Review: Jurassic World

Let me admit my bias from the get go.  For 12 years “Jurassic Park” held the top spot among movies I had seen in theaters the most.

So when a new film comes along to redeem the franchise after that one big pile of shit that was “Jurassic Park III” (yes, I’m referencing Jeff Goldblum’s line from the first film there) it’s a big deal.Jurassic World

I kept my expectations measured in the weeks leading up to “Jurassic World,” the latest dino-disaster film.  I read as few reviews as possible, skipped watching the final trailer and avoided the TV spots.

Cutting to the chase, a bad idea if I actually wanted you to read the whole review, when the credits rolled I was ready to watch the film again.

I had fun, didn’t have any major lingering issues with the plot and had actually been brought to the brink of tears during two scenes.  The first time was more of a sad tears situation the second tears were of pure happiness.

“Jurassic World” sticks to the keep it simple rule of blockbuster movie making.  We have a fully operational Jurassic Park, they engineer a mysterious new dinosaur to boost attendance, it escapes and a deadly chase ensues.

There you have it.

As much as we need captivating heist films like Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” and ensemble adventure flicks like Marvel’s “The Avengers,” audiences also need to decompress.

This was also a virtue upheld to the max in “Mad Max: Fury Road” (sorry, couldn’t help use that line).  Both “Fury Road” and “Jurassic World” bust out the big action sets and serve, not to reboot, but the refuel old franchises.  They do this while keeping the sub-plots to a minimum.

A quick rundown of the characters.  Chris Pratt plays Owen, someone who is a bit of a composite between Muldoon (the “clever girl” guy), Pete Postlethwaite’s hunter from “The Lost World” with a hint of Chris Pratt tossed in.  Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire, the executive in charge of the park who gets to one-up Owen on several occasions while running in heels.

Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Judy Greer, Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus and the velociraptors round out the supporting cast.

Yes, I listed to velociraptors as cast members.  You’ll understand once you watch the movie.

Now if I had to pick one complaint about “Jurassic World” it would be the depiction of Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan).  Masrani is said to be the ninth richest man in the world who swore to John Hammond that he would restore his dream of a dinosaur theme park.  Very solid motive and I wish they did more with that.

Masrani is treated like a guy just trying to do the right thing throughout the movie even though, like Hammond in the original, he doesn’t fully think about the consequences.  He gets my pick for most underutilized character, needing more moments to show his authority instead of being thrown in as a token millionaire boss.

There are many worthwhile references/easter eggs from “Jurassic Park” but only once actor making a return appearance.  Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) is back as the man who once again is responsible for engineering the dinosaurs and eventually creating the new Indominous Rex, our main dino-villain.

Treading carefully to avoid spoilers, a handful of reviews have said Dr. Wu’s motives were unfair to the character.  If you rewatch the first movie, though, Wu sort of played the foil to Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) when it came to whether the Jurassic Park system was foolproof.  He’s always been a believer in the system.  That in itself gives enough room to take the character in the direction they did.

Wu and Masrani also share a heavy scene where they clash over the genetic make-up of the Indominous Rex, with Wu delivering one of the best lines of the film.

Finally, the question of whether there is too much CGI in “Jurassic World.”  Maybe.  But it didn’t ruin the film for me … might have to elaborate on that later.

Bottom line: This is an adventure 22 years in the making as we finally revisit the island from “Jurassic Park.”

 

Leftover notes:

-The much debated riding a motorcycle alongside raptors scene was treated with the kind of skepticism you’d expect and wasn’t just tossed in as an action shot.  It was handled well in the movie and if that was a point of concern for you don’t worry about.

-Two cool voice cameos from Brad Bird and director Colin Trevorrow, but why is Jimmy Fallon in this movie?  Considering the scene Fallon was placed in couldn’t they have called Bill Nye the Science Guy instead?

-They also toss in a line about why the dinosaurs in the park look different from the modern thinking on their appearance, which states that dinosaurs were more feathered.  Good line!  Kind of gives you some hope that Dr. Grant and Sattler aren’t out of a job (extinct?) in the sequel.