Director: Colin Trevorrow Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard & Ty Simpkins Synopsis: Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitors’ interest, which backfires horribly Rating: 12A Run time: 124 minutes Release date: 11 June (UK)
22 years have passed since Steven Spielberg allowed audiences to step foot inside the world’s greatest amusement park and in that time, the cinematic landscape has changed significantly. Dinosaurs aren’t the spectacle they used to be, and audiences are now very much accustomed to city’s being pummelled and planet’s being destroyed. Even those elements just listed are nothing compared to superheroes fighting off alien invasions, transforming robots battling one another and humans doing the impossible with very fast cars. Despite Jurassic World having an in-built audience, its chances of success were not necessarily guaranteed.
Much like this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road, a long time has passed since the series saw its glory days. The new generation of cinemagoers are hooked on yearly sequels and a more is more approach to filmmaking, with sequels getting green lit after one spectacular weekend. Again, as with Mad Max: Fury Road, time has been less of a hindrance to the series and more of an advantage. It has allowed a sense of nostalgia to fill the series and, even with two suspect sequels, the youngsters who saw the park open in 1993 are now revisiting it in the hope that John Hammond’s dream of a fully functioning park has come to life.
After a brief opening featuring two of the films main characters, we are thrust into the living and breathing world of a theme park where dinosaurs are the main attraction. Everything you would expect from a zoo/amusement park is here; petting zoos, rides and shows all feature, while gore hounds can press up against the glass and see a Tyrannosaurus Rex feed on an unfortunate goat. The park really feels alive now, helping to convey a sense of wonder similar to that of the 1993 original. It’s recreating this sense of wonder that really helps Jurassic World stand out from the crowd.
Modern audiences may have grown used to the various perils that are so often conveyed in today’s films, and one does perhaps wonder if we are maybe growing immune to the constant threats that seem to want to cause wanton destruction to our planet. But Jurassic World has perhaps bucked the trend slightly, and has highlighted why audiences go to the cinema; to be entertained. It’s all very well to seek deeper meanings in films and to look at them in the grand scheme of things, but films like Jaws, Star Wars & Jurassic Park work so well because they can stun audiences of any age.
It’s not impossible to imagine that director Colin Trevorrow was brought up on films like these, and it is why his film is one part reboot and one part love letter to the original Jurassic Park. Perhaps that is a touch too sentimental for some, but Trevorrow borrows many scenes from Steven Spielberg’s original, while giving them their own twist. Fans of the first film in the series will likely easily spot the various homage’s to the series’ past, while no doubt acknowledging that Trevorrow has also crafted a superb film in the process. He has even managed to sweep the poorly received sequels to one side, with Jurassic World acting as a more natural successor to Spielberg’s Jurassic Park.
It’s with an almost old-school vibe, that Trevorrow has approached the film. Chris Pratt is the grizzly alpha male, while Bryce Dallas-Howard is the park manager struggling to juggle the various aspects going on in her life right now. Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson are her young nephews who have VIP access to the various attractions around the park, while Vincent D’Onofrio is the human antagonist of the film. Howard’s character gets the closest thing to a character arc, as she shifts from damsel in distress to putting her life on the line when she’s needed the most. While the characters themselves may not be as interesting as Dr.’s Grant, Mitchell and Sattler, Jurassic World seems more than content to play up the old adventure types we may have seen in Indiana Jones.
As far as adventure films and films starring monsters go, Jurassic World is immediately up there with the best of them. The film cleverly manages to reboot the series, while leaving the door potentially open for sequels, and creates a sense of wonder that many will have forgotten can be had at the cinema. At its worst, it sticks too closely to Jurassic Park to feel original, but at its best, Jurassic World is a reminder of how good cinema can be in creating that childlike sense of awe we all once had.
In summary: Jurassic World is a brilliant summer blockbuster release, and pushes Mad Max: Fury Road for the film of the year award.