Movies, Books & Disney+

Review: Jurassic World is Big & Intense, But Not Always Bright

There is a Star Trek meme that has been floating around online for years now. It says “Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Ensign Ricky are beaming down to the planet. Guess who’s not coming back”. It is what I thought of when I watched as Owen (Chris Pratt) set out to look for a dinosaur with two security guards. There are 4 people who aren’t expendable in this film. All the rest are up for grabs, so to speak. And in 2 pretty intense hours, Isla Nublar becomes a war zone with one angry dinosaur on one side, and everyone else on the other. Jurassic World is a big movie, one that should do extremely well this summer. But on the other hand, it is often predictable and not the brightest film in the bunch.

Jurassic World is a theme park, one that needs another attraction (as any other theme park does) to keep things fresh. Unfortunately, the new attraction is the huge and intelligent Indominus rex – a dinosaur bred in the laboratory. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the overseer of the park. She is cocky and focuses on profit over animals, referring to the dinosaurs as “assets”. She is – at least for much of the film – the antithesis of Owen. Owen is a nurturer, someone who spends all of his time with the dinosaurs and knows them by name and by heart. Claire spends her time in high heels that are so strong that they don’t break when she needs to run miles through the woods in them. Nor do they sink in muck. Apparently they are magical shoes.

Claire’s nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), are visiting during this time period. They are sent to Jurassic World by their parents (played by Judy Greer and Andy Buckley) as a divorce is in the works. Claire hasn’t mentioned that she won’t have time to deal with them during their visit, and leaves Zach and Gray with the assistant Zara (Katie McGrath). Zara keeps an eye on them for a bit, they slip from her sight and eventually make their way to the gyrosphere attraction.

I mentioned the predictability of the movie. It is clear that Zach and Gray will be the last ones out in the gyrosphere attraction (which has a fun narration by Jimmy Fallon) before it is shut down due to the dinosaur being out of containment. Of course, they cannot resist going into an area that they aren’t supposed to be in. It doesn’t take long for them to find the newest park attraction. Until this incident, Claire hasn’t seemed to care much that her staff is getting picked off one by one (and sometimes more than that). Once she has family involved, all gloves finally come off. Had she dispatched the animal earlier, it would have saved a lot more lives – but of course, there wouldn’t be a film.

There is a villain here, and it is in the form of Vincent D’Onofrio (who just came off a terrific turn as Wilson Fisk in Daredevil). He is head of security for Jurassic World, but I found his motivations at the finale of the film unclear. And BD Wong reprises his role of Dr. Henry Wu from the original film.

There are some beautiful scenes in Jurassic World where guests interact with dinosaurs. Small triceratops are part of a petting zoo and riding area, and the animals look so real as the gyrosphere passes them. The film is worth seeing just for the dinosaurs alone. And there are moments that reminded me of other films, including The Birds and Jaws. In one scene, I almost expected to see Tippi Hedren running.

There is a funny exchange earlier in the film about sponsorship of Jurassic World, with Lowery (Jake Johnson) morphing names with dinosaurs – like “Pepsisaurus”. While advertising is made a joke for that moment, the shopping area of Jurassic World features names we know very well from visiting theme parks, including Starbucks, Pandora, Margaritaville and Pandora.

Jurassic World is going to sell a lot of tickets this year, and it should. As silly as some parts seemed for me, the film worked as a whole.

Jurassic World is rated PG-13.

Mousesteps Grade: B+

Here is official information on the film:

Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World.  Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure based on characters created by Michael Crichton.  The screenplay is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Derek Connolly & Trevorrow, and the story is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver.  Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

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Genre:                                      Epic Action-Adventure              

Cast:                                        Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio,

Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, BD Wong

and Irrfan Khan

Director:                                   Colin Trevorrow

Screenplay by:                          Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Derek Connolly &

Colin Trevorrow

Story by:                                  Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver

Based on Characters

Created by:                               Michael Crichton

Produced by:                            Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley

Executive Producers:                Steven Spielberg, Thomas Tull