Okay guys, we’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Now, everyone loved the first film, hated the next two, and has either some pretty high hopes for the reboot, or is sitting soundly in skeptic city.
I feel I should preface this with the fact that Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I adore Andy Dwyer – aka Chris Pratt – so whether I mean to or not, this review may be a bit biased. Either way, here we go…
I was pretty pumped heading into Jurassic World – an IMAX 3D screening, something I never do – as despite the stigma surrounding reboots or the drama surrounding the bevy of big budget action flicks getting churned out these days, I thought the trailers looked good.
Jumping right into the story, first we’re introduced to Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) whose parents are shipping them off to visit their Aunt Claire – who happens to be an exec at Jurassic World, played by Bryce Dallas Howard – on Christmas, or so the scene’s corresponding soundtrack leads us to believe.
Now why would two seemingly normal parents (Judy Greer, Andy Buckley) send their babies away to an island full of dinosaurs… on Christmas? Fair question. The only answer appears to be that the parents are circling a divorce and they didn’t want them to face that, or… I’m out.
Anyway, while Aunt Claire is slaying it, raking in the dough from sponsors so the scientists at Jurassic Park can create more dinosaurs (“Pepsisaurus?”), the boys are stuck with an assistant, but they do get super cool VIP bracelets, which allow them on all of the attractions. And let me tell you, those attractions look damn cool. (For real, check it out.)
I’m not generally a supporter of IMAX or 3D, as a frequent migraine sufferer, but to be able to watch those wide spans of the park and shots of roaming dinosaurs in IMAX, it almost made me want to reconsider. Basically I was sitting in my seat thinking, “I want to go to there!” But then I remembered how these movies tend to play out, and I was all: “Wait…”
Next we’re introduced to the studly Owen Grady (Chris), as he’s working on a field study with velociraptors at Jurassic World. His impressive connection with the wily dinosaurs (they’re totally my favorite) are what inspire the park’s owner, Masrani (Irrfan Khan) to send Claire calling when they have a problem with their latest asset, the Indominus Rex.
See, attendance at the park spikes whenever they introduce a new attraction, and now that 22 years have passed since the original Jurassic Park (disaster), people are no longer thrilled by simply any dinosaur. They need something “scarier” and “cooler.” So the park’s scientists, like Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), are hard at work “cooking up” new creations to scare the pants off of the guests and their parents alike.
And it seems like they’ve pretty well nailed it with this one, as they’ve already had to stall the attraction’s opening in order to build up its paddock’s walls. After catching a glimpse of the terrifying beast – which is part T-Rex, part ??? – himself, Masrani insists Claire call upon Owen to ensure Indominus will be completely and safely contained by the time they decide to open.
This, of course, leads to the now-infamous scene which inspired a call-out for its “70’s era sexism” by fellow action director Joss Whedon. While I (and Jurassic World’s director himself, Colin Trevorrow) admit that he did have a point there, it’s really not a deal-breaker. The characters, while they have their flaws – and campy moments – have at least semi-developed personalities as well, and are fully enjoyable to watch on the screen.
Now, we all know where things are going with this Indominus Rex business, but this is a Jurassic Park film, so we know there isn’t just one big bad. Let me introduce another: Hoskins, played by Vincent D’Onofrio. He wants to take an experiment going on at the park, and turn it into a military weapon.
As if taxes weren’t frightening enough, every show on TV lately seems to eventually reveal the government as the ultimate baddie, so why not play that card in our action films now, too? We’ll just opposite Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-ourselves and crawl down into a bunker somewhere.
So – spoiler alert – dino baddie gets out. I know, you never saw that coming. But see, this guy is not one to trifle with. These scientists cooked up one seriously badass monster, pulling the wildest, most frightening traits from all of the most skilled animals in nature, and somehow thought it was wise to put them all into a creature the size of a house.
One of my favorite lines in the film comes from said evil scientist as he tries to explain himself, nonchalantly suggesting: “Monster is a relative term,” adding: “To a canary, a cat is a monster.” He really brings the fear home by ending with: “We’re just used to being the cats.”
However, with the government/military involvement plot as well, it does make one wonder, what really is the logic behind creating something so powerful that nothing else can destroy it? I mean, that’s the point, right? Hoskins wants to create little (and BIG) dino weapons, so that the military wouldn’t have to lose soldiers in battle anymore. And that’s a great idea, but if they’re indestructible, why one Earth would you think they could be controlled? Just because you’re a man and you say so? It doesn’t really work like that.
Back to our guys Gray and Zach: the former is a bit of a genius, and is thrilled to be spending his time at such an educational amusement park. His brother, however, has his eye on only one thing – well, actually, lots of “things,” but really only one area of interest – girls. And he has no patience for his baby bro getting in the way of his game – despite bidding a fairly somber goodbye to his lady love at the beginning of the film.
Luckily, once shit starts to go down, Zach finally realizes what the hell it is to be a sibling, and starts watching out for Gray, which is great, but he’s probably thinking, hey man, thanks for saving my life and all, but it would’ve been cool if you weren’t such a dick while we were checking out all those neat rides earlier, too. Like, that could’ve been fun, instead of only treating me like a human being once a dinosaur tried to treat us like dinner. But I digress.
The iconic T-Rex vs the Jeep Wrangler scene from the 1993 film is replaced by a similarly frightening – if not more so – moment with reinforced glass spheres – which look a lot like human hamster balls – called Gyropsheres. The attraction is usually a pleasant, high-tech ride that allows guests to “roll around with the dinosaurs.”
It’s a nice idea, but of course, not all dinosaurs play well with others – least of all the Indominus Rex. Though a fun tie-in to the original comes when, in an effort to escape, the boys run into an abandoned building on a restricted section of the island, which turns out to be the lobby for the original park. Only now, it looks like a few guests left a game of Jumanji unfinished, after rolling a 7 (“They grow much faster than bamboo, take care or they’ll come after you.”).
As you can see, I could go on and on about the various details and plot points of this reboot – and I have – I mean, all this rambling and I didn’t even mention the absolute joy that is Jake Johnson as control room operator Lowery. (He shows up to work wearing a Jurassic Park T-shirt that he found on e-bay – yeah, he knows people died and it was tragic and all, but “That park was LEGIT.”)
Those looking for thrills will not be disappointed, as there were moments where I even considered looking away, as if to give my eyes a break from a few particularly brutal and chaotic scenes.
Genetically altered dinos don’t mess around, and neither does Colin Trevorrow. And if somehow you haven’t had your fill of action-packed insanity by the final moments of the film, just you wait.
Hold onto your seat as the reboot – which in my opinion, more than brings it – ends with an unforgettable showdown, which, while you can kinda see it coming, certainly doesn’t make it any less badass.
Now I’ve rambled on for way too many words and still probably haven’t done this movie any justice, so let me just say this:
tl;dr If you liked the original films, you will – hands down – love this one. It’s a goddamn thrill ride, and it certainly isn’t hurt by the god-like good looks of leading actors Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. And trust me, the Indominus Rex is not to be missed – and neither is Chris riding a motorcycle alongside a pack of velociraptors, TBH.
Jurassic World hits theaters June 12. SEE IT. You’ll thank me.
Until next time,