst summer blockbusters I've ever seen, it ought to be further proof of how creativity and originality have evaded this franchise for years. The worst part of it all is that Fallen Kingdom has shown no signs of improvement.
Recommend? If you're a huge fan of Jurassic Park and the franchise as a whole, then go for it. Otherwise, I'd only recommend it for a fairly diverting two hours.
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