Dun dun…dun dun! Da da dun da dun dun dun!
That was me trying to type the Jurassic Park/World theme song.
Nevermind. OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING.
To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum’s line from the original film, this franchise, like life, keeps finding a way.
Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of this summer’s blockbuster dino-fest Jurassic World.
Movie Trailer – Jurassic World – Universal Pictures
Do you remember Jurassic Park? I do. As a kid, I spazzed out over the movie’s sheer awesomeness. In fact, that flick was the first to use CGI on a massive scale to bring dinosaurs to life, thus ushering in an era of computer generated monsters, beasts and assorted bad guys.
In short, it blew peoples’ minds, mine included. The best description I can give is for me, seeing Jurassic Park was probably a lot like how young people felt when they saw Star Wars in 1977.
The only downside? Are we at the peak of what special effects can do? Are we spoiled now? Are we used to CGI? Will someone ever figure out some other awesome thing to do in a movie that will knock our socks off, leaving a new generation of kids’ jaws to drop the way mine did when I saw the first film in this series?
Time will tell, but a movie growing public that’s grown used to the wonders of CGI reminds me of the line uttered by Chris Pratt’s character Owen Grady – “Aren’t dinosaurs enough?”
He asks that in response to Bryce Howard’s Claire, the administrator of the new Jurassic World theme park, who notes that every few years a new and even more fearsome dinosaur has to be created to keep the public’s attention.
Sorry Owen. In theory, you’re right. Dinosaurs should be enough and so should a steady diet of CGI effects dished out by Hollywood over the past twenty plus years.
But it never is. Once the “wow factor” dissipates, whatever wowed us becomes yesterday’s news and we’re left wanting something bigger and better.
Here, we find it in the form of the Indominus Rex, the super dinosaur engineered to bring tourists to the park but alas, and perhaps as can be expected in these movies, he escapes, thus giving Owen a Claire a run for their money.
Owen is a dinosaur handler on the island working on a project to train raptors to work with humans. The raptors were arguably scarier than the T-Rex in the first film. Sure, the T-Rex might stomp or chomp you but the highly intelligent raptors will haunt you in a pack and find you wherever you’re hiding.
Raptors as the good guys in this film? Say it ‘aint so!
There’s plenty of homages to the original film. There’s a nerd with a soda cup and a messy work station ala Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight who went on to become Jerry Seinfeld’s arch enemy Newman). Claire’s nephews (the children in peril in this film) find a long discarded goggle hat similar to the one Tim wore when he and his sister Lex where the children in peril in the original. Mr. DNA makes a cameo. And of course, there’s a statue of John Hammond.
I don’t want to give much more away but suffice to say, it lives up to the hype and since the original, it is the first sequel to do Michael Crichton’s vision justice.
Sadly, we lost Crichton in 2008, but his books and the movies based on them live on. After watching Jurassic Park, I ran out and got a copy of the book and I remember being inspired by a man who didn’t make his way into the entertainment industry through the usual route (i.e. I’ll jaunt off to Hollywood and see what happens!) but rather as a doctor who took his scientific/medical knowledge and used it to churn out stories that kept us in suspense.
Chris Pratt continues to inspire nerds everywhere. Honestly, when you first started watching Parks and Recreation, did you think the guy playing Andy would ever find himself as a summer blockbuster leading man two years in a row? He’s not that cookie cutter, exceptionally handsome dude that looks like he got yanked off the Hollywood assembly line that we’ve grown used to. Rather, he kind of looks like a guy we’d want to have a beer with after the movie.
Bryce plays the bean counting administrator well, obsessed with work and dollars only to realize the gravity of the situation when the Indominus goes for a stroll.
Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong of Law and Order fame), was in the first film and he reprises his role here. SPOILER ALERT – he runs of with some dino DNA, thus leaving this reviewer to speculate that the door is opened for yet another sequel.
It’ll have to be awesome, because apparently, the average, run of the mill dinosaur just isn’t good enough anymore.
STATUS: Shelf Worthy