In the summer of 1993, as children, we were wowed by Steven Spielberg’s cinematic adaptation of Michael Crichton’s book about dinosaurs running amok on an island. Fast forward 22 years, as adults we are still excited to witness pretty much the same thing on a larger scale in the visual spectacle that is Jurassic World.
Set 22 years since the events of the first movie, (the movie completely ignores the events of JP2 and the horrible JP3), this movie starts with the audiences being introduced to the fully operational and quite profitable dinosaur amusement park that is Jurassic World. The human characters and their background story arcs are simplistic and help establish the archetypal hero (Chris Pratt), the damsel in distress (Bryce Dallas Howard), the sibling revelry(Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson), the billionaire philanthropist (Irrfan Khan) the questionable individual with ulterior motives (Vincent D’Onofrio) and the mad scientist (BD Wong). Well the mad scientist is a bit of a stretch although that exact term does get flung around in one scene.
Pratt slips into his role with as much ease as he did in GOTG and plays the macho ex-special ops with great panache. Howard is a brilliant actor but the role doesn’t give her a whole lot of room to flex her acting muscles. However she does pull off some key scenes with great emotion that add that extra something. Irrfan Khan has a funny accent but other than that he is usual suave self with the ability to slip into the skin of the character he portrays.
Since the first Jurassic movie, cinema going audiences have grown both literally as well as in terms of their expectations from blockbuster movies. Gone are the days when giant dinosaurs and big explosions were enough to enamour movie goers. Technology has made special effects a staple to the extent that you can replicate your favourite action movie sequences in the palm of your hand courtesy certain fruit and robot phones (and some penguin and household fixture phones as well). So the wide eyed wonder that the first Jurassic Park invoked is absent with JW, even when the big bad villain of the movie is revealed. However this may just be the adult in me who has that opinion. Young audiences may still have the same reaction to this movie that we had to the first two decades ago.
The movie blatantly acknowledges this reality by using it as the underlying plot. At the centre of all the chaos and turmoil that is Jurassic World is a hybrid dinosaur specifically created to satiate the ever burgeoning appetites of the general public who simply want more. The hybrid in question is more lethal, more savage, more cunning and as the mad scientist says “More Cool” concocted as per the instructions of the head honchos of the board. That this is a commentary on the movie industry and humans on the whole is very apparent and possibly one of the reasons why I enjoyed the simple yet poignant plot line of the movie.
Like the first movie, the true heroes of Jurassic World are not the humans. But then again, when you go to watch a dinosaur movie, you absolutely want to see some dino-action. And boy does this movie deliver. The climactic battle between the “evil” hybrid and some other (to be unnamed) dinosaurs does offer some grand adrenaline pumping finale to the storyline albeit a short one. Oh and remember that T-Rex from the first movie? She’s still around!
There are several nods to the 1993 Spielberg classic, some Meta, others more literal. One sequence in particular when the siblings are looking for a way back to safety and stumble upon on the original park’s main building is particularly grin inducing as we get to reminisce through the artefacts lying around. Folks who have not seen the first movie may seem a tad lost or wonder why the older people in the audience are going all gaga about it though.
One complaint that I do have with the movie makers (and this is getting a very common rant off late) is that they divulge simply too many key thrills in the trailers. So when watching the movie you are already half-expecting those scenes to play out and as a result are robbed of the thrill. This is a massive downer especially for a movie that has a lot to do with jump scares and thrills.
Jurassic World has broken several box office records and the studio execs are already planning to milk the metaphorical dinosaur cow and churn out additional movies. In fact, the way JW ends it introduces plenty of possible entry points for future sequels. Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if there is even an animated series or two in the pipeline. Although I’m uncertain on whether I’ll be watching those future instalments, I am very glad that I did catch this one. Jurassic World may not have the wow factor and anything fresh to offer to movie audiences who’ve seen the first one. But it does help relive the childhood awe you experienced when those massive beasts came on screen for the very first time. If for nothing else, watch the movie for that inner child that resides within you. Trust me, he (or she) will thank you!