Film Review: Jurassic Park

Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World. Image Credit: Universal Studios

Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World. Image Credit: Universal

Jurassic World is a worthy sequel to Spielberg’s original blockbuster

It’s been 22 years since Steven Spielberg breathed life into prehistoric creatures in Jurassic Park. The film shattered box-office records when it was released in the summer of 1993. Two decades and two sequels later, the dinosaurs are back in Jurassic World.

Inspired by a trio of ideas from Spielberg himself, Jurassic World realises the vision of Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond, the billionaire who first dreamt of a theme park full of prehistoric dinosaurs. Set on Isla Nublar, the attraction, complete with rides, feeding shows, a Starbucks and even a luxury Hilton hotel, has been open to the public for a decade. The problem is no one’s impressed by dinosaurs anymore and ticket sales are starting to dwindle. “Twenty years ago, de-extinction was up there with magic” sighs Claire Dearing, Jurassic World’s Operations Manager. “Now kids look at a stegosaurus like it’s an elephant at the zoo.”

In an attempt to stimulate interest in Jurassic World and to respond to focus group feedback for “bigger, scarier beasts”, billionaire tycoon Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) decides to invest in a genetically-modified dinosaur hybrid that’s been bred in isolation. The new beast (called Indominus Rex) has been created by lab supremo Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) and is made from T-rex DNA amongst others. Add to this a sub-plot in which sinister military consultant Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) takes an interest in weaponising these scary beasts, and Jurassic World sets you up for one hell of a ride.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World is a fiendishly crafted blockbuster full of thrills, heroism and romance. Trevorrow has littered the film with sly callbacks to the original Jurassic Park and the humour is largely well-timed. There are plenty of ingenious booby traps and near-death escapes to keep you entertained and the visually effects by VFX supervisor Tim Alexander are simply stunning, especially the Indominous Rex.

The hero of the hour is park ranger Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), an ex-Navy man who’s spent years taming a pack of captive velociraptors. Easy-going, relaxed and tremendously likeable, Pratt is effortlessly engaging as the rough-and-ready raptor wrangler. Many critics has likened his performance as somewhere between Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks and they aren’t far wrong.

Bryce Dallas Howard plays a strong role as the successful and uptight Operations Manager Claire Dearing. In her first role since 2011’s The Help, Howard brings a kind of raptorish presence to the part, especially when her retroussé nose is seen in profile, even if she does spend the entire film running in high heels. The chemistry between Howard and Pratt is playful and when romance flares, it’s swift, unexpected and makes the heart leap.

The vast majority of the film is taken up with Claire and Owen’s quest to rescue her two nephews, surly hormonal teenager Zach (Nick Robinson) and his geeky, dino-obsessed younger younger brother Gray (Ty Simpkins) who are stranded in the park when disaster strikes. Between Zach mooning over girls and Gray tearing up about his parents’ divorcing, you can’t help but care about these two nippers.

Overall, the film has been generally well received by the press. There was scepticism that two decades after dinosaurs ruled the Earth’s cinemas, audiences are still capable being amazed by them. The decision to make Trevorrow director also turned heads but the director proves he’s more than capable of taking on the “Jurassic” reins.

Savvy, funny and terrifically enjoyable, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World is a worthy sequel to Spielberg’s industry-changing original.

4 out of 5 stars

Jurassic World is officially released in UK cinemas on 11 June.

Jurassic Park – Official Trailer