Isla Nublar is the home for the wonderfully successful Jurassic World, building on the work of John Hammond. But to maintain peak sales, new attractions are constantly required – and that means creating new dinosaurs…
Yes, to a large extent Jurassic World is the Jurassic franchise’s greatest hits package, but that’s frankly what audiences (if not a large number of critics) seem to want – certainly judging by the phenomenal worldwide box office that the film is taking. It’s not a reboot: the events of the first Jurassic Park are central to the film, with the appearance of one of the scientists from the original team in a key role, and cameos from some of the other aspects that Spielberg brought to the table in the 1993 movie. (The events of II and III aren’t relevant, but they’ve not been written out of history.) Some elements are pretty much the same – there are two children who are being looked after by someone who’s not used to dealing with kids (Alan Grant in the original; Claire here) who develops a relationship with them as they cope with attacks from all sides. There’s the voice of reason warning against what’s being down here (Ian Malcolm / Owen).
And of course there are dino deaths but on a much larger scale. Jurassic World is in full operation, so there are plenty of tasty human morsels for the dinos of all varieties to chew on – or in some cases, such as one unfortunate employee, to be fought over (adding an element to one of the great shots from the trailer that you wouldn’t have got purely from that visual). The raptors are front and centre, but are used in a very different way: their intelligence is a key plot point, as is the fact that they are carnivorous beasts at heart.
Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow’s screenplay – from a story by Apes’ revivalists Jaffa and Silver – takes its time introducing the various human characters, and director Trevorrow gives the audience a pretty good sense of the layout of the park before the carnage begins. There’s a mounting sense of tension once the Indominus Rex gets out of its pen, and we know that Claire’s two nephews are somewhere out of contact, and pretty much once they meet the Indominus, it’s pedal to the metal for the rest of the film.
That first hour, though, allows us to get to know the characters so we’re engaged with them, with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard strong central casting, and Vincent D’Onofrio a world away from Wilson Fisk as the bad guy (now there’s a thought: Fisk vs raptors. My money’s on Fisk.) Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins make the two young brothers credible, Robinson particularly capturing that old brother vibe, stepping up to the plate when needed, and sloughing off his blasé teenage attitude when he sees something truly amazing.
Sure, there are plotholes in Jurassic World, and some of the writing for the female characters isn’t as strong as it could be, but at the end of the day, people go to a Jurassic Park movie for the dinosaurs… And Trevorrow, Pratt, Howard and the team provide them (and give us the dinosaur vs dinosaur battle that I wish we’d had at the end of Godzilla!).
One note though: this movie may have a 12A rating but it is not suitable for all children, even accompanied. Yes, they can probably watch it on DVD at home, where conditions are very different, but Trevorrow gives us a movie that really amps up the terror in a darkened cinema.
Verdict: The strongest of the three sequels by some distance, this is one of the few blockbusters of recent times that I’d want to rewatch in the cinema again rather than wait for the Blu-ray. 9/10