As sure as Jeff Goldblum’s hunkiness is eternal, we can expect that a Jurassic sequel is bigger and bitey-er than ever. UK movie critic, Scott Phillips, reviews the latest dino adventure – Jurassic World.

‘’Ah, now eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour, right? Hello?’’                                    

-Dr Ian Malcolm, 1993.

Well, that’s now sorted. There are kids riding baby Triceratops, a Mosasaur as big as Sea World, trained-up Raptors, an aviary full of Pterodactyls, made-to-order dino-monsters and the rest. Now, I’m willing to accept in this world, apparently the sequels haven’t happened so maybe the punters aren’t as fearful of mistakes, but when is an aviary full of Pterodactyls a good idea? I need to look at the schematics on that one as I’m up for a nice sit down at the Mosasaur show, but I’m not likely to be heading into that birdcage.

Anyway, Jurassic World is now a fully functioning theme park and it’s what founder, John Hammond would have wanted, in that it’s big, fun, slick (it’s certainly spared no expense) and actually opened, albeit immersed within the greedy corporate world (way beyond a few lunch boxes and PJs) and of course, it’s going to go wrong again. Yay!

So who are our lead characters, or the chomped runner-awayers? Because liking them is important right? And if this film is a direct link from the original, it should realise the amazingly real and interesting characterisations that one had, right? Hmm. We’ll get to that later.

We’re brought into the story with what appears like a Spielberg-esque ‘real’ family, two brothers Gray & Zach (Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson) are being sent off by their parents to get chomped and to reconnect with their non-maternal Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). She runs the park (sorry.. ‘World’) as a non-emotive, non-animal loving Operations Manager. And back on the island we’ve got Chris Pratt as Owen who’s living onsite being naturalist/cutie pie training raptors under the watchful eye of some army dude (Vincent D’Onofrio) who wants to harness them for the country’s greater good. Also hanging around, is current billionaire owner (Irrfan Khan) hoping to inject a little Hammond-humanity into the staff.

A welcome surprise, reprising his role as chief geneticist is Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), who due to a supposed pressure to innovate, needs to cook up the scariest thing they can muster- the Indominus Rex. This is what mostly goes wrong, it’s too smart, gets loose and then like Diana Ross before them, they’re in the middle of a chain reaction. And it’s mostly up to odd-couple Owen and Claire to band together to save the kids, and then the day.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way and admit that of course it can’t live up to the wonderment of the original. Jurassic World does to its credit though, provide a bombastic new platform in which some high-level thrilling action takes place. Plus, it’s great to be back on this island, it’s fantastic even. However, at times for a true fan like myself, (who desperately wants this to work) the paper-thinness of the characterisation beggars belief.

How could the team that put this together, no matter how disconnected, lose sight of the fact we need care about the people that are going to get chomped? How can our main character Claire be a mega-boss but have no spark about her? How can it be okay to write in that it’s because she’s a mega-boss she has no spark? How can these brothers have the connection reliability of my mid-90s 56k modem? One thing this does reaffirm is that Spielberg (only Executive Producer which means he put up the most funds) is a master at underpinning real people in extraordinary situations. There is an attempt at putting a couple of everyday folk in the control room, but it didn’t wash nor make the cut mustard with this super fan. Okay, I did make a slight noise at one or two humour attempts (shout-out to the disillusioned teenage ride operator).

There is a superficial, rushed-feeling to the plot. Claire advises us that nowadays stakeholders want more and more from the business, kids now think dinos are just as interesting as elephants, that everyone is now vapid. But where may I ask are their competitors? Is there another 5-star Stegosaurus park next island over that’s got them so paranoid? Yeah maybe, I didn’t remember seeing a Stegosaurus this time ‘round… And really, Chris Pratt needs to teach her to love? I’ve had to tweet Laura Dern recently to beg her to be in the next one, I know it won’t really do anything, but it’s helped me sleep nights.

Throughout the entire film there are constant and direct references to its origins. In fact, everything made popular in Jurassic Park you’ll find it sitting in amongst the large set pieces here. But, it’s chosen to be a pulpy romp and take itself away from the mythology and sci-fi fiction of it all. Pulpy Non-fiction? Anyway, it’s already made a lot of money so I’ll just shut myself up. I just hoped it wasn’t going to be a Jurassic Park on steroids, because I wanted some real personality.

3/5 stars

About The Author

Scott was born in Bendigo, Australia and now lives in London. He likes long walks on the beach with good thoughts in his hair and the wind in his heart. Favourite things: Hotels, renovations, boozy dinners and generally sitting down anywhere with alcohol.

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