#REVIEW: “JURASSIC WORLD”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
I first saw Jurassic Park on a borrowed VHS tape sometime in late 1993. I remember the experience vividly, because I hid behind my Parents’ couch through the entirety of the initial T-Rex attack scene. I was terrified to my very core, and had nightmares for days. I outright refused to watch the Movie in its entirety for years afterwards. Of course, I loved every minute of it after I mustered enough courage to sit through it again – but for how enjoyable the Sequels were at the time, they never matched the soaring power and sheer wondrous adventure of that first Film.
Jurassic World acts as both a Sequel and quasi-Reboot of the series, taking place 22 years after the original Film. It mostly side-steps the Sequels, focusing almost instantly on the titular new Park – it has been updated, upgraded and even has Corporate Sponsors. It has been running for a few years by the time Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) are set to visit their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the Park’s Operations Manager, over Christmas holidays. But she is too busy worrying about the Park’s newest attraction – the Indominus Rex, a genetically-modified Dinosaur that the Park hopes will excite and attract new visitors. And things only get worse after the Dinosaur escapes captivity, becoming a very real threat to the 20,000+ staff and visitors at the Park.
There is a lot more to it but without getting overly convoluted, Colin Trevorrow has done what many assumed impossible: he has delivered a worthwhile and worthy Sequel to Jurassic Park. It cribs from that Film and its sequel The Lost World liberally, but this is the genuine blockbuster Sequel we all were hoping would get unleashed. The Film is a genuine thrill ride that does not let-up after the Indominus starts wreaking havoc. It becomes surprisingly violent in some sections, but only because the action and horror come so quickly and furiously. And while some of the CGI is a bit overdone, the Dinosaurs are more detailed and so much grander than you remember. There genuinely never seems to be a dull or unused moment here, just beat after beat of genuine excitement.
But the real joy lies in the Film’s nostalgia factor. Trevorrow and Company pay homage with many loving nods and references to the original Film. Some are more obvious than others – Mr. DNA shows up all too briefly – but they never feel intrusive or overdone. While the sequels moved the franchise in different directions, this Film feels like an organic continuation of Jurassic Park. It mines ideas and evolves them naturally. Some feel sillier than others, but some are just fascinating. And if you are anything like me, you will get goose bumps hearing John Williams’ iconic Score swelling at just the right moments.
Character development is minimal, but Howard is a lot better than I thought she would be as the icy Operations Manager. Her Character is the only one that really evolves during the Film, and her range of emotions is excellent. Chris Pratt, the main focus of the Film’s marketing campaign, has a lot of fun in his Role as a Velociraptor Trainer – but he plays it more mature than his wisecracking Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy. Robinson and Simpkins do a great job being terrified through most of the Film, but the Film does an even better job letting them show some resilience and independence (unlike the kids in every other Film in the Series). Vincent D’Onofrio and Irrfan Khan both do well in their small underwritten Roles, but I would have loved to see more from Jake Johnson’s Tech Operator Lowery. He gets a lot of fun bits, including ones that steal the spotlight from the dinosaurs.
My only real gripe with the Film is that there are too many gaps in logic, and even more holes in the storyline. Looking past the need to make every corporate bad guy consistently arrogant, it feels like some ideas are only half-cooked because of how much is going on. I wanted to see more of Trevorrow’s satirical wit past the first third, and would have loved even more depth to the extensions from Jurassic Park (like why BD Wong’s Dr. Henry Wu would ever continue working at this Company after so many mishaps). A lot of ideas and Subplots seem to just hover in the balance; they get referenced often, but not much else. And I do not remember the last time I saw a Film so delighted in killing-off Characters for little to no reason.
I did not expect a lot going into Jurassic World, but I would be lying if I did not have a huge smile on my face through the entire Film. Trevorrow’s second Feature is a wild, chaotic and convoluted adventure, but it is a total blast to watch – especially if you are a Fan of Steven Spielberg’s original Masterpiece. The Dinosaurs look slicker, the Cast is fun, and the nostalgia and love for Jurassic Park is simply wonderful. It made me feel like a kid discovering Dinosaurs again for the first time. My only question now is, when can I see it again?
Universal Pictures Canada release JURASSIC WORLD on Friday, June 12, 2015.