Jurassic World over-performed this weekend. Universal Studios and the box office analysts predicted that the film would open to 125 million, an impressive feat. Nobody would’ve predicted that the film would gross over 200 million in the U.S. and over 500 million worldwide, making it the biggest worldwide debut of all time (on Monday morning we’ll find out if it beat The Avengers’ all time record in the States). It’s been 14 years since the last Jurassic Park film was released, the underwhelming but not terrible third film, and over twenty years since the first and now classic original from Steven Spielberg. It’s taken Universal well over a decade in developing a fourth Jurassic Park film, and years later we have that fourth film. Now called Jurassic World, it shows what would’ve happened if John Hammond’s dream in the original had come to life. Here’s my review of Jurassic World.
The film imagines Jurassic World as a massive theme park in Costa Rica, with a resort, attractions, franchise chain restaurants, and those damn 65 million year old dinos. The scientists in the park have cooked up a genetically modified dinosaur called the Indominus Rex. The human drama features a group of young boys going to the park to meet up with their aunt, who happens to be the park operations manager, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. An old flame of Howard’s comes into play, Chris Pratt’s Owen, an ex-military type who disapproves of this new dinosaur. To the surprise of everyone except the audience in the theater, the dino escapes and risks the lives of thousands of tourists and the people who work at the park.
I could’ve cared less about a new Jurassic Park film before I found out that Colin Trevorrow was directing it. Trevorrow has only one feature directing credit to his name, 2012’s criminally underrated Safety Not Guaranteed, which featured Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza in the finest role of her young career, even more than her turn in Parks and Recreation. Trevorrow teams up with another Parks and Rec alum in this film with Pratt as the lead, and as much as I love Pratt and I love the fact that this dude is now a movie star, the script is pretty bad, and it doesn’t allow the actor to have as much fun with his character like he did with his Guardians of the Galaxy role. Pratt still gives a solid performance, and is believable as an action star, but he’s not a very interesting character. In fact, none of the characters are very interesting in the film, but let’s be honest, nobody gives a shit about character in a film like this. While having a better script and focus on character would’ve made for a better film, Jurassic World is still a fun albeit flawed popcorn film that will no doubt please audiences this summer.
Trevorrow is able to make up for the lackluster screenplay with some terrific direction and exciting action set pieces that are sprinkled throughout the film. There’s nothing in the film that feels as intense or exciting as the set pieces in the first Jurassic Park film, but its able to stand on its own, and is easily the best sequel in the franchise. The chemistry doesn’t quite work between Howard and Pratt, which makes the romance feel a little forced, but the good thing is that the kids in the film aren’t that annoying, but again, they’re not very interesting. The special effects this time around are phenomenal to look at, and a drastic change from the technological achievement that was the first Jurassic Park film. The CGI at times is often too good, and makes some of the moments with this genetically modified dino seem pretty thrilling at times. I did jump a few times in my seat in some of the more intense moments of the film.
The film does get pretty stupid towards the third act of the film, primarily due to a cartoonish villain played by Vincent D’Onfrio with more emphasis on the action rather than the adventure aspect of the original film. With all of this aside, I still had a lot of fun with Jurassic World, and maybe due to the fact that I had a terrific meal courtesy of the Alamo Drafthouse during the film (not a paid endorsement, although it would be a lot cooler if it was) that I had as good of a time with the film. Again, you’ve probably already seen Jurassic World, so I guess I don’t need to recommend it if you’re in the mood for a fun summer thrill ride. So, I guess all I can say is hope you enjoyed the film, and hopefully the inevitable sequels that will come along have a better screenplay and more fleshed out characters (and Chris Pratt being more of a smart ass, that’s what he’s good at folks).