Saturday, June 13, 2015

Movie Review #269: "Jurassic World" (2015)

Movie"Jurassic World"
Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Image Source
Jurassic World, a theme park located on Isla Nublar, has been fully functioning for the last 10 years. Revenue goes up every year, but so do expenses. In an effort to drive attendance and attract new sponsors, Jurassic World scientists create a new hybrid dinosaur called Indominus Rex. This dinosaur is big, ferocious and smart, and when it escapes from its enclosure at the fully functioning theme park  full of 20,000+ patrons, all hell breaks loose.

After 22 years, audiences and fans alike are finally getting the chance to return to Isla Nublar, or Jurassic Park site A. Hammond's dreams of a fully functioning dinosaur theme park have finally come true and the park has been running successfully for the last 10 years. In order to boost attendance, Ingen scientists have created a hybrid dinosaur called the Indominus Rex, a hybrid between a T-Rex and another dinosaur (we won't say here what it is because it's a spoiler). Much like all the dinosaurs currently at Jurassic World, the Indominus Rex has had gaps in its DNA filled in with genetic code from other animals. Whenever revisiting a franchise, especially after such a long hiatus and especially one that has already had two less than mediocre sequels, we have to approach it with some cautious optimism. Now that we've seen it, we are happy to report it did not overly disappoint.

We aren't going to pretend this meets the wonder of the original "Jurassic Park" film because, let's face it, it doesn't, but it certainly beats "The Lost World" and "Jurassic Park III" by leaps and bounds. There is, of course, a lot of great dinosaur action, a ton of edge-of-your-seat suspense, and we're glad to see this film combined a mix of new dinosaurs and old standby favorites. Here, we are introduced to a water dinosaur, as well as the aforementioned hybrid Idominus Rex. As far as old classic dinos go, we get to see raptors, the brachiosaurus, and of course, the fan favorite, the T-Rex. Apart from these ancient creatures doing their thing, the writing of this sequel is above and beyond the writing of the last 2 installments int the franchise, which both seemed lazy and tired. While there is a lot of humor still written into this script and delivered wonderfully by the principle actors, there are couple of subtle lines we believe address criticisms of the old movies. When hot-shot raptor trainer Owen, played excellently by Chris Pratt, asks park director Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, about why they chose the name "Indominus Rex," she basically admits it's because it sounds scary and is easy to pronounce. This is the reason why Spielberg in the original "Jurassic Park" movie chose to use the name Velociraptor for the dinosaurs that are actually modeled after Deinonychus, because Deinoychus isn't very scary and it is hard to pronounce. Another line addressing the look of the dinosaurs comes when our characters complain to Dr. Wu, played by BD Wong, about making a hybrid. He states they always filled in genetic gaps with other animals, that even the non-hybrid dinosaurs are not actual dinosaurs and look different than they did all those millions of years ago. It is this subtlety in the writing, mixed with a great overall aesthetic and some great new characters that made this movie fun to watch. It is not without its flaws, however.

While the CGI in "Jurassic World" is crisp and clean (mainly because filmmakers poured millions of dollars into its production), it's very much overdone. We loved the first "Jurassic Park" movie because its practical effects were magnificent, tremendous and realistic. This movie could have done with a little bit of the practical, realistic magic that the animatronics brought to the table in 1993. Though Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard did a good job in their respective roles, many of the other characters were either superfluous or were simply there to set up for future films in the franchise. We're looking at you, Vincent D'Onofrio and BD Wong. Waiting to use dinosaurs for military applications? Come on, man, that kind of thing is just cliché. Overall, this is fun summer blockbuster, the ultimate popcorn movie of sorts, and there are tons of cool battle scenes between the dinosaurs that are definitely worth the price of admission. The acting is solid all around, the writing feels fresh, and those who love the nostalgia of the original "Jurassic Park" film will probably leave satisfied. This is a really good movie, but it's not a great movie.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~70%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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