Having gone through two previous sequels, 14 years of production hell, and a budget of $150 million, Jurassic World certainly feels like a film 65 million years in the making. The effort has seemed to have been quite literally worth it in this case as the flick has stomped on previous box office records with a tremendous $511 million – blockbuster numbers worthy of the kings of lizards. Of course, the wonder of the Jurassic franchise has lost some of its bite over the years, and that Spielberg magic can never truly be revived from the original. Instead, the film it does what all sequels are expected to do: bigger set pieces, better carnage, and longer t-rex arms. The Indominus Rex is a mutant meta-saurus of the film designed to get over the problem that ‘no one’s impressed by a dinosaur these days’.
The whole film is generally on the nose with this subject. Product placement and sponsoring is abound; ‘Jurrassic World’ is built over the ruins of the former ‘Park’ as the new-and-improved edition; people flock to the seats to see these extinct creations – the world of Jurassic is as consumerist as the franchise itself. These moviemakers are clearly aware of the expectations needed to quench those bums on seats, so they play the commercialised angle of the film to its strength. With a Jurassic Disneyland of gyro-sphere tours and baby dinosaur rides, Jurassic World succeeds where the previous sequels failed. Jurassic Park adds to the mythology rather than regurgitating it like some prehistoric pigeon.
Speaking of birds, the visuals on these fossils are exactly what you expect from the Jurassic Franchise. A certain charm from the practical effect dinosaurs of the original is lost, but Colin Trevorrow makes up for this in crafting a pantheon of monsters (new and old) within a fully realised landscape. The volume of dinosaurs in this blockbuster beverage is overflowing, and it certainly lives up to the anticipation of prehistoric mayhem.
Yet I’m certain no one is eagerly spending money on this film for a riveting storyline. Dinosaurs are the star of this film, and the effects deliver on that front. The script and story is fine, but overall predictable. Most beats in the film can be predicted, and every death or disaster in this film can be easily prophesied as if characters were name ‘incompetent corpse no. 1’. The allusions to Jurassic Park are enjoyable in their variety, yet Jurassic World follows too closely to the original film in what is the film’s biggest dilemma. Characters are clearly transposed from the original such as Irrfan Khan replacing Richard Attenborogh as the wealthy tycoon, or Vincent D’Onoforio who becomes the Wayne Knight of the feature. Entire scenes are also imitated when our protagonists watch over the last breaths of herbivores – the love is appreciated, but it mostly undermines the originality of the sequel. This is made even more obvious when the writers include new developments to the franchise, such as the tamed raptors (trained by forever-charming Chris Pratt) which becomes one of the clear highlights.
The originality triumphs over the predictable in the end, and the entertainment is all there in the scaly stars, with the addition of Pratt and Howard’s extra dynamism. Of course, the film never reaches the heights of the Spielberg, but stands as its best sequel. As the film rolls towards the credits, it becomes clear that Trevorrow has managed to make Jurassic World’s bite worse than its bark.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Written by Rick Jaffa
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard
Run Time: 124 mins