by Matt Sernaker, Managing Editor
I remember the first time that I discovered the magic of Jurassic Park. I was in awe from start to finish, hoping that someday dinosaurs could return. Sequels to Jurassic Park have been attempted before (we even got a moment of dinosaurs in my home town of San Diego), but neither of them even came close to reaching the wonder that I felt with the initial story. After years of “on again, off again” development, we have arrived at the fourth installment in the franchise: Jurassic World. Since the initial trailer, many of us have been waiting anxiously to see if this new iteration would find a way to recapture some (if not all) of the magic of the original film. Could this movie hope to capture the imaginations of a new generation?
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Director Collin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) has created a cinematic world where John Hammond’s original dream of a fully functioning “Jurassic Park” experience is a reality. It might have taken over 20 years since the original ill-fated adventure, but humanity can now travel to Isla Nubar to see and interact with the past in a safe and controlled environment. Now guests can join in the fun at the dinosaur petting zoo, learn how to dig up fossils, and experience these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. When the ownership of the park orders his science division to create a “new and fearsome attraction”, humanity will get more than what they bargained for. The “Indominous Rex” (a genetically modified hybrid) has broken free in the park, and the only thing standing in its way is…Chris Pratt.
To help revitalize the franchise, the creative team brought in some new blood to take the story in a new (yet familiar) direction. This time around, Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3) headline the dinosaur adventure. This will not come as a surprise to anyone, but Chris Pratt nails the lead in this film. Jurassic World is filled with a nice balance of action and humor, which allows him to shine. Oh, and did I mention that he trains Velociraptors? It might sound pretty far-fetched, but it turns out to be one of the coolest elements of the narrative. Howard’s character is the cold and disconnected Park Operations Manager, who needs to save her visiting nephews. While there are moments of redemption included in her story, I wasn’t overly impressed with her acting in this film. Aside from the main two characters, Jurassic World includes Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil), Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3), Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer), Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Andy Buckley (The Office), and Judy Greer (Archer).
One of the most amazing pieces of the original film was the special effects. It was easy to believe that Dr. Grant and the rest of the gang were being chased by that T-Rex. That blood-chilling thrill was definitely recaptured in Jurassic World, specifically thanks to some incredibly creepy moments with Indominous Rex. They didn’t just create a new dinosaur, they created a nightmare! The story is overly packed with beautifully created CGI dinosaurs, with characters in the story pointing out that the new park has over 20 different species. My personal favorite of the new attractions was the Mosasaurus, who lives in the Sea World-like aquatic environment. We also get to see an old dino-friend from the original film, but I won’t give away how that plays into the film. The dinosaurs have never looked this good, and the 3D element actually helped to intensify the thrill ride.
The one thing that I wanted from this film, more than anything else, was the chance to get that feeling of a walk down memory lane. I wanted to experience that excitement and wonder that I experienced the first time I watched Jurassic Park. Jurassic World manages to accomplish that to a degree, with several well placed throwbacks to the original story. There are plenty of easter eggs included as viewers experience the new park for the first time, and we get some additional treats as the characters further explore the island. I think this was the closest they have come to recapturing the magic of the original, but I still was left wanting more from the story. I wish that the creative team had taken the chance to play up the past story connections further, because those were some of the best moments of the film. Jurassic World includes some blatantly obvious setup for future stories in the Jurassic Park universe, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more dinosaurs in our near future. If you love dinosaurs and loved the original film, I would make sure to experience this one in theaters.
ComicsOnline gives Jurassic World – 4 out of 5 reasons you shouldn’t create a genetically modified dinosaur.
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