Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, Irrfan Kahn, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Lauren Lapkus, Katie McGrath, Vincent D’Onforio.
Rated: PG-13. Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi. Running Time: 2 hours 4 minutes.
When I was in First Grade I ordered these dinosaur booklets for my whole class (they were free and cool as shit!) from Rex Trailer’s Boomtown, a Boston kid’s show that was on Sunday mornings. I have always been fascinated by dinosaurs since I can remember, like many of you out there I’m sure. When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, I raced out to see it and to this day have a hard time passing it by when it’s on. 22 years have gone by, two very mediocre sequels were made, but I was still pretty jazzed to see Jurassic World. Wow, it was even better than I thought it could be! Without giving too much away, Jurassic World is a functioning theme park on Isla Nublar (the original island), and has been for ten years. John Hammond’s vision has come true, unfortunately, interest is waning a bit (you know because dinosaurs are so boring. Humans!) so the park owners create a new hybrid dinosaur: Indominus Rex. You can see where this is going without me telling you, Jurassic World is great, but it’s still pretty formulaic and somewhat predictable. What makes it so enjoyable is the chemistry between the likeable Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. The subtle bad guy turn by D’Onofrio, the cool, state-of-the-art theme park, and of course the dinosaurs. My personal favorite; Mosasaurus, the huge crocodile-ish creature that has a Shamu-like act in a massive pool. Don’t get too close though, you might get splashed…with blood!
I’ve always had a thing for dinosaurs too. Something about the sheer size of these creatures is naturally alluring. I remember learning about them in school and being completely captivated. Unfortunately, in ’93 I was 9 and wasn’t frequenting the movies. Especially, movies with scary T-Rex’s eating people off toilets and raptors chasing children. I was probably off somewhere enjoying, ‘The Land before Time’ with Little Foot and the whole gang. Years later I would eventually get to see Jurassic Park. It was a real treat getting to view it in 3-D a couple of years ago when they re-released it in theatres. It has always made sense to me to see these movies featuring special effects on the big screen. And so, Jurassic World seemed like a perfect pick for Father’s Day weekend with Ethan. I was impressed with how he handled the jump scares and bloodshed, as this was by far the most violent out of the three. We had heard a lot of mixed reviews about the film, so I went in with fairly low expectations. But honestly, I enjoyed myself and I think the boys really liked it too. There’s only so much you can do – rebuild the park, open it to the public and dinosaurs get loose. I’m not sure what people are expecting. The plot is formulaic because they’ve covered all possible storylines. The cast really breathes new life into this latest rendition.
The violence is pretty hardcore. Ethan is eleven and he handled it okay, but I’d leave the little ones home for this one. Keep an eye on Zara (McGrath), Bryce Dallas Howard’s assistant, her demise is epic. I’ll be honest, I read an article about Chris Pratt in Esquire a few months ago, and the guy comes across as a bit of a dick. But there is no denying that he has something going on, on screen. I thought he was excellent in Guardians of the Galaxy and he also voiced the lead, Emmitt, in 2014’s fabulous The Lego Movie. The man is on a roll. The supporting cast scores here too. Jake Johnson from Let’s be Cops, Nick Robinson of The Kings of Summer, Irrfan Kahn from Life of PI, Omar Sy from the fantastic foreign film The Intouchables, and BD Wong the only holdover from Jurassic Park, all contribute fine performances. Like Maria said, there is only so much plot twisting they can do, but I say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And it’s not like there aren’t any surprises; Velociraptors as good guys?! No way you saw that one coming.
I have to assume that with the record setting box office success of JW, that they will no doubt have another installment of this series coming soon. The effects really make these movies and they peppered in just enough flavor of real life, to make the technological advances seem reasonable. There was a really cool scene featuring these gyroscopic balls that park goers direct into the fields with the gentle giants, but as things always seem to do, something goes awry. There was a brilliant add on of Jimmy Fallon giving instructions and safety tips on how to operate the gyroscope. And anyone who frequents amusement parks knows they love to feature a celebrity in their safety videos. Jurassic World didn’t blow me away, but it was an entertaining and enjoyable film. Perfect for this set of audience members, as we are trying to branch Ethan out into some more mature fare, within reason. And he handled it like a champ!
Ross’ Rating: 4.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Maria’s rating: 4 out of 5 Gummies.