Jurassic World (2015)

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Film review of the science fiction adventure about genetically modified dinosaurs rampaging through a theme park, directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.

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Director: Colin Trevorrow. Universal/Amblin et al. (12a)

SCIENCE FICTION

4stars-Very good lots to enjoy 1

Cast & credits

Producers: Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall.
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly.
Camera: John Schwartzman.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Sets: Ed Verraux.

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer.

Synopsis

It’s been more than 20 years since the original Jurassic Park was set to open on Isla Nublar, just off the coast of Costa Rica. Now, a fully functioning and hugely popular amusement resort has opened there, managed by the corporate and professional Claire (Howard). To up the ante, they have been genetically modifying the dinosaurs to create more exciting attractions. The newest, Indomitas Rex, is a hybrid of the Tyrannosaurus and unknown other animals and has been kept in solitary confinement since birth. When it escapes, all hell is let loose and Claire has to rely on the rough and ready Owen (Pratt), a former Navy SEAL, to save not only her, but her missing nephews (Simpkins, Robinson) and several thousand guests.

ReviewJurassic World poster

Steven Spielberg’s original trilogy of dinosaurs on the rampage movies raked in an estimated £2bn in ticket sales alone, so it was hardly surprising that Universal and Spielberg’s Amblin company would look at other angles to explore their rich dollar spinning capacity.

Script ideas for Jurassic World (or variations of) have been touted for at least the past 14 years. With rewrites and release date issues, this fourth instalment has been stuck in various levels of production hell for almost as long as dinosaurs have been extinct.

It’s evolution as a film in the series is likewise slow and marked by the occasional aberration. Apart from the increasingly preposterous ‘take it with a pinch of salt’ cod-science, this is pretty much run of the mill dino fare that annoyingly takes some time to hit its stride, with the stamp of Cash-Emperor Spielberg emblazoned all over every frame. Children are central to the action, the big and nasty mo’fo dinosaur is expertly and chillingly occluded by forest when we are first introduced and there are copious (and frankly, unnecessary) references to his first film: the old merchandising; there is a statue of a benevolent, almost God-like Dicky Attenborough, impassive and unblinking as the carnage that he initiated all those years ago. Even Wong reappears as the slightly sinister and smug genetic engineering genius Dr Wu in a greatly expanded role and an escape that sets him up for another return.

Admittedly, we are now too inured to this post-Michael Crichton age of scientific bluff and exaggeration to properly question, or indeed care, about the pesky matter of factual correctness. It’s all about how big a bang you can get for your buck and one thing that can be said about Jurassic World is it throughly knows it’s target audiences need for absolutely maximum thrills and spills.

It was going to take some effort to out-whoop the older series, but with a slew of new creatures, including an incredible Mosasaurus that would make even Jaws wimp and whine into a quiet corner of the ocean, in sequences clearly developed for full 3D impact.

The Indomitius is a fantastical creation and leads to a perfectly titanic clash with the Tyrannosaurus to close the film.

Full kudos to Trevorrow who delivers some ghastly death scenes (incredible this is only a 12a rated film in the UK as some moments are genuinely scary) and you’ll grip your theatre seat at least a few times throughout.

More head-scratching actually comes from other, more nit-picky elements of the film. What sort of a parent would send their two children, unaccompanied, on a long-haul flight from America to Costa Rica (followed by a lengthy sea journey) in this day and age to a woman who has hardly seen them in 10 years and then have the gaul to weep openly when the end up being left on their own? Call to social services!

Howard has given interviews about the skill she learned on-set, running in high-heels through various terrains, including mud, forest and concrete floors. It shows how much we now accept the storyline that the shoe thing is actually more irksome and ridiculous than what she is running from. The woman must have botox feet to keep up a sprint like this over several hours; Mo Farah’s tootsies haven’t got this much resilience.

Her dialogue is smartly constructed though, referring to the dinosaurs as ‘assets’ and forever quoting attendance figures and focus group results commissioned by ‘corporate’, when she is being asked for a personal opinion. It’s seductive to think the writers are taking a pop at the very suits who would have researched, surveyed and focus-grouped the idea of this film.

Pratt (Mr Anna Faris) is a hulking and swaggeringly sexy hero, presented in obvious contrast to the prissy, workaholic Howard. He has also smashed it on the interview circuit, most amusingly on the Graham Norton show where he practically held court (see this clip of him nailing the TOWIE accent).

Where next for the Jurassic… series though? Dinosaurs with guns? Dinosaurs with laser guns? Dino-laser gun wars? Dinosaurs in outer space – with laser guns? Intergalactic Dino-laser gun wars with a Gone With the Wind thematic backdrop?!

Heaven knows, but one thing’s for sure: the impossibilities are endless!

See the official Jurassic World trailer.

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