Review: Jurassic World

It’s difficult to imagine, but it’s been 22 years since the original Jurassic Park hit the movie theaters, and changed the way movies were made. The original 90s movie was the first to take a huge step into CGI, immersing any viewer in a world where dinosaurs truly roamed the world alongside humans. Jurassic World appropriately pays homage to the first film, while forging ahead with its own personality and unabashedly campy jokes in what is ultimately a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling summer popcorn flick.

Like the three movies that preceded it, Jurassic World continues with the concept of a dinosaur theme park, and the ‘one that goy away’ plot. Of course, this is 2015 now, so the technology has improved and we are met with a scientific laboratory that Tony Stark would’ve enjoyed. But the entertainment value of the movie isn’t about the plot, it’s about the execution of it. Jurassic World develops its characters just enough to make the characters slightly more than one dimensional, and then lets its dinosaurs do the rest.

One particular performance that stands out is Chris Pratt’s portrayal of the main character, Owen. He’s believable as a rugged everyday man who was plucked from the Navy to train dinosaurs. Owen isn’t superfluously handsome or brainy, but he’s crafty and witty, and more importantly, very likeable. Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire is passable as a female lead, but are we really to believe that she stays in her heels throughout the entire movie? For good measure, Jurassic World borrows heavily in plot from the original Jurassic Park, so we have two annoying kids that we also follow throughout the movie (Ty Simpkins’ Gray and Nick Robinson’s Zach).

There are two main problems I have with this movie. The first is the villain, portrayed by Vincent D’Onofrio. His character is a military-type who only sees profit when he looks at a dinosaur. Even when things go south, he completely stays true to this caricature, which is both puzzling and unnecessary. If we dialed back his greed about 10 percent and had him show the slightest bit of compassion for the dinosaurs, it would’ve been more believable.

The second qualm I have is with the new “super” dinosaur they are creating: Half T-Rex and half another species (I would say more, but that involves one of the twists in the plot, so I’ll refrain). Apparently, this new breed of dinosaur is supposed to be the biggest, baddest, scariest, dinosaur, which will draw tourists to the island and replenish dwindling cash flow for the park. But when you see eventually see the dinosaur, it just looks like T-Rex but with different colored skin. This is supposed to be the badass dinosaur? At the very least, it should’ve been 25 percent larger than the actual T-Rex (it turned out to be the same size).

The way the movie ends leaves the door open for a sequel. But this movie is better left as a one-off because there really isn’t anywhere else for the plot to go. The way things are left, the Park will undoubtedly have to shut down permanently. It would be hard to write around this issue. Perhaps Hollywood will learn from the lessons of the two sequels to the original that more isn’t necessarily better.

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