I remember seeing Jurassic Park 3 in theaters back when i was about eight-years-old. For someone that young, I was just happy to see some dinosaurs; for everyone else it was basically a disaster. Fourteen years later, Jurassic World has arrived along with the hesitation that it will be just another flop of a film. But, I am happy to say that once those gates open up and you hear the unforgettable music—beautifully retooled by Michael Giacchino—from years past that still manages to give you chills decades later, Jurassic World does not cease to entertain, create wonder, all while ushering in a new period of dinosaurs.
While essentially forgetting about the actual and figurative disasters of the second two Jurassic Park films, Jurassic World firmly reminds us that this is the same island that introduced us to this fantastical world twenty-two years ago (the actual time between the first movie and now.) With enough easter eggs, tip-of-the-hats, and self-referential humor, we are welcomed to a newly refurbished island that now boasts thousands of visitors a day–Disneyland wouldn’t hardly hold a candle to it if it was a real place.
We see most of the park through the eyes of two brothers, Gray and Zach. The former being a wide-eyed dinosaur freak showing pure excitement for even the littlest things at the park, and the latter being a too-cool-for-school older brother who is more concerned with looking at girls than at dinosaurs. Their aunt, Claire, is the park operations manager and has supplied them with free VIP tickets. Ty Simpkins, who plays Gray, performs decently, though he suffers at times from the stereotypical young actor downfalls of either trying to act too hard or not acting at all. Some of the emotional scenes between him and Nick Robinson (who plays Zach,) feel a bit contrived and forced. But we’re not really here for the story, are we?
We’re here for dinosaurs.
Jurassic World does not disappoint in the slightest on that end. Our first real encounter with dinosaurs is the fan-favorite velociraptor. Owen Grady, played by Chris Pratt, is in charge of the raptor exhibit. He has found a way to make them behave like any animal—with obedience built through trust. Pratt continues his rise to stardom with another fun and exciting role, swapping goofy-wise cracks and dance moves from Guardians of the Galaxy for a cool, sly badass who is the smartest man on the island. If this movie is any indication of his ability to hold an audience and be totally cool, I am all for him filling the rumored shoes of Indiana Jones. After that, our time with dinosaurs does not let up. They look and sound real. It is a testament to director Colin Trevorrow that we still get those same senses of wonder that we got when we first saw dinosaurs in the original film. Each dinosaur poses a different threat to our heroes, and each of them proves to be more exciting and terrifying than the last.
Once we have been established with the amazing dinosaurs we did not get a chance to see in other films, we come to find that there is a secret program designing hybrid dinosaurs so there will always be a new attraction. Though Claire, played by a comically serious Bryce Dallas Howard, knows of the program and supports it, she does not suspect that anything bad will happen with a dinosaur that is larger and more dangerous than the T-Rex. But it does, and the “Indominus Rex” breaks free of containment and threatens the whole island.
As a whole, the cast is pretty good. Howard is entertaining as the non-existent aunt to Gray and Zach, caring more about work than family. She and Pratt have some great moments together, though they do not necessarily have the best chemistry. Irrfan Khan, apparently doing his best Christopher Walken impersonation, along with Vincent D’Onofrio who plays the head of the security force, tend to feel like unnecessary characters and ones who add to a jumble of crammed storylines. If there was anything wrong with this movie (other than the sad fact that Jurassic Park isn’t actually real), they would be it.
Jurassic World is one of the most well-made and fun movies to come out this year. It is crowd-pleasing for fans of the originals and a brilliant way for you to get introduced to the incredible and realistic world. Though it may be scary for younger kids (I saw a little boy escorted out by his mother) it is an all-out thrill ride from start to finish. So go on in, the park is open—you’re not gonna want to leave.