Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Lauren Lapkus, Brian Tee, Katie McGrath, Andy Buckley
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
I’ll be the first in line to admit that although I was super hyped to see Jurassic World, I definitely had a low bar set for it. I mean, trained velociraptors? Colin Trevorrow? No real mention of anything that happened in The Lost World or JP3? You could have called me skeptical, for sure. I’m pleased to define myself as wholeheartedly wrong. Jurassic World is fantastic, and as close to the original’s quality as you could possibly get.
Lets face it, you can’t beat the original Jurassic Park. That feeling you got as a kid when you first saw the T-Rex. This film knows that you were that kid 20 years ago, and they’re betting you want to check in on what happened in the last twenty years. Basically, despite everything that’s happened, Jurassic World exists, and InGen is doing just fine. Grace (Howard) runs a theme park that despite being the sole location for dinosaurs, is still looking for a way to boost attendance. So, they create a new dinosaur. In case you haven’t seen the trailer, chaos ensues. Without spoiling too much, the films leads are probably actually two kids, Zach (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins), who are sent to spend the weekend with their Aunt Grace, who doesn’t have time for them. So, they roam the park on their own while their parents (Greer, Buckley) get a divorce. Everyone’s favorite new A-lister Pratt plays Owen, an ex-Navy guy who is working on training velociraptors. They’re not really trained, it’s not a domestication of any kind, but he somehow gets to not be eaten by raptors, and can kinda get them to do what he wants them to do. D’Onofrio plays the token obviously bad guy who thinks this is cool and wants to weaponize dinosaurs. Khan is the new Hammond figure, the billionaire who owns the park. Johnson and Lapkus play techs, and BD Wong reprises his role from the first film.
I was a little worried when the director of the small Safety Not Guaranteed film landed Jurassic World. I actually didn’t love Safety Not Guaranteed, so I was even more worried. I know a lot of people liked it, but I was a little iffy about it. Trevorrow directs Jurassic World like he’s that kid who decided he was going to be a filmmaker after watching Jurassic Park. There’s so much love, admiration, and homage here that you can’t help but be impressed. Not only do you get to see Ian Malcolm’s book once, but it’s thrown in as an easter egg again later. Jake Johnson wears a Jurassic Park t-shirt, they walk through the original building, complete with original trucks and the night vision goggles.
In fact, I would argue that Trevorrow makes up for a lot of the shortcomings in the script. Four people have writing credits, one of them being Trevorrow. That many cooks in the kitchen left us with a script that leaves us with underdeveloped characters and sappy dialogue. Trevorrow just plows through that, and because he chose to cast a bunch of really likeable actors, we forget that they’re underdeveloped, because it’s impossible not to like Chris Pratt, Jake Johnson, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, and Ty Simpkins. Those five are so freaking adorable. Vincent D’Onofrio is an easy sell as a villain, because he’s played his fair share of villains already. The only ones who really get shorted are Katie McGrath and Brian Tee, both who could have used a few more minutes of screen time to actually tell us who their characters are. Not just their job title, but who they are as people.
Jurassic World is the kind of movie that you wait all year for. It’s the summer blockbuster that doesn’t disappoint, and actually delivers on all the excitement and wonder promised in the trailer, and makes up some ground for a franchise that had been run into the ground by the last sequel. If the next Jurassic film has most of the same cast and Trevorrow returning, we could be looking at a franchise resurgence similar to that of the Fast and Furious franchise… maybe this time without adding The Rock.
FINAL GRADE: A-