Film Review Over twenty years later, the Hollywood dino franchise is back with a fourth film, Jurassic World, that ignores numbers two and three and attempts to recapture the magic that made the first an industry-changing, blockbuster ride. And it mostly succeeds.
Whether dinosaurs can still interest the public twenty years later is, rather cleverly, the question the movie itself asks as the now open Jurassic World theme park, complete with rollercoaster rides and its own money, struggles to keep interest alive and shareholders happy.
With kids now “treating stegosaurus like an elephant in a city zoo”, as lead corporate type Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) puts it, the park is in need of something bigger, scarier and a whole lot nastier.
Luckily, genetic boffin Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong in the only role returning from the original film) is on hand to cook something up in the lab. What they get is the Indomitus rex – a corporate-sponsored, ridiculously named beast based on the T. rex with added spice from other creatures that its creator is reluctant to reveal.
This cash cowosaurus has been holed up in a concrete pen from birth and is on the verge of being shown off to the public, though Claire and eccentric park owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) are not without their misgivings.
And, wouldn’t you know it, they turn out to be right.
It isn’t long before I. rex is on the loose and threatening the lives of Claire’s young nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), along with thousands of other tourists.
She’s left with no choice but to turn to the services of resident raptor wrangler Owen (Chris Pratt) for some of his old-fashioned, Indiana Jones-style manliness and heroism, with a fair amount of roguish flirting thrown in for good measure.
Both Pratt and Howard are instantly likeable and make that old love/hate relationship thing work nicely, all the while being ably supported by the likes of Vincent D’Onofrio as the baddie military type and Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus as the control room comedy relief.
But what you’re really here to see is the dinosaurs.
Bone boffin-types are bound to be upset that Jurassic World spurns the latest feathered findings, preferring instead to keep the dinos lizardlike. But the movie addresses that point head on with Wu’s genetic tinkering.
As many of the characters point out, these aren’t really dinosaurs, they’re the result of humans messing with nature for entertainment and profit. And as Dr Ian Malcolm will tell you, you don’t mess with nature.
Pleasingly, the velociraptors are back (and being trained by Owen) but the film clearly felt it needed bigger than recent giant carnivore discoveries like the Spinosaurus aegyptiacus and Gigantosaurus. Sadly, I. rex may be bigger, but it’s not really better.
When the film’s most fearsome creature is finally revealed, it’s somewhat disappointing.
This is perhaps because Jurassic World misses out on some of Steven Spielberg's tension-building tricks of the first movie (that water in the cup) and jumps straight into the action. Or it may be because the real dinosaurs are so much cooler.
Or maybe that’s just the point. It’s the raptors and the Mosaurus that steal the show in the end, along with a cast that injects just the right amount of the ridiculous into their performances to make Jurassic World as entertaining and blockbusting as our first trip to Jurassic Park. ®
Director Colin Trevorrow
Cast Vincent D’Onofrio, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus Irrfan Khan, Chris Pratt, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, BD Wong
Release date 12 June (UK/US)
More info Movie website