Saturday 24 October 2015

Jurassic World

It seems like everyone was jumping on the reboots and sequels train this year. Mad Max, The Terminator, Vacation, The Transporter and of course Star Wars are but a few pieces of 2015’s cinematic output that fit the description. But, until Star Wars comes out, one stands well above the others in terms of financial success. Despite being planned for a 2005 release, Jurassic World was unleashed upon the world this summer and quickly became the third highest-grossing film of all time, after a record-breaking opening weekend. But with all the hype behind it, did it live up to expectations?

Out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3D, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World is a mixed bag. A follow-up to the original series rather than a remake, Jurassic World takes place 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park. With the public now bored of seeing the same old dinosaurs at the successful park, new genetically modified dinosaurs are being designed at the hands of Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) – his main creation being the monstrous Indominus Rex. When this nasty dino-bastard escapes it’s cage and goes on a park-wide rampage, raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) must team up with the park’s operations manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to bring the beast down before it eats everyone. If this alone was the narrative, mixed equally with dinosaur action, Jurassic World would be a delight.

Unfortunately, several superfluous sub-plots are thrown in and threaten to ruin the film. Firstly, there’s the matter of Claire’s nephews Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, respectively) who are there for a ‘family trip’ and spend time with their aunt but her job gets in the way, causing unnecessary family drama. Also, Zach and Gray’s parents might be getting a divorce...Who cares? We’re here to see dinosaurs! Then there’s the criminal misuse of the legendary Vincent D’Onofrio who draws the short straw here, taking the most one-dimensional, predictable and downright ridiculous villain role in the Jurassic saga. As Vic Hoskins, the head of park security who wants to use the raptors as weapons in Afghanistan (yeah...), he tries his best with the material he’s given but ultimately just lets himself down and really shows the limitations of the film’s weak script. I expect better from you, Vincent. For that matter, none of the human roles are particularly deep and well-developed, nor do they have the best acting chops behind them. Chris Pratt plays Chris Pratt and gets dangerously close to making the film Jurassic Pratt with his camera-hogging look-how-cool-I-am antics, while Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire doesn’t do anything particularly memorable other than run in high heels. The two kids are a bit shit, and the only returning cast member from Jurassic Park – B.D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu – just looks happy to be there.

Thank goodness then for some of the best special effects in recent memory. The visuals of Jurassic World are phenomenal throughout, from the stunningly rendered dinosaurs down to the incredible aerial shots of the park itself. The 3D is used fantastically well too, choosing to focus on depth rather than gimmicky dinosaurs-comin’-at-ya shots. Whilst the first act of the film is a little tedious with it’s unnecessary sub-plots and weak attempts at character development, once Indominus Rex gets loose and starts eating people you’ll be on the edge of your seat. The action sequences are fantastic and although broken up with shit “you’re my baby brother and I’ll always love you” family drama and uncomfortably out-of-place comedy with New Girl’s Jake Johnson, you won’t mind so much. Because you know that Indominus Rex might turn up at any second and eat one of these awful characters. 

And for any of you devout Jurassic Park fans out there who haven’t gotten round to seeing this yet and, for whatever reason, need my seal of approval – rest assured, Jurassic World is extremely respectful of its original predecessor Jurassic Park. Quite understandably, it mostly ignores the rather painfully bad Lost World and Jurassic Park III - but Jurassic World is rammed with references, both visual and spoken, to the original film. It’s a shame Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum didn’t come back and left us in the hands of a rather one dimensional cast, but at the end of the day, the main characters are the dinosaurs.

So in conclusion, Jurassic World is all about the spectacle. The visuals are incredible and, if you have the technology for it, the 3D experience is one of the best out there. But in terms of narrative, character development and predictability; Jurassic World is an underwhelming romp. But hey, who’s here for that anyway? If you’re one of the very few people left in the world who hasn’t seen it yet, then all I can say is this. Two massive dinosaurs have an awesome fight, people get eaten and things blow up. Sold? I thought so.

Jurassic World is painfully lacking in any depth, but makes up for it with a fantastic action experience. 4/5.


Sam Love

Jurassic World at CeX

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