Dino-franchise Jaws-with-Claws continues to repeat itself with a basic remake of Jurassic Park on a grand scale. You can more or less tick off scene-for-scene as the excuse for ever more spectacular CGI dino-porn trumps any attempt at wit or originality. No mistake, the technical achievement of life-like dinosaurs is stunning and you get an awful lot of dino for your money – which is all this thing is interested in – your money.
It’s a well-worn formula of Irwin Allen dino-disasters in the dino-resort gone horribly wrong, yet again, as two adults and two kids try not to get eaten by the escaped, genetically modified uber-rex. Some wag decided in a script meeting to give a character the pitch-line for the movie “we need more teeth” as actual dialogue…
Charming action man Chris Pratt (Guardians, Passengers) is Velociraptor Whisperer Owen, who should know from the example of Seigfried and Roy how these things usually end. Bryce Dallas Howard (Twilight) is mysogenistically mis-cast as corporate woman Claire, put through hell in order to conclude that what she needs in her life is a rugged chap to look after her and some children, as a career in management is no substitute for a good cry. But it’s okay to keep the high heels.
Elsewhere, Irfan Khan is the desperately naive resort boss who really should know better than to go after escaped giant lizards in a helicopter. B D Wong is the amoral scientist and Omar Sy the trainee raptor trainer; tick the ethnic diversity boxes in this otherwise white-Anglo show. Meanwhile Vincent Donofrio’s corporate scum-bag Hoskins is lifted directly from Aliens as head of In-Gen’s bio-weapons division. Do we know where this is going yet?
There’s not one but two episodes of ill-advised ‘bug-hunts’ by blokes with guns, on foot, in a forest, chasing a big predator with camouflage. Did none of these guys watch Aliens or Predator, or read the news clippings of Jurassic Park 3?
“Standing order number one: do not go out in the park without an Abrahms tank and a mobile missile launcher. Standing order number two: do not get out of the vehicles.” Unfortunately someone wrote the resort’s emergency procedures on a napkin they then put in the laundry. Which is convenient for the uber-rex, velociraptors and pterosaurs which then get free meals of the twenty-thousand guests and staff. Doh!
Yes, all the dinosaurs are beautifully rendered; the intellectually upgraded uber-rex is a cunning and ruthless ‘villain’; T-rex makes a cameo appearance, but the water-dwelling Mosasaurus does have the biggest teeth. If that’s a spoiler, you shouldn’t be here. The real stars, as always, are the raptors, as in every Jurassic movie, because they are man-sized, scary and cute, fast pack hunters, and can be imbued with a bit of personality. There’s only so much Godzilla you can take from the big boys before you loose any sense of scale (no pun…).
Various humans get squashed, battered and eaten and you know what: nobody cares. The two (very good) teenage nephews of Howard’s executive are effectively the McGuffin to drive the adults through the plot points and you know what: nobody cares. But there’s a really sad bit when Pratt and Howard stop to nurse a dying baby Brontosaurus and you know what: it’s the only time anybody cares. For a puppet. There’s the real movie magic.
Colin Trevorrow (soon of Star Wars IX) steers the Jurassic juggernaut through the park to it’s crashy-smashy conclusion, while relying on his actors to inject some emotion into a formulaic script he and three others pasted together from the Hollywood playbook. Clearly a fan of Speilberg, Trevorrow is too weighed down by the corporate needs of the franchise. Like a whole bag of pop corn, Jurassic World may be enjoyable at the time, but turns out to be a bit sickly with no substance whatsoever. RC
Jurassic World (2015)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Genre: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Running time: 123 minutes
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard ,Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson Omar Sy, BD Wong