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.
In making a decision to see this in either 2D or 3D, I went to see this in IMAX 3D because I had a stack of points I needed to use up at an Odeon before they expired at the end of July, so it was either this or Teminator Genisys. Bear in mind the NEITHER Jurassic World, NOR the new Arnie film, were shot in 3D, and for this one it really showed. All the 3D conversion is done in post-production and there were times when things got right up close or were even something non-essential just in the background like a door-lock button in a car, and they just stayed as two separate images, and it proved that you should either just shoot a film in 3D or not bother. If you can’t do it properly, don’t expect the paying public to fork out extra for nothing.
As it was, while you might expect dinosaurs to be bigger and better in 3D, it never felt essential. It only ever felt utilised to show up basic perspective, and you can see that in 2D quite easily. In addition, yes, IMAX puts it up there on a bigger screen – and at the Manchester Printworks Odeon it’s the second biggest IMAX screen in Europe, only beaten slightly by the BFI in London – but given the poor 3D effect, I speculated a couple of times how it wouldn’t have felt a whole lot different, visually, if just projected onto the lenses of an Oculus Rift headset.
I need to mention the widescreen aspect ratio of this film, too. It’s 2.00:1, which is far from a conventional one. While Tomorrowland was presented a similar ratio, and I described that in detail there along with all of the associated problems when it comes to regular cinema projection, I expect the same would’ve happened for this one, too, and if anyone’s seen it in a non-IMAX screen and are reading this, please let me know. I won’t repeat what I’ve said there as it’s pretty much the same, but I would’ve chosen a 1.85:1 ratio for this film, as per the previous entries in the series, since dinosaurs are tall, and especially in the home when you watch it on a 16:9 TV, the taller the image, versus the width, the better. Neither film was shot with IMAX cameras either, and although while Tomorrowland was shot in 4K resolution, Jurassic World was predominantly shot in either 5K or 6K, plus some in bog-standard Super 35, and you could tell the great drop in resolution when those appeared, one coming early on, of Chris Pratt trying to fix up his motorbike. It’s like director Colin Trevorrow dug out the best cameras more often for up-close facials (f’nar! f’nar!) either of humans or dinosaurs.
As I’ve mentioned before – and have complained about – frequently there are problems when I view a film at the Odeon with the cleaners coming in during the credits (which I like to watch and enjoy the closing music) and/or the house lights being switched on full blast, as recent trips to watch San Andreas and Tomorrowland have shown. This time round, the cleaners not only came in while the credits were running, but also would frequently – and slowly – go past the screen, dragging their implements on the ground, scraping them on the floor as they go, and even forcing one other guy, a few rows up front, to move so he could continue to read the credits!!! Following those two recent examples, yes, I did get some free tickets out of it, but quite frankly, I’d rather they just didn’t ever come in while the credits were running!! A complaint will be going in about this one, too.
Jurassic World opened just a week after one of our theme parks, Alton Towers, had a horrific accident on The Smiler ride, leading to one young woman – Leah Washington – losing a leg, and then Sky News' Kay Burley going off on one at man in charge Nick Varney so I can imagine the creators of ‘Jurassic Park 5‘ getting her in to quiz someone in a similar manner. And yes, you can bet your left dinosaur’s testicle that there will be a sequel. The film even blatantly signposts this to you.
But as for another sequel? Well, to quote Jeff Goldblum’s character Ian Malcolm in the first movie, the film-makers were “so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should!”
Jurassic World is available to pre-order on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Limited Edition Blu-ray 3D with two interlocking book-end statues of dinosaurs featured in the film, ahead of its release date on October 19th, and click on the poster for the full-size image.
Running time: 124 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Format: 2.00:1 (Redcode RAW (5K) (6K))
Released: June 11th 2015
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Producers: Patrick Crowley and Frank Marshall
Screenplay: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly (based on a story by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and the characters by Michael Crichton)
Music: Michael Giacchino
Owen: Chris Pratt
Claire: Bryce Dallas Howard
Hoskins: Vincent D’Onofrio
Gray: Ty Simpkins
Simon Masrani: Irrfan Khan
Zach: Nick Robinson
Lowery: Jake Johnson
Barry: Omar Sy
Dr Henry Wu: BD Wong
Karen: Judy Greer
Vivian: Lauren Lapkus
Hamada: Brian Tee
Zara: Katie McGrath
Scott: Andy Buckley
Paddock Supervisor: Eric Edelstein
Mosasaurus Announcer: Courtney James Clark
Young Raptor Handler: Colby Boothman-Shepard
Himself: Jimmy Fallon
Hal Osterly: James DuMont
Park Announcer: Bonnie Wild
Monorail Announcer: Brad Bird
Mr DNA: Colin Trevorrow
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.
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