The people who live in the Jurassic Park universe must have amazing lawyers. Somehow 22 years following the ‘transgressions’ of the first film (and subsequent sequels) somebody still thought it’d be a good idea to let humans and scientifically revived dinosaurs mingle together as one on a Central American island in Central America, despite the previous deaths, destruction and chaos.
What could possibly go wrong?
Cut to 2015. Isla Nubar is now the fully functioning theme park, Jurassic World. It is a resort with many attractions and plenty of prehistoric creatures roaming the lands in various exhibits - you know, the kind that would never-ever-hurt-humans-I-mean-how-could-they-possibly?
Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire, the ‘I-only-care-about-the-business’ rigid and uptight marketing head of the park. As tourist numbers dwindle, Claire decides to mess with the fabric of nature and chemically create a new hybrid dinosaur to attract guests. Cue the Indominous Rex - bigger and badder than any real dinosaur ever to have existed.
Owen (Chris Pratt) is a trainer on the island, who specialises in Velociraptors. His opening scene shows him making them sit, stay and fetch like a dog. As the foil to Claire, Owen is more the ‘I-only-care-about-the-dinosaurs’ character, and comes across all manly and fearless.
The other key characters are Claire’s young nephews Zack and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins). They’ve sent to the island by their parents, the younger of the two much happier to be there than the elder (who is more interested in girls at this stage of his puberty), at least until tragedy strikes…
When (inevitably) the Indominous Rex escapes Owen and Claire join forces to try and find her missing nephews, who have been swept up somewhere in the impending madness.
Cue the evil military guy (Vincent D’Onofrio) whose intentions are nothing but nefarious. There’s also Irffan Khan (Simon Masrani), the island’s charismatic new owner following the death of Jurassic Park’s original visionary, John Hammond, and Claire’s British assistant. Let’s not forget to mention a cast of starring dinos like the giant-crocodile-thing, or that other-spiky-dinosaur-that’s-not-a-triceratops… Oh, and the mad scientist who only cares about results and is kind of a jerk, etc, etc….
Can you see the running theme of this review thus far?Jurassic World really crafts a world of its own, but to its detriment.
There is so much to establish and setup that no characters get any real depth beyond any plot structure trope taught in second year screenwriting. This vastly affects the script, which is typecast to tailor the ‘all-business’ versus the ‘all-animals’ love story between Owen and Claire, or the sibling relationship (which is just really ‘meh’). This is all for the payoff of seeing a giant dinosaur destroy some stuff, which is ultimately what makes this movie fun.
Boil it all down and it’s all about the action and, through that, to recapture the magic of the original Jurassic Park. Does it do that? No, but you can tell they really tried… and that’s worth something.
A popcorn movie by all definitions, Jurassic World is plenty of fun, more violent than you’d expect, and has an ending that is as ‘deus ex’ as it can get.
…or in this case, maybe ‘deus rex’?