Jurassic World is the fourth one about the dinosaurs who go crazy ape bonkers, killing loads of humans. You’d think they’d learn, right?
The first one, Jurassic Park, managed to close the place BEFORE it even opened, while the second one, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, sent a research team off to a second site (labelled, as you’d expect, Site B) to study the dinosaurs there until another team turned up and upset the apple cart. Then we had Jurassic Park III, where William H Macy conned Sam Neill – as he needed a dinosaur expert – to go over to Site B just so he could find his lost son. It was not a great ‘threequel’, but then again, while I loved the first one, the second one also sucked big-time. And there we come to Jurassic World, set on Isla Nublar where the first film took place. It’s 22 years since the original movie, so have they finally got things right? That is for both the people running the theme part AND those making the film? Well…
The big new shiny thing about Jurassic World is that the park now has something better than a T-Rex – an Indominus Rex, which is basically part-T-Rex and part-something else which comes in a revelation late on, but just looks like a T-Rex in an off-white colour, perhaps like something you’d buy from Ikea if they sold dinosaurs. Then again, I say it comes in a relevation; to the script it would be classed as a ‘reveal’, yet to this audience member it was just okay, and allowed the film to eek another five minutes running time.
One telling line from Bryce Dallas Howard gets early on, as ‘Stuck-Up Business Lady In A Prim And Proper White Dress’ Claire, is about how customer attendance has dropped over the years because people simply aren’t that impressed by bog-standard dinosaurs, hence the only thing that would cause a spike in numbers again would be an all-new hybrid, and that struck a chord with me because, while the first movie was an incredible sight, subsequent ones have not been, so even though you get dinosaurs acting like dinosaurs would do if they came back to live on the Earth, for the most part I was left thinking, “So what?”
Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy) is ‘dinosaur whisperer’ Owen, who can somehow make them listen to what he has to say. Not quite a ‘Doctor Dolittle’, however, more so that he can try and train them to calm them down a bit and stop them eating members of staff. Vincent D’Onofrio is typical cardboard cut-out baddie Hoskins, and while D’Onofrio is usually well worth a watch – and came to the fore so well as Private Leonard Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket, here he simply turned up to collect the cheque, shoot his scenes and exit stage left. Irrfan Khan plays billionaire Simon Masrani, who has funded the creation of Jurassic World, and inbetween banging on about John Hammond and his work, he’s also a trainee helicopter pilot. And I knew I’d seen BD Wong before, here as head of the genetics lab Dr Henry Wu, and on checking afterwards I was reminded he played Father Ray Mukada in the wonderful HBO prison drama Oz, a show which also gave us Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons. Between the good guys and girls in this film, you can be sure it does not take long until the new attraction escapes and begins to kick up a colossal stink.
This film’s “children in peril” are Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson – not him from BBC politics programmes), and this also highlights the problem with this film because it’s simply a retread as aspect from the previous ones in the series. It does nothing to freshen things up, it literally very seen-it-all-before with a script that shouts “written by committee”, as well as making numerous Jurassic Park references and also a half-arsed one to Jaws regarding oxygen tanks. In fact, even when I saw the first teaser trailer for this installment, back in November, I was less than impressed. Yes, Steven Spielberg was on hand as an executive producer, but while I would imagine Spielberg would have a big say on things, the credit of executive producer can mean as little as simply owning the studio. And he owns the studio, Amblin Entertainment.
There’s a new breed of dinosaur, sure, but since it’s part T-Rex, I had trouble telling the difference between them other than the colour. Where they fit into the family chain is that Claire is their auntie, but as she’s far too busy being a workaholic, they’re left in the not-so-capable-hands of Zara (Katie McGrath), who sometimes seemed pregnant and sometimes didn’t. It was never referred to in the script, but I’m still sure I didn’t dream it. I thought that character was originally played by Jennifer Connelly, but since she barely uttered a word, it couldn’t have been. And it wasn’t.
Bryce and Pratt get a few decent one-liners and humourous moments, as does Jake Johnson (Let’s Be Cops) as Lowery, who works in the control centre alongside geeky Vivian (Lauren Lapkus), for whom he has the hots, but overall the film is lacking in any sufficient level of humour and when it comes to seeing children in peril again, you still wish they’d get eaten. However, since this is a family film, only adults are ever sacrificed, and there arer a few good action-related moments that are worth watchng. Bryce predictably goes from prim-and-proper, as previously described, to action heroine stripping down to reveal a sleeveless top with oiled-up heaving bosom.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.