Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Written by Nick McCann
In our modern age of sequels and returning franchises, “Jurassic Park 4” seemed like a pretty tall order. The first film definitely sits comfortably on its own, but the two sequels also had their place in some fans’ eyes. Still, it is exciting to think of the possibilities. But lo and behold, after much delay, 2015 would be the year many fans’ wishes come true. While this new adventure can’t shake the original’s shadow, “Jurassic World” comes the closest it can to recapturing the magic and being a total summer thrill ride.
The story directly follows the first movie and ignores parts 2 and 3. Initially, that sounds questionable, but the film does a good job of feeling like the first movie left a lingering mark. The backstory feels easy to pick up on and seeing the park fully operational is quite a sight after the failure of the first film’s park. But compared to the other movies, “Jurassic World” feels more like a straight B-movie as we now have a central monster running loose. Not to mention other story elements coming into play that are quite questionable. That’s not to say they lost any semblance of a theme. While it can feel like a truncated version of “Jurassic Park,” the plot does carry decent baggage. So while it embraces creature feature convention a little more (to some cheesy degrees sometimes), the plot feels in line with the series.
Casting is also par for the course. But like the sequels, the characterization needs a lot of work. The writing is a little clunky in setting them up and some characters could’ve been done without for the film’s benefit. Still, everyone is in high spirits and mostly radiating fun on screen. Chris Pratt, fresh off the Star-Lord gig, is a likable action hero with plenty of skills, jokes, and close calls. Bryce Dallas Howard shows off a solid character arc that is great to see transform through the movie before eventually becoming a badass. B.D Wong returns from before with a peculiar direction for his character. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see him back as Dr. Wu. Jake Johnson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ifran Khan, and others round it out with the occasional highlight. So while the character development doesn’t seem as genuine as before, you can’t deny everyone’s talent present.
But to be honest, it’s the dinosaurs we want at the end of the day. The dinosaurs look as amazing as ever. Old favorite species return alongside some series newcomers. Of these, the new mutant Indominus Rex makes for a worthy antagonist with her abilities and the many creative set pieces based around her. The CGI is high on detail and the few practical effects that are present look great. That’s a bit of a shame to say because these movies always found nice balances between what’s in-camera and what’s computer-generated. Sure the dinosaurs are faster than ever, but there are several portions that could’ve lent to animatronics and physical props.
“Jurassic World” also sports some sleek visuals. Production values and cinematography look real nice, retaining that grounded hard sci-fi reality that persisted in the other films. These elements come into play well when you just see shots of the park functioning. Director Colin Trevorrow can also stage a strong action sequence. There’s plenty of dinosaur mayhem on display, some of which feel like a delightful tribute to other movies. In addition, Michael Giacchino also delivers a rousing score that brings back the old cues among a slate of new themes that pack a solid balance of wonder and excitement.
I’m very glad that “Jurassic World” came out as great as it did. Everyone involved did their best to make a worthwhile picture after such a long dormancy and succeed more often than not. Despite there being more of a B-movie approach, it fits in with the series’ style and satisfies wonderfully with the dinosaur action. Of course, it’s not as good as the first movie, but I think the movie knows that. Sure it’s going hard on the nostalgia, but there seems to be a bigger priority on the story. It pays its tributes, tries hard to justify adding on to this iconic series and does a competent job in the end.
“Jurassic World” Trailer