"I can't wait to tell my mom about this!"
Colin Trevorrow jumps from the modest indie flick, Saftey Not Guranteed to a monster of a movie. Jurassic World possesses a worthy, enduring childlike innocence that acts as a throwback to its fossilised predecessor. It bounces from wall to wall, the dinosaurs leap from the screen and as the original score swells into motion the sound of goosebumps rising resonates through the auditorium. It’s no walk in the park but it is outstanding summer cinema at it’s finest and definitely worth sinking your teeth into.
Don’t be fooled though, it is still a dinosaur movie at the end of the day so there are bound to be silly, unrealistic moments that make you laugh with dishonesty but this is a true cinema experience that the younger modern audience has been deprived of for so long. Despite the fact that I was 1 when Jurassic Park was released it still feels like a throwback to my childhood, or at least that sort of adventurous film making that Spielberg honed and that we customarily became accostomed to.
The nostalgia factor may be sent through the roof but Colin Trevorrow and the writers are carfeul not to turn that nostalgia into a gimmicky sequel. This is not Jurassic Park 4. Jurassic World defines its own position in the franchise without falling into cheap traps. It builds on the established nostalgia by reminding the older audience why they fell in love with Jurassic Park in the first place, whilst simultaneously attracting a fresh audience. All that and still the film feels incredibly current.
Playing off the contemporary SeaWorld debate there’s an element of Blackfish incorporated that could well tip the scales againt SeaWorld’s favour. With a fresh batch of new recruits in a young cinema going generation it appears cinema is up to its old tricks. Hiding an argument in plain sight is a generous way of wording ‘propaganda’ but that may be taking it a little too far. Jurassic World is not propaganda, but it is highly convincing in the subtle arguments it puts forward.
In Hoskins’ character, played by Vincent D’Onforio of recent Daredevil acclaim, the argument against corporatism roars into action and Trevorrow isn’t afraid to take a bite at the behemoth of corporate investment. Using Jurassic World as a vehicle to place an ethical challenge against moneymaking enterprise vs mass interest may not seem particularly nuanced. In fact, in the grand scheme of things it isn’t very subtle at all but to the switched on viewer who hasn’t just bought a ticket to see dinosaurs play hide-and-seek, consider the seed planted.
"So the paddock is quite safe then..."
Despite all the potential of the not-so-subtle anti-corporatism rhetoric smattered throughout, Jurassic World feeds off the nostalgic hype and delivers an effortless piece of blockbuster cinema that threatens its predecessor all the way back to its origins, quite literally. With references to John Hammond’s idealistic dream dotted throughout there’s plenty for the viewer to feast on, even if the character development and plot is limited to clichéd assurances that never really get the viewer going with anticipation.
In that sense the Jurassic World mission statement of ‘bigger is better’ is mirrored by the studio that released this beauty. New attractions cause a spike in park attendance, therefore it suits that a new dinosaur would appeal to the flocking cinema masses as much as the fictional patrons of Jurassic World. The Jurassic World promo did wonders to attract viewers, old and new, but was it because the teaser featured a new lairy dinosaur forged in the depths of Mount Doom? Or was it because viewers were genuinely interested in seeing a new Jurassic Park movie? If I could choose a little of both I would, but I’m going to say it was the former.
Don’t get me wrong there are shortlived, often honest moments of sincerity and lament. For example, when Owen and Claire stumble across a flock of herbivores killed for sport like a game of hyper-violent quidditch where the snitch turns rogue. But these odd twists and turns feel rushed in order to get to the good stuff. The nitty gritty. The guns and teeth, and, being born into Jurassic Park heritage, the eventuality of disaster.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard put in fairly good turns, neither are astounding but this isn’t some schmoozy drama tilted at the Palme d’Or. Nor does it sport the greatest script. There are wordy discussions of corporatism, genetics, and science. The finer moments between Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson respectively) are defined by an underplayed tone of brotherhood that never really gets going. But when there are raptors on your tail what do you expect.
Despite these relatively minor shortcomings there isn’t too much negativity I can throw at Jurassic World. It reimagines Jurassic Park, an instantly timeless piece of 90s cinema, with aplomb and delivers one of the summer blockbusters, rivalling Mad Max. Jurassic World is a Must-see for Jurassic lovers while it offers a truly stunning cinema experience for the younger audience.
I stand by that opening quote. It appears dinosaurs bring out the child in all of us.
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