Jurassic World (2015)

jurassicworldprattStarring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong, Irrfan Khan

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Hard to imagine, but it’s been 22 years since Jurassic Park, the Steven Spielberg sci-fi/horror adventure, hit the big screen and wowed everyone with its accomplished presentation of the then-new CGI technology. Though it was based on a much darker, more adult novel (by Michael Crichton), the PG-13 fright flick still managed to raise hairs and produce goosebumps.

Back then the pernicious prehistoric creatures only killed a few folks, and everyone in the audience was satisfied. Nowadays comic book and video game obsessed fans demand a big body count and cataclysmic clashes of the titans, and with Jurassic World we get all that and more – not to mention it’s being released in IMAX with 3D.

Ignoring events from The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 and picking up the story with the first film firmly in mind, Jurassic World introduces us to the Costa Rican Isla Nublar preserve as it would be now – a fully operational, longstanding theme park with safari rides, petting zoos, aquariums, aviaries, monorails, triceratops kiddie rides, and a monstrous mosasaurus superstar who, a la Shamu, performs tricks from its aquatic amphitheater for an enthusiastic audience of families from all over the world.

So far, so good. But then greed rears its ugly head, and the dinosaurs are further genetically modified to produce more mass, longer teeth, and sharper claws. For different reasons three men – billionaire Jurassic World owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), lab rat Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong), and opportunist Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) – form an unholy alliance; and the newest hybrid, the 18’ tall Indominus Rex, is hatched. And it’s not a nice dinosaur. There’s only one of the species because she ate her sibling… and her appetite for blood is insatiable.

The good guys are “raptor whisperer” Owen (Chris Pratt) and Jurassic World executive Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who team up to save everyone from the rampaging Rex… and all the other ferocious fossils who break loose in the melee. The park is full of some 20,000 patrons, but two of them are more special than everyone else – they are Claire’s young nephews, who’ve come to visit her for a weekend of adventure.

The romantic and family subplots are a bit clunky – but that’s the nature of the beast with disaster movies like these. The characters are reasonably well-drawn, though. The action and suspense are all there, but Jurassic World is not a thrill a minute… it’s too long overall and is even a bit boring in the beginning. But as it picks up, it’s fun to watch for the monster-movie homages sprinkled throughout (including, of course, its own origin).

I watched the film all amped up in 3D and in all its IMAX glory. It looked good that way, but I think it will be just as effective in 2D. It is a large-screen event movie though – there are many elaborately choreographed death scenes (bloodless, of course) plus a massive Godzilla-style fight at the end. (And don’t worry: The trailer doesn’t give everything away.) It’s well shot, and the epic music lends itself to the theater experience.

Jurassic World is a roller coaster ride into a theme park like no other – worth the price of admission and a wait in line for that elusive “E-Ticket” experience.

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Staci Layne Wilson

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