D: Colin Trevorrow. DP: John Schwartzman. W: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly. Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, BD Wong, Lauren Lapkus, Judy Greer, Andy Buckley. (based on the characters created by Michael Crichton)
One of the most anticipated re-ignitions of a franchise is definitely that of Jurassic Park. Released in 1993 the original spawned two sequels and an inordinate amount of money at the box office and beyond. Over twenty years since the original, Jurassic World abandons original characters for the sake of the rebuilt park that is dealing with launching its newest attraction, the genetically created Indominus Rex.
Firstly, Jurassic World never skimps on spectacle. The film itself feels like one long amusement park ride, which I am sure has massive commercial appeal. The introduction of the park is even through two kids attending for the first time. Their discovery of the park while its inner workings are being hammered out by the adults is an easy enough structure that never gets interesting. Yet the spectacle is immense. The visual effects are the driving force of the film and for that it is enjoyable. Indominus Rex makes the originals look like play things. There are far too many nods to the original, you’ll get a bit fatigued by them all. But thankfully the kids played by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson never get too schmaltzy, despite an “our parents are getting divorced” cry.
The ultimate, and most discussed about, drawback of Jurassic World is its old fashioned approach to gender dynamics between its two leads played by Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt. There was a clear opportunity here to do something different or even modern and unfortunately two writing teams still endorsed jokes about running in heels and man as action hero and woman as stiff who needs to let loose. Creatively next to Mad Max: Fury Road this is atrocious, but in the context of Hollywood corporate machine this is just shamefully boring. Trust me there is one epic shot of Howard running in heels from a dinosaur while holding a flare, in an all white ensemble. Could we be more retrograde?
Yet somehow Pratt’s Owen is able to stay likable, even despite some silly lines and lots of panic staring. His character is no where near as developed in Guardians of the Galaxy yet his raptor scenes, including a big chase, are excellent. But frankly no one is really developed, all the money is in the spectacle not the script. I am glad Jake Johnson was there to gives us much needed lift and genre commentary through his nerdlicious tech dude Lowery. Himself a cliche at least he was aware of it. The money is already raking in and the Terminator trailers have begun. We shall see if that one shapes up to be better.