By Laurie Coker
It is easy to get cynical and discouraged about sequels and remakes after writing reviews for over 15 years and seeing thousands of movies. Enter Jurassic World – roll eyes. No sequel or remake can capture the same spectacle, awe and surprise of a film like Jurassic Park, any more than any shark movie can ever surpass Jaws. Nothing will ever replace the shock of seeing that monstrous, toothy mouth of a T-Rex or seeing raptors running after small children, with the intention of swiftly shredding them. I have found that helps to keep expectations low rather than to suffer disappointment, but Jurassic World doesn’t actually disappoint. In fact, it entertains even in its simplicity of story – offering up impressive creatures, plenty of fodder and an enjoyable cast.
Opening in present time, Jurassic World gives us a park far beyond Dr. Hammond’s wildest dreams – an island, with a resort and an amusement park of extraordinary proportions – in size, number of visitors and quality of attractions and rides. However, in the ten years since this park opened, visitor rates have declined, so owner (Irrfan Kahn), park director Claire Deering (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the geneticists of Jurassic World choose to create a creature like no other, a bigger, badder, behemoth dinosaur. Claire’s two nephews come for a visit and she pawns them off on her assistant. Meanwhile, animal specialist, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) trains raptors to follow his instructions and he is approached by Vic Hoskins (Vincent Di’Onofrio), who wants to use the raptors as secret weapons of war – he’s the film’s compulsory bad guy of sorts. When the park’s experiment escapes and begins to eat people, rides and other dinosaurs, and Claire’s nephews are unaccounted for, Claire seeks out Owen to help her make things right.
With ample homage to the original film, Jurassic World creators don’t try to out do or repeat Jurassic Park. No, this film stands alone and manages to entertain in a genre where the element of surprise is all but lost and unexpectedly, this new venture does have its shocks. There is plenty of food for the snatching (think Disneyworld crowds) and tenses moments and far more monumental and visually exciting brutes. Pratt is perfect in this role, adding humor and charisma – he is handsome and humorous and has great hair. Howard manages the archetypal career over family professional woman with ease, and as Claire, she literally rolls up her sleeves and works with Owen save her nephews and the park from mad men and the monster they unleash on unsuspecting tourists. The ensemble cast is excellent and even the kid actors do well, which is nice.
Jurassic World offers enough to engage old and young fans. It’s not fresh, but its silly, action packed, dinosaur-dining fun. Visually exciting and filled with thrills, the PG-13 rate film is an excellent summer diversion for the family, although I cannot recommend it for small children. I am placing a B in my grade book – Executive Produce Stephen Spielberg has a money maker here.