Jurassic World Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
It’s fair to say that I was filled with anticipation when going to see this particular film due to the huge pressure resting on its shoulders. After all, it had been fourteen years since the last Jurassic Park movie and it wasn’t very good, lacking all the core ingredients that made the first two films instant classics. My main worry was whether or not Jurassic World would fall down the same trap as Jurassic Park III. However, it turned out that this fourth instalment was everything I hoped for and more.
Jurassic World took everything that was great about the first two instalments, whilst adding in brand new elements, to create a one of a kind movie. I walked away completely satisfied and have been since going through in my head why this was. The main reasoning has to be the fact that the film followed the formula of the original franchise. Through writing my ‘Jurassic Park retrospectives’, I came to understand the key factors within the films. This was why, in my opinion, the third film fell flat because it didn’t take these factors into consideration, nor added anything new to the existing franchise. Jurassic World, on the other hand, stuck true to the original two films and brought about a fresh approach to the franchise that kept it appealing to older fans whilst granting them with something new to be excited by.
The core factor that accompanied the first two movies was the idea of businessmen playing with god. John Hammond did this within Jurassic Park by wanting to bring back extinct animals and place them within an attraction. Peter Ludlow, Hammond’s nephew, tried to take these ideas further, through greedy intentions, within The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Both men thought they could control the powers that they had concocted, resulting in disastrous effects because of their irresponsible actions. Jurassic World brought this element back and extended it further through the brilliant idea of genetic engineering. What got me was the reasoning behind this act. The park owners wanted to expand their attractions, granting them higher acclaim within the public eye, and so deemed it necessary to create a brand new dinosaur to accomplish this. This idea made the core factor that much sweeter because the businessmen truly learned their lesson.
This core factor was expanded further through new drastic ideas of having the dinosaurs used as military weapons. I found this part of the film to be fresh and intriguing. It was a whole new step forward for the franchise and caused new and dangerous results. Ideally, character Vic Hoskins wanted the Velociraptors to be used as a tool to secure absolute victory within any future war scenarios due to their superior hunting abilities. I felt this part of the narrative worked to its advantage and added in new depths for the franchise to explore.
I absolutely loved the characters in this film. Unlike in Jurassic Park III where the characters were unlikable and plain annoying, Jurassic World brought in a fresh cast that added to the narrative rather than detract. Also what I loved was that the character line-up resembled the original. We had the member of InGen that didn’t understand the powers they tried to control, we had a dinosaur expect, and finally two children involved that were related to the InGen member. It worked nicely, paying homage to the original material. Claire Dearing’s character was a fantastic character because of her development. Within the first act of the film there was little to like about her because of her lapse of attention to her nephews, despite them coming to the island to see her, her poor relationship with Owen Grady and finally her inability to see the dinosaurs as animals and more seeing them as a product to be used for profit. Part way through act two, however, she began to realise that the animals had feelings and weren’t mere products. This was done with great care through the emotional scene of her and Chris finding a dying dinosaur, slain by the company’s new creation.
The spotlight went to Chris Pratt and his amazing character Owen. I loved every moment he was onscreen because his character brought about an engagement with the audience. He was instantly likable through him playing both the action hero and a fun comedic character. His character also played well against Claire’s character, though their confused love interest was something that could have been left out. The most interesting part about his character was his interaction with the Velociraptors. It added in a new element to the franchise of having these deadly creatures actually communicating with humans through commands. He demonstrated a unique bond with the animals in which there was a mutual respect shown, something that played well within the third act of the narrative.
Even the kids, Zach and Gray Mitchell, added to the narrative. Though they didn’t add as much as Owen and Claire they still granted a different danger factor within the situations throughout. The subplot of their parents’ marriage was somewhat unnecessary and felt forced in under to add in conversation between the brothers when scenes were focused on them during their travels around the park. It was good to see the sibling relationship changed to a brother relationship, adding in a new direction from the original format. I also felt they were strong characters and each held a unique quality, like with Hammond’s grandchildren in the original. The older brother Zach was very dismissive whilst Gray came across as naïve, both growing as character by the end of the film. Zach stepped up to being an older brother that looked out for his younger sibling whilst Gray started to grow up and understand the world more.
As for the narrative: fantastic. Jurassic World really went about to re-establish the franchise after being off our screens for so long. Not only did it represent the franchise well but it also added to the franchise, taking it into a brand new direction with new characters and plot developments. What I loved first and foremost was the return to the original idea of Hammond’s dream. The fourth instalment actually saw the dinosaur park open, rebranded ‘Jurassic World’. It was a vivid experience watching Zach and Gray explore this new world. Having been to Florida and experiencing the wonders of both Disney Land and the two Universal parks it made my enjoyment of the film even more exciting because it felt like I was delving into a real-life theme park. It felt like a combination between Universal Studios and Sea World. They went as far as adding in attractions such as the Mosasaurus show where the trainers fed the large sea creature a shark only for the audience members to get splashed, similar to the Killer Whale show at Sea World. These little features all brought in a authentic realisation that made the world in front of you seem all the more real, and this granted the film an extra special something in my eyes because it was clear that Spielberg and the team had gone to great depths to make this film a great product.
As stated above, the franchises story-arc returned and this time had the corporation InGen actually going as far as developing a genetically engineered dinosaur in order to improve the park’s ratings. This took this little story-arc into a whole new direction because the greedy nature of humanity had pushed itself to dangerous levels once more, this time creating something that’s entirely new which we don’t understand. On top of this the Indominus Rex was a highly intelligent killing machine that was able to kill everything in its sight. An impressive moment was when Owen was called in to examine the creature’s cage only to discover that it had escaped. This scene ended up pulling the rug from underneath your feet when it was revealed that the Indominus Rex was in fact camouflaging and the claw marks on the wall was a diversion in order to spring its actual escape when Owen and the others tried to leave the compound.
From there the film turned into a bloodbath of the creature rampaging across the island causing havoc. This was the typical part of the film, i.e. animals escape and teach humanity that they cannot control what can’t be controlled, but it felt even more grittier than before because of the elements involved. Humanity had stupidly gone ahead and created a dinosaur that was superior in every respect and now of course, unlike within previous films, had actual guests caught within the chaos with some of them actually being killed or seriously injured. This made this film the darkest of the lot because many lives were at stack and many deaths were involved. The worst death was of cause a woman that got taken by a pterosaur, after their escape due to the Indominus Rex, only to end up being eaten by the Mosasaurus.
For those worrying whether or not the Velociraptors get in on the action, yes they do. I was worried that they wouldn’t become a threat due to them being on friendly teams due to Owen’s training. But due to circumstances that I won’t discuss because of major spoilers, which serve as a great revelation towards why the Indominus Rex is so intelligent, the Raptors turn on the humans, and in a very brief scene took out an entire armed team of soldiers. They then hunted down Owen, Claire, Zach and Gray for the remainder of the third act. The greatest part about their short lived rampage was when Victor got ambushed by one, after his twisted plans were revealed to Owen. He cowered against the predator, thinking he could control it, and as predicted got his hand beaten off and then he was killed. The moral factor was delivered, as it was to Peter Ludlow in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
The bond between Owen and the Raptors returned and played an important role in the character’s survival. Their bond shared a resemblance to a wolf-pack in which Owen was accepted as their alpha, with the four Raptors donning their own names which granted them individuality. For the first time within the franchise you actual cared for the Raptors because they had a character and you became sad when one of them died. This is what made this film more impressive because it made you care for the previous villains. Because the Raptors leader, Blue, remembered its bond with Owen it decided to back off from attacking him and the others and actually continued to help him against their fight with the Indominus Rex. It’s fair to say that the resolution resulted in a climatic showdown between dinosaurs, ending the film on a cinematic experience that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Finally I’ll talk about some of the fantastic little nods into the past. Firstly the reusing of John William’s theme. I’m pretty sure everyone in the cinema had a little tear in their eye when that theme came on near the beginning of the film. It was an awe moment and served as pure nostalgia. It’s fair to say it was a beautiful moment and got the film starting on a good note that drew in the fans. One of the bizarre and funniest references to the past was one of the staff members wearing a ‘Jurassic Park’ t-shirt and then commenting on how great the original park was, forming as a nice little nod to the fans. Of course, for obvious reasons, Claire told him off for wearing it because of bad taste. Then the best one of all came when Zach and Gray stumbled across the original Visitor Centre during their escape from the Indominus Rex. It was now taken over by the vast jungle and forgotten but everything was still there. Zach even used the old banner as a means to light his torch. They then ventured through the old restaurant and even the gift shop before eventually riding off in one of the original vehicles. These scenes were just breathtaking because of the nostalgia involved. It was added further by the fact the Indominus Rex rampaged through the Visitor Centre, similar to the T-Rex in the original.
Jurassic World is a must see film. It was a fantastic addition to the franchise and did what Jurassic Park III should have done. Looking back on it after this film, it makes me even sadder because it really did fail in adding to the previous two films. Jurassic World offers both fans and new viewers an enjoyable experience, one that would even make newer viewers want to return to the franchise’s roots. The film offers nostalgia on the highest order whilst offering a new adventure that absolutely adds tons of fantastic ideas to the table which expand the film’s already brilliant narrative. Controversially, I actually find this my favourite film. The Lost World: Jurassic Park has been replaced as my favourite, that’s how good I thought Jurassic World to be. My advice would be to skip Jurassic Park III completely and enjoy the masterpiece of this brand new instalment, because seriously, it does everything right and really expands upon the original two films and does them honour.