Review for Jurassic World
Here’s a number that doesn’t bear deep thought. 25 years ago, Jurassic Park first opened in cinemas. One quarter of a century since the movie that opened the floodgates to the CGI age. It’s a simple concept, genetically engineered and resurrected dinosaurs run amuck, but somehow it spawned three films. I’m an outlier in that I prefer the story focused Lost World to the proof of concept original, but like another Spielberg franchise, Jaws, there’s not a lot that you can do with it, or so I thought. By the time the deflating third film came out, I had thought that the Jurassic Park franchise was done. Only in 2015, they went into the dusty archives, found a frame of celluloid stuck in amber, and from it extracted enough narrative DNA to recreate the franchise, and Jurassic World was born. I had enough curiosity to snag a copy from a supermarket bargain bucket. Let’s see what a 14 year hiatus has done for the dinosaurs.
Jurassic World has been built on the ashes of Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar, and this time the theme park is a massive and ongoing success, countless visitors flocking to its shores each year to marvel at the creatures from yesteryear. The problem is how to keep the visitors coming. There’s a spike every time a new species is brought back from extinction, but there are only so many species to resurrect. The park’s owner Masrani has a brainchild. Why not use gene splicing technology to create a dinosaur the world has never seen, bigger, scarier and more exciting. The Indominus Rex will be the star attraction, and it falls to park manager Claire to make it work. She’s a hands-on, workaholic businesswoman, who sees the dinosaurs as assets, and doesn’t even have time to devote to her nephews Zach and Gray, who are on a trip to the park as a treat. Still safety is a concern, and they’ve called in Owen Grady to judge if the I. Rex is ready to exhibit. He spends his time training velociraptors, but not even he’s prepared for what the I. Rex is capable of. It isn’t long before the ‘oohs and aahs’ turn into running and screaming again.
The film is presented in 2.0:1 widescreen 1080p ratio, with DTS-HD MA 7.1 English Surround, DTS 5.1 Surround Spanish, French, German, Hindi, and Italian, as well as DD 2.0 Audio Descriptive English, with subtitles in these languages and Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish. The audio is fine, with the surround throwing you into the middle of the mayhem, the dinosaur action coming across well, and John Williams’ familiar theme complimenting Michael Giacchino’s score. The dialogue is clear throughout as well. As for the transfer, it’s clear and sharp, with strong colours, excellent detail, and no issues with compression or the like. If there might be an issue, it’s with the effects; the CG dinosaurs looking a little too... clean for want of a better word. You don’t feel the stench of nature around them. The biggest problem for me is the orange and teal colour timing. This might be the orangest, and tealest action movie yet, positively vomitous at times.
The disc boots to Universal’s stock animated menu. You also get an Ultraviolet Code for a digital version of the film.
There are seven deleted scenes on the disc in a 6:08 reel.
Chris and Colin Take on the World lasts 8:57, and the director and star interview each other.
Welcome to Jurassic World lasts 29:52 and is the making of featurette for the film.
Dinosaurs Roam Once Again (16:29) looks at the visual effects for the film.
There’s a little more making of in Jurassic World: All-Access Pass which runs to 10:11.
Finally there’s a bit of goofiness for 2:01 in Innovation Center Tour With Chris Pratt.
Well... that was a remake of Jurassic Park. You have the dreamers and the realists, the corporations and the exploiters (this time the military), all wanting their piece of this brave new world of resurrected dinosaurs, and once again nature gets out of man’s control. Lots of nail-biting suspense and action, as the heroes survive the dinosaur menace by the skin of their teeth, and most everyone else gets chewed up, and once again, two children, siblings, relatives of the person running the attraction, are lost in the park, requiring rescuing, and on occasion turn out to be more resourceful than the adults trying to rescue them. Jurassic World was 2 hours of déjà vu... with better special effects.
Only it isn’t quite Jurassic Park redux, as one thing that quickly becomes clear is that CG dinosaurs are really old hat. You may increase the polygon count, make them ever more realistic, and the same goes for the animatronic models, but having seen them in the original film, you can’t spend five minutes on each one, marvelling at the spectacle. You have to get straight to the story, and this time it means really developing the characters, making sure they keep the audience hooked while another raptor eats another slimy lawyer. And it’s here that Jurassic World falls down a bit.
The two leads are strong enough, although Owen Grady’s shock and disdain at Hoskins’ plan to use the raptors as military weapons is a little unlikely given that he’s with the Navy himself. Having said all that, he certainly carries the rest of the story and holds the attention. Claire’s growth from career-woman to caring human being is the most approachable arc in the film, and despite her ‘stupid’ shoes, her character is strong and likeable. But the kids lost in the park, Zach and Gray are bland at best, annoying at their worst, and made me long wistfully for the more believable Lex and Tim. Hoskins is a somewhat predictable antagonist, but the lost opportunity lies in Masrani, the park’s owner. He’s a combination of all things, playboy, dreamer, philanthropist, but also aware of the bottom line, and part mercenary as well. What could have been an interesting character just comes across as confused and uneven.
Jurassic World is entertaining, bubblegum fun. Its story expands on the established franchise, making more of modern technology, and trends in commercialism. This is very much a Jurassic Park for today’s generation. Some of the concepts in the film regarding their gene-spliced Indominus Rex caught my attention, although probably not in terms of originality, as I was on occasion reminded of Deep Blue Sea, and Predator. The characters don’t all work, but it delivers all the high octane dinosaur munching entertainment that 15 years advancement in effects technology can give. It is certainly good enough to warrant interest in the sequel, Fallen Kingdom, due later this year.