Thursday, 11 June 2015

Movie Review: Jurassic World

Previous Review: San Andreas
Next Review: Minions

It's been 22 years since the first Jurassic Park (1993). I can still remember being completely blown away in sheer awe by the realistic appearance of T-Rex on screen for the first time. While The Lost World ended up to be a worthy sequel, the underwhelming Jurassic Park III failed to inspire the same kind of awe and excitement compared to its predecessors. The story continues 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park and it takes place in Isla Nublar, the same island in the first Jurassic Park film.

Jurassic World has now become a fully functional dinosaur theme park accessible to the public with crowds wowed by its attractions, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. However, Jurassic World’s attendance rates begin to wane after so many years as people are no longer impressed with conventional dinosaurs anymore (aside from the young kids of course). Revenue streams have been stagnant for quite some time but the development and maintenance costs for the park has increased throughout the years. This forced the owners of the park to create a bigger, louder, smarter and nastier genetically-modified species to re-spark visitor interest. Unfortunately, when the new genetically-created dinosaur successfully escapes from captivity, all hell breaks loose.

The story focused on Zach and Gray, brothers who serve their roles as the usual kids in peril. They are sent on a trip to the theme park by their parents to visit their aunt, Claire while they sort out their divorce. Gray, a dinosaur nerd, has his dream come true while his annoying older brother, Zach seems to be more interested in young attractive girls than the dinosaurs. Our main lead, ex-Navy man Owen (played by Chris Pratt) need to stop the escaped dinosaur before it kills any of the park visitors while rescuing these two naughty kids who purposely veered off course with Claire at the same time.

First and foremost, I have to say that the film is more bloody and violent than its predecessors, filled with well-staged dinosaur action that ends with a crowd pleasing climax. The film is moving at a fast pace yet steadily builds up to the big climactic battle that will surely satisfy any dinosaur fans. It feels like each sequence is flowing nicely into the next. There are scenes dedicated as setups for another sequel as well. The new dinosaur, which is the film's main attraction, is genetically engineered in a lab, raised in an isolated small cage since it was born and it's responsible for contributing the largest number of deaths in the series. It's the first legitimate 'villainous monster' in the franchise, much different than a T.Rex, raptor or Spinosaurus that simply doing what other living, breathing animals would normally do. With this, the film successfully recaptures its original themes of human arrogance with genetic tampering with nature. Remember the line: "You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could but you didn't stop to think if you should"? It also criticizes our insatiable greed of hunger for more thrills and excitement as well.

Jurassic World is being highly criticized by many paleontologists for purposely ignoring new discoveries and knowledge, such as some dinosaurs being covered with feathers. The film followed its traditional scaly look just like its predecessors for all of its dinosaurs. However, the film clearly explains that the featured dinosaurs are not exact copies of the dinosaurs that actually existed, but 'brand new' animals with genes from lots of different animals. It's pure fiction. In real life, it's difficult to even get hold of actual dinosaur DNA. Jurassic World does has its problems. Back in the day, the first film skillfully mixed animatronics with CGI to breathe life to its dinosaurs. However, the filmmakers for this film opt for full CGI for some of its major action set pieces instead of featuring more animatronics with CGI, which prevents the dinosaurs looked better than they do like before (in certain scenes). The film also requires a certain degree of suspension of disbelief on the viewers. Raptors can be trained by humans? Kids manage to start a 22 year old car or even find enough fuel to drive it? I still find it hard to believe that a normal person could outrun a T.Rex, I.Rex or raptors in a chase.

The Jurassic films have never exactly been rich on the human stories, Jurassic World is no exception. They don't produce any memorable human characters. The main characters are fairly well-written but not enough to make a lasting impression on the viewers. There are lots of supporting characters in play, but none of them have proper character arcs for the audience to care about them. They just simply appear on screen and eaten alive later on by any of the dinosaurs. Chris Pratt's character has no arc, he is always the capable man of action to rely on and he has no weaknesses for him to improve on as the film progresses. Bryce Dallas Howard's character, Claire is the only one who has a character arc, her transformation from a reluctant, career-driven park operations manager to a brave action heroine who dares to confront the dangers of the park, stands out compared with the rest. She's the only main character who changed the most during this ordeal.

While not mind-blowing, awe-inspiring or perfect by any means, Jurassic World is still a satisfying, fun, spectacular fictional disaster summer blockbuster that will surely satisfies its audience. Although it brings nothing new to the table, but strangely enough, it feels fresh and comes with enough thrills and excitement to keep you entertained.

Rating comparisons:
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park: The Lost World
Jurassic Park III
Jurassic World

List of dinosaurs featured in Jurassic World:

Previous Review: San Andreas
Next Review: Minions


  1. Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly.

    Watch Jurassic World Online

    Download Jurassic World Movie