I first saw Jurassic Park 22 years ago on the day I graduated from high school. The cinematic magic I witnessed that day has stayed with me through adulthood. While the two sequels that followed had their moments, nothing could give me that same sense of wonder that the original copy could deliver. Now, all of these years later, can Jurassic World capture lightning in a bottle and bring back prehistoric delights to the silver screen?
The newest installment finds brothers Zach and Gary Mitchell (Nick Robinson & Ty Simpkins) embarking on a winter vacation to visit the infamous island of Isla Nublar and their aunt, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is the general manager of the Jurassic World theme park. Claire is a typical type A personality and is too busy to even meet her nephews. Dearing has her assistant Zara (Katie McGrath) act as tour guide to the boys while she conducts business with potential sponsors and the park’s owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan). The scientific geniuses of the InGen corporation have created a new top secret hybrid dinosaur that will blow the crowds away called the Indominus Rex. While on a tour of the security habitat, Dearing and Masrani discover that the cage containing the new dinosaur shows signs of inadequacy. Masrani insists that Claire consults with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), an expert with Velociraptors, to see how they can better deal with the new attraction. Grady has successfully trained Raptors to obey his commands, which has piqued the interest of InGen’s head of security, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who believes he can adapt the deadly dinos to replace soldiers in the battlefield to the highest bidder. Of course the entire idea of creating a new species out of very deadly lizards will never end well and it is up to Grady and Dearing to save her nephews and the twenty thousand park guests.
Colin Trevorrow directs the fourth film in the franchise and does bring dino delights, in parts. The special effects are absolutely amazing and the cinematography is vibrant. There are some genuinely hilarious moments especially with a guest cameo by Jimmy Fallon. The issue is the dinosaur might be different but the formula is the same: kids in danger, family member too absorbed in their work, rugged dino expert saves the day. However; the chemistry between Pratt and Howard is just the right mix of annoyance and sexual tension. When her nephew declares that their aunt’s boyfriend is a “badass”, the smile on Howard’s face beams with sincerity. And while Pratt’s career is deservedly skyrocketing, one of my favorite actors, Vincent D’Onofrio steals the show as the smarmy, unethical Hoskins.
Jurassic World does exactly what it sets out to do, it harkens you back to the original and even pays homage to the 1993 classic in a poetic retrospective scene. While it might not have generated the same teenage magic for me, it is not without its charm and should be on your summer to do list. Oh, and in case there was ever any doubt, Pterodactyls are jerks.
3.5 out of 5 Fossils
Reviewer: Paul A. DiNello