Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Lauren Lapkus
Release Date: June 12, 2015
Colin Trevorrow, director of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, attempts the impossible and reboots a franchise we haven’t seen in 14 years. It may not be as magical as Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, but it might be just as fun.
Jurassic World holds back its dinosaurs for a slim exposition, in which we meet Claire, Bryce Dallas Howard’s rigid, profit-minded amusement park runner. She’s clad in sterile white, and feels the gulf between her and her nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson), sent by their parents to spend time with their absent, business-obsessed aunt in the world’s only awe-inspiring real dinosaur theme park.
Once we’re requisitely introduced to our main characters and why we’re not dealing with “spare no expense” Park, but “look at what technology can do” World, we revisit our old favorites. Stegosauruses, tyrannosaurus rex, various pteranodons, triceratops, and of course, velociraptors who are quasi-trained by Chris Pratt, a dinosaur whisperer/sympathizer who loos like Indiana Jones on a safari. It’s true that Trevorrow’s CGI dinosaurs look more realistic than Spielberg’s initial animatronics, but their glossy finish is less sincere. But World isn’t angling for sincerity. It’s got jaws, claws and brawls on its mind.
Only Spielberg knows how to make an adult feel like a dumbstruck child again. Trevorrow’s version doesn’t operate on that unique level. World is unique in that Starbucks, Verizon and a slew of placed products make bold appearances, often destroyed by genetically modified ‘sauruses without shame. It’s regrettable that Howard and Pratt don’t sizzle with chemistry, the latter underutilized as what critics’ young and old, near and far have dubbed the new Harrison Ford. Even Vincent D’Onofrio’s dinosaur-abusing villain feels discombobulated and artificial. There is a lot to lament. But all shortfalls accounted for, there are reasons to love Jurassic World:
The Indominus rex — The park’s geneticists have tinkered with a variety of species’ genomes to invent a bigger, badder, sadistic killing machine. The Indominus bears thrills and jumps that have you bursting out of your seat. (Spoiler alert: it also gives way to some dinosaur-on-dinosaur fighting for the ages.)
No apologies — Trevorrow knows nothing can top the original’s sheer wonder. Self-references, abounding zietgeistery, and that trademark Awkward Millennial humor (thanks to Jake Johnson) make Jurassic World both a dedication to the memory of the original, and pure blockbuster candy for all.
Dinosaurs — Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs. Whether made-up or pulled straight from the past, everyone loves a good reptilian beast gone berserk.
Although World can’t match the spectacle of Park, it packs a taloned punch. It’s feisty enough for those dedicated to the original — hearing that theme song swell alone gurgles up a stomach-pitted sense of nostalgia. And perhaps it’s even more thrilling as Gen Z’s introduction into the best dinosaur movie franchise ever.