Jurassic World (2015) Review
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Certificate: 12A Running Time: 2hr 4 Mins
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio
Plot: Two decades after the event of Jurassic Park, a new dinosaur luxury theme park Jurassic World is thriving. When scientists engineer the Indominus Rex, things take a turn for the worse as the dinosaur runs riot
Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World has clawed its way to the top of the box office mountain and roared down all who dare stand in its wake. The box office numbers are frightening, Jurassic World has earned the highest grossing opening weekend of all time churning up north of $500M. Yes, that means the dino-flick has incinerated Harry’s golden snitch and even managed to chew up each fawning member of the Avengers in a single sitting (yes, that includes you, Mr Stark). It is well on course to stomp down the billion dollar mark and join the illustrious few in the pantheon of commercial greatness. All well and good for the shareholders at Universal Pictures but does it really deserve such worldwide attention?
The answer is a resounding yes. It is the grandest horror spectacle of the year that carries the hallmarks of a swashbuckling fun-filled family adventure. Make no qualms about it; Jurassic World is a horror film. It pits man versus monster in the deadliest of survival games, the survival of the fittest in a time loop spanning two hundred million plus years. Despite being packed with enough CGI to make a T-Rex dizzy, the end result is enchanting and captures the imagination. It’s refreshing to see a raft of fresh ideas brought to the park; rather than just another serviceable remake, this latest edition serves as a direct sequel to Spielberg’s seminal original Jurassic Park (1993) and builds on its legacy rather than taints it. Michael Giacchino’s brilliantly composed soundtrack being the prime example, his music is able to compliment John William’s orchestral theme tune to rousing results.
It is highly referential cinema that often yearns for the charm of the original but doesn’t quite get there; nevertheless Trevorrow succeeds in breeding a burning sense of nostalgia as he ups the dramatic ante. Fast forward two decades, the conceptual self-destructive theme park designed by the great John Hammond, has now been transformed into a luxury park resort complete with fully immersive dinosaur safaris and chic living quarters. It’s as though the carnage and casualties of the past endeavour have been forgotten with the opportune Masrani Corporation cashing in on mega profits. The child’s gasps of wonder have been replaced by the ringing of the cash register; it’s a corporate machine where creatures are referred to as ‘assets’ and ‘new products’ are launched to re-invigorate consumer appetite. It’s a twisted depiction of corporate and consumer excesses as you’re likely to see and encapsulates the pitfalls of human nature. When you have it all, you still want more.
It’s this mantra that soars through the veins of the Indominus Rex, the latest invention designed by shady scientist BD Wong. The genetically modified predator is a hybrid killing machine built by selectively combining the traits from a myriad of creatures from the T-Rex to the chameleon. The creature is an embodiment of mankind’s worst tendencies. Even with a species extinct for millions of year roaming the Earth, the desire to create something bigger, better, faster still prevails. When the creature deceives its master and escapes captivity, the tables are turned and man is left in the lurch. It’s a form of singularity where even the inventor is helpless in the task of taming the invented.
The characters are passable without being entirely memorable. Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt excels as alpha male extraordinaire tasked to ensure the safety of Jessica Chastain look-a-like Bryce Dallas Howard and her two nephews aptly played by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson. The brotherly connection between the two feels genuine and adds moments of tenderness amidst the unrelenting action whilst the tenacity of rogue military businessman Vincent D’Onofrio adds welcome conflict to proceedings. The casting of Irrfan Khan as CEO of the Masrani Corporation is a masterstroke but there’s no doubting that the dinosaurs take centre stage. The eye popping 3D delivers some phenomenal sequences: the whizzing of motorbikes alongside a horde of raptors through the dark forest, the unbelievable sight of the great Mososaurus emerging from the water to devour a shark and the fantastical thought of a remote Orb transporting visitors through a dino-safari are just a few scenes to get the pulse racing.
Michael Crichton’s source novel Jurassic Park penned in 1990 foretold the pitfalls of biological engineering in an imaginative and thought provoking manner. Few would have thought the classic original could be resurrected after the misfires of The Lost World (1997) and Jurassic Park 3 (2001) but Trevorrow has proven that some things aren’t born for extinction. Expect a reborn franchise and sequels, the park’s doors are well and truly open.
*images copyright Universal Pictures