Movie Review: Jurassic World

From the franchise that has dominated the box office, even with some lacking sequels, Jurassic World wastes no time as it becomes one of the summer's biggest films. Taking long-time fans and newbies back into the world of corrupt businessmen and roaring prehistoric beasts, this new reboot/sequel shares many obvious similarities to the previous films, like its lack of character development and its usual over-the-top action scenes. Nevertheless, the dinos take the cake once more as the newest adventure on Isla Nublar manages to keep the thrills from going extinct.

Twenty-two years after the events of the first film, the towering corporation of specialized genetic research known as InGen has opened the widely-successful Jurassic World theme park. Delivering a bigger, more advanced collection of prehistoric creatures on the grounds of the once-scarred landscape of Isla Nublar, Jurassic World offers tourists the ultimate experience in walking among the beasts of the past. But when the park's newest experiment goes awry, letting loose a monstrous T-Rex hybrid who kills for sport, the island's last hope is the unlikely team of ex-military man Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), uptight park supervisor Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and a pair of curious brothers (Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins) along for the ride. Tackling everything from deadly Velociraptors to side-bar antagonists (Vincent D'Onofrio), the team must rescue the park and its visitors before the non-stop Indominus rex wipes out everything in its path.  

Full of exhilarating action, perilous thrills, and a broad range of amazing visual and practical effects, returning to the world of Jurassic Park feels both refreshing and familiar at the same time. With a new adventure, new characters, and new beast to chill your bones, the latest installment in the Jurassic franchise provides convincing thrills and fun characters, but still feels very reminiscent of the previous films. That, of course, is both a good and bad thing. While the thrills seemed gleefully the same, at the same time adding just enough violent gravitas to keep you guessing, it's the premise of the film that truly felt like something we've seen many times before. With the whole deadly-experiment-goes-awry and kids-in-peril premise, Jurassic World feels like something fresh, but also sometimes feels like it's trying to evoke the same inventiveness of the first Jurassic Park. No doubt a fun ride of new surprises in the franchise, this go-around may have relied too much on its soaring visuals and action, rather than its been-there-done-that plot.

Speaking of all the soaring action, while this film may have lacked in some amazing plot, it made up for in more awesome dino thrills. From the gripping close encounters with deadly beasts, which made the first film a classic, to the fast-paced chase scenes through thick forests, Jurassic World manages to keep the thrills alive once more. While most monster/horror films today falter under the pressure of never-ending clichés, this film evokes the same excitement of the previous films (if not more). Oddly, as we as movie-goers grow tired of the typical horror rehash and jump scares, we never seem to grow bored of good 'ole dinosaurs chasing humans. A franchise that thrives on its ability to make us smile in excitement (and also wet our pants at times), the Jurassic films never seem to lose their genuine spark of keeping us on the edge. Yes, while the kill count may be excessively more than before, and the violence has matured, this fun flick never fails to give you a rush.

The cast of the film started off looking like a mixture between a kiddie field day and a clichéd tale of a careless workaholic, as we meet two kids (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) who acted as the wide-eyed and curious victims to the horrors within the theme park. Along with this duo of the usual older-brother-is-indifferent-to-little-brother play, we also meet one of the film's main protagonists, Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard). While the kids may be there for two reasons only, to progress the story and at the same time promote brotherly love and understanding, their acting isn't cringe-worthy at least (as some child actors can be). Playing a workaholic whose life is flipped upside-down when the park goes haywire, Bryce Dallas Howard offers up a decent performance, trying her best to be a likable character, and not a complete buzz-kill. In the end, the story moves on (mostly) from these side characters, whose performances don't give much to the film. However, the characters are important enough to make us want to see where they end up. 

Now, for the better areas of the cast, we have leading man Chris Pratt. A lovable guy on and off the screen, Pratt shines the brightest he can in a film overrun with high-flying dinosaur action. Playing the film's main protagonist, Owen Grady, who doubles as a ex-military man and Velociraptor expert, Pratt does the best he can with the character, bringing his own comical spark to the grizzled and silent hero. Very reminiscent of Indiana Jones, Pratt is all work and some play, as he fearlessly tackles (and rides alongside) some pretty gnarly dinos. Making waves recently as he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the cocky Han Solo-esque adventurer Star-Lord in last year's Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt is quickly working his way up Hollywood, growing in fame with every blockbuster role. While he may have to utter a few cliché lines, like every action flick has, Pratt plays a convincing and entertaining hero among the massive dino behemoths.

The rest of the cast, from Jake Johnson's version of Jeff Goldblum to Vincent D'Onofrio's one-sided villain, was not that surprising for this type of film. A massive blockbuster that relied more on its visual effects and nostalgia, rather than its characters or plot, Jurassic World supplied a decent range in their cast, even going so far as to have kids fuel the tale; however, even with somewhat weak performances, the story progresses well and you learn to like each character in their own way.

Overall, the heavy hitter of Jurassic World manages to become one of this summer's hottest films to see, even with the negative aspects that most Hollywood films have. Made to be a big-budget action flick with soaring beasts and racing raptors, with enough suspense to take you back to the classic Jurassic Park, World can be for everyone. Fans of the franchise, fans of suspense, fans of dinosaurs, you all will love this this film for one reason or another. So it may not be a drama-heavy, romantic, or even have superheroes, but Jurassic World is an effective thriller for the summer season, and enough to blast the box office out of the water.

I gave this film a 7 out of 10, because while it does succeed in keeping you on the edge of your seat with endless thrills, the story feels all too familiar as Hollywood scrounges for a tale we haven't seen before. With a fun yet lacking cast, with leading badass Pratt digging up most of the laughs, Jurassic World works well as simply a fun-filled stand-alone action-monster flick. While it may seem to draw from the first film in some elements, nevertheless this film is its own beast, one that's having no trouble resurrecting our love for prehistoric parks of terror.

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