‘Jurassic World’ Review
The park is finally…finally…finally open. Grab a ticket and pray you live to tell about it.
Twenty years after the original Jurassic Park, a bigger and badder version of the park called Jurassic World has been opened to the public and running surprisingly smooth, allowing attendees to see redirected Dinosaurs whenever they want. Even though the park’s owner Simon Masrani values the satisfaction of both the customers and attractions more than he does profits, his assistant Clair is more focused on the bottom line. And the bottom line demands bigger and badder Dinos. As a result, the Indominus Rex is bred from scratch, a behemoth of a killing machine that makes the T. Rex look like a little baby.
Just as Claire’s nephews are brought in to visit the park, the Indominus finds a way to escape captivity and run rampant rand the other exhibits. A former seal and tamer of velociraptors named Owen Grady is called upon to help wrangle the beastie.
My biggest problem with this film is that the first act is a bit of a slog, and it almost turned me off the whole thing. Not much of this stretch was really clicking with me, even the acting. Thankfully, the moment the Indominus escapes is when the film really comes alive, and it stays that way up until the very end.
The thing that keeps the first part of the film from being a total snore fest is the park itself. Just seeing how a fully realized Jurassic World functions with actually attendees is really interesting, and whenever it cut away from that for anything else was disappointing.
Thankfully, like I said when the film picks up it stays picked up. It manages to capture the pure adventuress feel of the first film without coming off like a retread. It’s paced perfectly; though I could have stood to see just a bit more from the climax, I think the rest of the film spent just as much time as was necessary on every development. The idea of the whole movie being a giant chain reaction with the Indominus as a constant presence is engaging, and it’s infinitely more of a flowing ride than ‘The Lost World’ or ‘Jurassic Park III’. The fact that it works as a sequel to the first while not even acknowledging those movies is also a point in its favor.
I was afraid that after ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’, Chris Pratt would essentially be playing Star Lord again; someone who was competent but also a massive joker. Thankfully, this role actually feels pretty distinct from Pratt’s other stuff. He’s got a sense of humor, yes, but he’s played serious for the most part. I also appreciate that he doesn’t totally hog the film to himself. The cast here, much like the first film, is an effective ensemble and I hesitate to even call Pratt the main character even if this movie really solidifies Pratt’s status as a leading man for me.
Watching the trailers, I thought for sure the young brothers played by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson would be my least favorite characters. Not only are they not bad, they quickly became the part I liked most. They feel like actual brothers, and some of their more annoying traits quickly disappear when things get serious. There’s a moment early on where the older one does something most would consider stupid, but I actually couldn’t fault him for it as I could totally understand his reasoning. You know a character is good when he making a mistake makes me like them more.
Bryce Dallas Howard is the one who’s performance I had the most issue with at the top of the film, and while it never becomes great, I t does feel more natural and entertaining as the film progresses. She has a very similar character arc to Sam Neill’s in the first film, but it feels way too forced to start out with.
Irrfan Khan as this film’s equivalent of John Hammond is just as likable but just as flawed, though I wish he was in more of the film. The same goes for B.D Wong’s returning character from the first film.
Vincent D’Onofrio plays sort of a one-note militaristic thug, but I don’t think it was really a bad performance. The guy gives as much of that slimy charisma as he can, but this is no Wilson Fisk.
Jake Johnson has a relatively minor role in the form of one of the park’s techies, and his scenes are the most consistently funny in the movie.
The Indominus Rex is unique amongst the Dinosuars in that it’s essentially a character in its own right. It’s the Dino equivalent of a psychopath and is pretty offputting (in a good way) whenever it shows up. It’s easier to swallow D’Onfrio’s goofy character when you consider this the movies real villain, rather than just a force of nature.
Even if the characters are all relatively shallow, I think a lot of thought went into making everyone at least well-motivated, even D’Onofrio, and I think that goes a long way. Having realistic desires makes almost any character feel more human, and as a whole I think I prefer this group of personalities to all of the other films’.
The CGI on the Dinosaurs isn’t the best, but I don’t think it was at all terrible. It’s great to see some practical effects used for certain scenes, and all around the movie is great when it’s being a spectacle.
Something I found really odd is just how much the color palette stuck out to me. It’s really reminiscent of the first film, in the way the way the park looks in day and night, and it’s unquestionable that the visual “mood” is identical.
Outside of the mandatory usage of the John Williams theme, the soundtrack isn’t too notable, though it is effective at increasing the tension.
Out of the three Jurassic Park sequels, I think this is easily the closest to the original in quality. In some aspects, I think it’s even equal to or better than it. Unfortunately, the first part is just too much of a slog to really love it.
I think the film as a whole is definitely worth seeing, especially if you want to experience something similar but different to the first film.