Film Review: Jurassic World

Despite it scaring the pants off me as a small child, the original Jurassic Park has become a personal favourite of mine, but I was left disappointed by the sequels, how would a fourth installment measure up? Excited and hopeful  after some cool trailers, MWG and I headed off to see it the first chance we got.

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Set over 20 years later the dinosaur theme park has been restarted and thrives on its island location. It’s all run by tense control freak Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who takes a rather cold, dispassionate view of the beasts under her care.
In order to keep the park interesting and the customers coming the park needs new beasties, and having exhausted their dinosaur finds they’ve decided to create their own using dinosaur using gene splicing. CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) visits the new creature, named the Indominus Rex and has reservations, because he’s clearly the only person to have seen a sci-fi movie ever.
He tells Claire to consult Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the velociraptor trainer who’s not happy with the fact shady military tech suit Hoskins (Vincent D’Onforio) is sniffing around his raptors, keen to use them as living drones.
Grady is not impressed with the gene splicing, or the way the Indominus has been raised in solitary confinement, and wants to know what, along with a T-Rex it’s been mixed with. This is classified.
The Indominus or I-Rex turns out to be smart and able to hide from thermal scans and busts loose, ditches its tracker and rampages across the island killing its way through anything it meets as, to quote Grady “it works out its place on the food chain”.
To make matters worse, Claire’s nephews Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins respectively) are on the island and have wandered into the woods. While they try and stop the I-Rex, keep the customers safe she and Grady head off to track down the missing kids.

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Lost in the woods

Can they find and keep the kids safe? Can the I-Rex be stopped? What’s Hoskins planning? And why does nobody ask why the scientists would be this bloody stupid?
Here’s the thing, this is a solid, extremely entertaining blockbuster which ticks a lot of boxes. Sure, it can’t match the original but it leaves the other sequels in the dust.
The premise requires a leap of faith- it’s asking a lot for the audience to believe that despite the initial disaster that the park would reopen and go ahead, and even more of a stretch that the scientists would decide to breed a giant, intelligent dinosaur who can camouflage itself and hide from thermal scans. Seriously, a lot of films gave scientists making daft decisions that backfire but there’s usually an upshot. Here the risk outweighs any potential reward.
That being said, if you go with it, the movie rewards you.
The script fizzes along and it gets going pretty quickly and it doesn’t feel 2 hours long. There are some decent set pieces, even if one is a pretty blatant Aliens ripoff. The dinosaurs are impressive and there are more on the roster, not just the I-Rex. The raptors, villains of the first film are here changed to being Grady’s pack, joining him on the hunt for the I-Rex, although the film should be applauded for always having tension surround these beasts.

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Grady (Pratt) and the pack on the hunt

The finale is pretty impressive with a massive dinosaur battle royale, and its truly epic and gripping.
The film’s other trump card is the cast, which is pretty solid across the board. Pratt, continuing his rise, excels as the lead, with Grady being a tough, charismatic bloke who knows his animals and has a healthy suspicion for the corporate side of things.
Early on he voices concerns and warns others, and he’s proved right. Pratt’s easy charm makes him likeable and he handles the action sequences brilliantly. He has a few quips along the way, but Grady’s a more serious, jaded character than Star-Lord and it’s good to see Pratt build on his leading man potential.
Also on fine form is Bryce Dallas Howard, who captures Claire’s icy detachment perfectly and who does a great job of slowly revealing the person beneath, and the character develops nicely. She also has good chemistry with Pratt and it’s good to see her take charge and save the day a bit herself towards the end.

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Claire takes charge

The one weakness are the kids. Simpkins as the younger brother is rather annoying, and I found myself sympathising with his older brother, stuck babysitting him. Also the character feels uneven, giving the impression that things changed over different drafts. I found it hard to care about the kids, and their plotline seemed a bit obvious and under developed.
Luckily, the action moves along and everyone else does a good job, and the script has some clever, funny touches which slyly play on conventions.
All in all, a solid blockbuster and very good fun.
Verdict: Largely well done and hugely entertaining, its the strongest instalment of the sequels. The action is gripping and the performances strong, particularly Pratt and Howard. The kids are a bit weak, but on the whole a quality blockbuster. 8/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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