17th June 2015

Jurassic World (Running Time: 124 Minutes)

Theme park creator John Hammond’s vision finally comes to fruition as, at last, the Jurassic World attraction finally opens. Within five short years, the tourists are already starting to demand more from the experience and so a new dinosaur is engineered. Bigger, scarier, louder and deadlier than a T-Rex, the new Indominus Rex is a guaranteed crowd pleaser until it starts eating the guests…

The latest Jurassic Park comes out 14 years after the last instalment and, as you might expect, has an entirely new cast of potential victims for the oversized lizards to attack. This time around our main protagonists are two boys –Gray (Ty Simpkins, who you may remember from a small scene in Iron Man 3) and his older brother Zach (Nick Robinson), who have been packed off to the theme park while their parents discuss their failing relationship. Taking charge of the boys is their aunt, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), an overworked park executive who insists on putting business before pleasure.

Within hours of arrival the kids soon manage to ditch their surrogate ward and go off on their own. Unfortunately, the timing for their sibling bonding session couldn’t be worse. Just as they decide they want to go off the grid into the unknown areas of the park, the new super dinosaur escapes and immediately starts on a carnage filled rampage towards the heavily populated theme park. As events go from calm and peaceful to the expected chaos and running around, we are introduced to our hero character Owen (Chris Pratt), a charismatic dinosaur trainer who has built up a bond with the original movie’s villains - the velociraptors. Claire and Owen have to put aside their personal differences and work together if they have any hope of finding the kids and stopping the dangerous Godzilla wannabe from destroying the park.

Up and coming director Colin Trevorrow takes the helm of this sequel and does a fair job at imitating the work of Spielberg for the most part. Cinematography is certainly above average and the whole film looks and feels like it belongs alongside the other Jurassic movies. There are set pieces to thrill such as the pterodactyl attack which unleashes dozens of flying lizards at crowds of terrified holidaymakers and a fun nod to Aliens appears in a scene with a gun-toting security team facing off against the deadly Indominus Rex.

There’s chemistry with the four main protagonists too and Chris Pratt is certainly worth his pay check as he brings some much needed humanity and personality to the CGI filled moments.

Overall, however, the film feels a little flat. Much like the bio-engineered lizards themselves, the plot and characters often feel like they’ve been designed by a committee. The divorcing parents, the focus on younger cast members, the couple who hate each other but soon realise they have lots in common, the shady company who wants to take over and the countless shifty businessmen types and even the final shot of the film (which I won’t spoil here) are all tropes and clichés of other Spielberg movies and countless disaster films and often only serve to remind you of better made films.
Trevorrow also chooses to sprinkle the movie liberally with nods to the original film.

From the ripples in puddles to the helicopter arrival with John Williams’ triumphant fanfare playing in the background, to the huge gate opening and, later, the original movie’s locations for our heroes to wander through. Though some of these moments are interesting the lack of originality and this feeling of overfamiliarity makes me wonder if the director was simply not confident enough to stride out into the unknown and make a name for himself rather than constantly treading on the coattails of his predecessor.

The final act devolves into silliness and instead of leaving you feeling like you’ve survived a fantastic thrill-ride, simply leaves you shaking your head as you wonder what the writers were thinking/smoking when they pitched it.

The film does many things well – it’s a pleasant diversion and certainly more entertaining than anything Michael Bay has produced for the last few years; but the end result feels like the result of rigorous test screenings and box-ticking. By making a one-size-fits-all blockbuster, it lacks personality and creativity. This is a cheeseburger of a film; it’s fun, enjoyable while it lasts but ultimately forgettable. It’s not the worst of the Jurassic Park sequels but is 65 million years away from being the best of the bunch.

Written by Smylexx