Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B. D. Wong, Irrfan Khan
Run Time: 124 mins
‘Jurassic World’ is the next sequel to land into cinemas this Summer, hot on the heels of big successes such as ‘Furious 7’, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. Released a whopping 14 years after its last instalment which received rather mixed reviews, along with the second entry, ‘Jurassic World’ has a lot to live up to. Stepping up to the task is newbie Colin Trevorrow, his first big budget film and coming after the likes of Steven Spielberg and Joe Johnston, Trevorrow has really thrown himself in the deep end. In terms of the film’s cast, ‘Jurassic World’ boasts an entirely new cast from its predecessors with the exception of B. D. Wong who plays the park’s chief geneticist. The film stars Chris Pratt, who found success with last year’s excellent, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, who plays the park’s chief trainer, Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard who plays the park’s manager. Rounding up the cast are Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy and Irrfan Khan. So with a lot riding on this film, especially coming off the heels of the critically adored, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, is ‘Jurassic World’ an instant classic or is it another worthless Summer sequel that continues to contribute to the decline of the ‘Jurassic Park’ series?
The first words to come to mind when describing ‘Jurassic World’ are clunky, predictable and overlong, but for all its flaws, ‘Jurassic World’ is very entertaining and has first-rate visual effects. The cast is a bit hit-and-miss (more on that later) and the film does also feel a little juvenile at times, but the film has a very satisfying ‘throwback’ feel straight from the opening credits. Trevorrow has, without doubt, created what is easily the second best film in the franchise despite not being able to reach the heights of the original.
The first 20 or so minutes of the film is very shaky with a sloppy ‘goodbye’ scene between members of the family, headed by a dreadful, overly emotional Judy Greer and the film almost has a Christmas-like, ‘Home Alone’ feel but as soon as the dinosaurs are introduced, the film completely changes tone and matures. The visual effects are tremendous and the prehistoric dinosaurs are wonderfully realised. There is a jaw-dropping sequence early on in the film where an underwater whale-like creature (a Mosasurus) devours a crocodile and one feels a sense of dread as something what we perceive to be aggressive and fierce can be eaten up with ease by an even bigger creature. The Indominus Rex, the focal point of the film’s narrative is the villainous creature who escapes out of its enclosure and rampages across the park, is absolutely terrifying. Watching this creature wreak havoc across the theme park is very entertaining and the numerous attempts of the park’s rangers trying to defeat it is mesmerising. This is a big aspect the film gets right – the visual effects really contribute to a sense of scale and there are many absolutely astonishing sequences that also harken back to the film’s predecessors. Woven in to the film is a very nostalgic ‘throwback’ feel and at times, the film almost feels like an Indiana Jones flick.
The film’s main flaw is its predictability – everyone loves watching dinosaurs rampage and fight, but the story is very wafer-thin, one can almost predict every scene and get it right almost all the time. The story is your typical ‘dinosaur escapes and creates chaos, someone has to stop it, massive fight at the end and happy ending’.
In terms of the film’s acting, Chris Pratt is excellent in the lead role, whilst Bryce Dallas Howard plays the typical damsel-in-distress. They have absolutely zero-chemistry together, but Chris Pratt’s performance just about manages to impress so the audience can overlook this. Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays the film’s villain, gives a very hammy performance and right from the get-go, the audience know he is the big bad guy and this contributes to the film’s predictability. Judy Greer is also very soppy in her role as the mother and Omar Sy is completely wasted in a small role that doesn’t require a lot of talent. Irrfan Khan, who plays the owner of Jurassic World, Simon Masrani, is very good and outmatches Bryce Dallas Howard in every scene he shares with her in the film. B. D. Wong, who featured in the original film, returns to play chief geneticist, Dr Henry Wu, in a small but pivotal role.
The film is also quite overlong and the final battle comes very late into the film at which point I found myself fairly tired and drained from a lot of excessive action early on in the film, but the final battle is enthralling to watch and Trevorrow conveys a real sense of vulnerability and it’s a very satisfying finale.The film would be much better at around the 100 minute mark as it does drag on.
Overall, ‘Jurassic World’ is a very worthy addition to the franchise and above all, is very entertaining and boasts impressive visual effects that make up for the film’s flaws. It is unfortunately very predictable, overlong and there is some hammy acting, but the film’s grand sense of scale and its generally entertaining action sequences make up for this and ‘Jurassic World’ ends up as a sound Summer film that is good fun to watch. No, it won’t be the best film to be released this Summer but it’s certainly not the worst either. With Trevorrow stating that he will not be directing the fifth instalment, it will be interesting to see which direction the ‘Jurassic Park’ series heads into.