Film Review: ‘Jurassic World’ (spoiler free)

Everybody walk the dinosaur…

Starring:  Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, BD Wong

Directed by:  Colin Trevorrow / Written by:  Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly / 124 minutes

What’s it about?

Over two decades after the disaster of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is now a fully functioning prehistoric attraction that’s host to thousands of visitors each year.  In order to ensure continuing interest in the park, the chief scientists of Jurassic World create a new dinosaur hybrid…which proves to be far more dangerous than they could have ever imagined…

In review

For audiences of a certain generation, the summer of 1993 stands as a defining moment in cinema, a time when they found themselves captivated and enthralled by Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park – a film that was marketed as “65 million years in the making”.  Now, 22 years after the release of Spielberg’s landmark production (and fourteen after the lacklustre Jurassic Park III) arrives Jurassic World, the sequel it almost feels as though we’ve been waiting 65 million years to see.

Skilfully handled by director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed), Jurassic World captures the magic of summer 1993, encapsulating all of the thrills and excitement of Jurassic Park, whilst ensuring the demands of a modern blockbuster are carefully met.  Given the advancement in digital effects technology and larger production budgets commanded by today’s blockbusters, Jurassic World is presented on an appreciably larger scale in comparison to the original Jurassic Park – which in 1993 was as big as any film could ever hope to be.  This is a visually spectacular film, with digital elements combined with practical sets and real environments, all melding seamlessly together to bring the various areas of Isla Nublar and its prehistoric attractions to life.

With their being very little in the way of animatronic effects on display, Jurassic World relies heavily on digital effects to create it’s genetically engineered dinosaurs and luckily they appear far better than those initial trailers suggested, being of a quality comparable to any of today’s effects laden cinematic behemoths.  All the old favourites return from Velociraptors and Triceratops, to Pterodactyls and the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, yet Jurassic World’s biggest and most impressive creation is the park’s newest ‘attraction’, the ominously named Indominous rex which the park’s scientists (lead by BD Wong, reprising his Jurassic Park role) have created from the genes of various other dinosaur breeds. The Indominous proves to be as cunning as it is lethal and an animal that doesn’t intend to be caged, unleashing edge-of-the-seat chaos as it escapes captivity to carve a path of death and destruction across Isla Nublar.

Leading the human cast of Jurassic World are Terminator Salvation’s Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, the park’s chief of operations and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Chris Pratt (further proving he’s an ideal candidate for that inevitable Indiana Jones reboot) as Owen Grady, the park’s dino-wrangler and alpha male to a pack of Velociraptors he’s been charged with ‘training’.  Both are great in their respective roles and share great chemistry with Howard as the strong willed women of the corporate world and Pratt as the skilled swashbuckling hero – there have been criticisms of sexism levelled here but Howard’s role branches beyond merely establishing a romantic sub-plot and is afforded plenty of opportunity to demonstrate she’s just as capable as Pratt in the action stakes.

Ty Simpkins (previously seen teaming up with Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3) and Nick Robinson are also fairly well presented as Claire’s visiting nephews, chases frantically ensuing as they become lost deep within the park as the chaos unfolds, whilst Vincent D’Onofrio’s security chief seeks to manipulate events to his own benefit.

Amongst all of the blockbuster action and excitement (and a smattering of humour for good measure) there are ethical themes of man interfering with nature present in Jurassic World which, just like Jurassic Park, are handled intelligently (even Grady’s training of raptors, which could have easily been one of the more outlandish elements, seems fairly plausible), without placing too much burden on the audience.  There’s also some welcome self-deprecating cynicism with jibes at brand sponsorship and other corporate sensibilities in creating the next “thing” that’s bigger, better and “cooler”.  With numerous nods and winks to Jurassic Park laced throughout and John Williams’ themes incorporated into Michael Giacchino’s exciting score, Jurassic World comes with a healthy dose of nostalgia yet it feels as fresh and as relevant as Spielberg’s film did in 1993 and is sure to appeal to cinema goers of all ages.

The bottom line:  Jurassic World is a visually impressive and intelligently executed blockbuster that returns the Jurassic Park franchise to its former glory with a strong leading cast successfully balanced against blockbuster action and an impressive array of CGI creatures.

Jurassic World is in cinemas now.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are the heroic leads in the long awaited 'Jurassic World'.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are the heroic leads in the long awaited ‘Jurassic World’.

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10 thoughts on “Film Review: ‘Jurassic World’ (spoiler free)

  1. Now that it has your approval, I feel certain that I will enjoy it. It’s good to know that Trevorrow has done the series justice. It was an gamble to get someone with such a sparse C.V, but it seems to have paid off in spades. Excellent review.

    • Thanks Gareth, always good to hear from you. JW was a very pleasant surprise, given that the initial trailer left me a little underwhelmed. Gladly Trevorrow really did deliver on this and it’s a shame that he’s ruled himself out for the next installment.

    • Absolutely and with the news today that the film has raked in $500 million in it’s opening weekend a sequel is a given and here’s hoping that it’ll turn out (at least) as good as this one! Thanks for stopping by Mark!

  2. Well you already know my thoughts, Chris. I do agree the effects of those dinosaurs are amazing, esp Indominous Rex. I totally forgot Ty Simpkins was in Iron Man 3, I guess I’ve forgotten about most of that movie already, ahah.

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