Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Jurassic World is finally open.
Twenty-two years after the disastrous events captured in the original film, the dino-rampant “Jurassic Park,” rebranded as “Jurassic World,” is now a more safe and secure dinosaur attraction destination on the same island, Isla Nublar. And what fully-realized dinosaur theme park would be complete without a baby dino petting zoo, holographic info-center and celebrity appearances? The park (and evidently, the movie) could even give Disneyland a run for its money.
But it’s not long before the park’s “Days Without Incident” calendar turns back to zero. In “Jurassic World,” the park’s run-of-the-mill dinosaurs aren’t exciting enough for the casual consumer. The attractions “need more teeth,” so the park’s manager, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), urges scientists to secretly create Indominus Rex, a genetic hybrid. With spliced genes, the Indominus escapes, and the park’s resident raptor whisperer, Owen (Chris Pratt), must hunt it down.
Despite Owen’s heroics, the real star is Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire.She spends most of the film balancing her work and her time with her nephews. Though she starts out as a straightforward businesswoman, she transforms into an alpha who goes nose-to-nose with the dinosaurs themselves.
Pratt’s Owen is a cross between the wary Dr. Grant of the original “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars’” suave Han Solo. With the simplicity of the plot, Owen and Claire have a romantic historybut no chemistry, leaving some scenes between them feeling disjointed. Jake Johnson, also from “New Girl,” breaks up much of the film’s tension as Lowery, a techie clad in a t-shirt bearing the original “Jurassic Park” logo.
The film accentuates the high points of the franchise — dinosaur fights and species interaction — and leaves the lows — raptor nightmares and unnecessary gymnastics. Exchanging a handful of experts that populated Jurassic Park in the original for thousands of patrons, the park now has more action fodder. The wealth of victims causes a shortage of character development, but the movie isn’t about the people, anyway.
But of course, the true scene-stealers are the dinosaurs. With an innovative combination of animatronics and CGI, as should be expected, the dinosaurs are brighter and more realistic than they were in any of the previous movies. “Jurassic World” also relies on motion capture for the close up shots, so the seemingly identical creatures appear even more life-like and responsive.
As summer action flicks often do, “Jurassic World” perpetuates the idea that tampering with science is going to be humanity’sdownfall. The plot’s simplicity makes the first two acts feel slow, and the action doesn’t pick up until the final half hour or so.
At times, the film feels like a cash-grab, with its carefully placed Mercedes Benz and Coca Colas, and stadiums brought to you by AT&T.“Jurassic World” preys on nostalgia, with portions of it feeling eerily similar to the original, like a chase through the now vine-filled old park. Even most of the characters feel copied and pasted.In one scene, Owen accuses Claire of being the new Dr. Hammond, the park’s creator who was solely responsible for the disastrous events of the first film. Despite this, most of the film paints a new picture with flecks of the old, such as brushes of the iconic John Williams scoreand the familiar feel of the wide shots of the island.
The film grabs you with stunningvisuals and a showdown finale that gnashes the other endings between its jaws. When it comes to “more teeth,” this film has teeth to spare.