Review – Jurassic World

Poster for 2015 action-adventure film Jurassic World

Genre: Adventure
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 12th June 2015
Runtime: 124 minutes
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer
Synopsis: When a genetically engineered dinosaur escapes, the whole of Isla Nubar is under threat.

 

 

This summer at the cinema is a blockbuster collection of remakes, reboots and re-imaginings of classic films. Amongst those is Jurassic World, which takes the world Spielberg brought to life in 1993 and puts a whole new spin on it. This time, the dinosaurs are out in force and the park is active.

Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is in charge of the running of the Jurassic World park and has just marshalled Dr Wu (BD Wong) through the creation of a new attraction – the Indominus Rex – which inevitably gets loose. Meanwhile, ex-military man Owen (Chris Pratt) has been brought into train the velociraptors, leading security head Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) to question whether they could have a military application.

Unlike in his lo-fi indie debut Safety Not Guaranteed, director Colin Trevorrow places his focus squarely on spectacle over characters for Jurassic World. The dinosaurs are bigger, louder and more impressive, though the CGI-heavy design loses a lot of the heart and charm of Spielberg’s animatronic beasties. The Indominus Rex, wisely kept mostly concealed in trailers, is a mammoth creation and a self-referential step up from the dinos of the past.

| "Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat."

Self-referential humour is a vein that runs through the entirety of Jurassic World.  The entire narrative of the film focuses on the need to make something bigger and better as audiences get bored, which is a concern that completely consumes the movie. For all of its genuinely spectacular action, particularly in the impressive finale, Jurassic World often seems too keen to pay lip service to its own insurmountable task.

The performances, for what they are, are perfectly fine. Unfortunately, neither Chris Pratt’s Owen or Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire are written as fully-formed characters, which leaves the actors struggling. That said, both performers have a great deal of fun with their roles, with Pratt’s natural charm almost masking the casual misogyny of his character. Jake Johnson, who appeared in Safety Not Guaranteed, gets many of the best moments, essentially playing the part of the franchise’s fans watching in their cinema seats.

The buzzword, it seems, for Jurassic World was always “fun”. It doesn’t have the emotional heft of Spielberg’s original and its commentary on its own futility is rather short-lived. However, there isn’t a dull moment in the film’s two hours of running time. The action scenes are frenetic and gripping, even if they lack the mastery of suspense that made the first film’s set pieces instantly iconic.

| "The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control."

In a crowded blockbuster field, there’s very little to mark Jurassic World out as a great film. It’s not particularly memorable – even within the context of its own franchise – and it certainly doesn’t have much worth unpicking from a thematic perspective. However, it fulfils the most basic tenet of popcorn cinema – it’s a really fun two hours.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Pop!

Given the disappointment of several big franchise pictures this year, Jurassic World comes as a welcome relief. Despite poor characterisation, it delivers on spectacle.

It lacks the charm of Spielberg’s classic and particularly his practical effects. However, the CGI is beautifully realised and genuinely impressive, especially in the bonkers third act.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

3 thoughts on “Review – Jurassic World

  • 15/07/2015 at 21:01
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    Nice review. I have to say I agree with the flat characterization but I didn’t mind that. It was a roller coaster and I loved it for that. No Oscar winning writing that’s for sure.

    Reply
  • 15/07/2015 at 22:51
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    I agree, too many non-moving moments that only succeed in fulfilling a stereotype, but no-one in production thought, “wait, this is terrible acting” or “this doesn’t help the story move in any direction”. I’m thinking especially of when the older brother sees the really pretty girl in the queue and smiles at her, then she gets on the ride and we never see her again; like they thought they have to show his interest in girls because that’s what teenage boys are into, so let’s do it…. The two brothers’ lack of character is just an example.

    Reply
  • 16/07/2015 at 05:07
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    Great review, I agree on all your points. Going in I wasn’t expected anything too deep, just a fun summer blockbuster which is exactly what it delivered for me.

    Reply

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