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After several years of starts and stops as Universal attempted to find the right script to relaunch their Dinosaur franchise, “Jurassic World” has arrived.

The film picks up years after the events of the first film and does not reference the events of the 2nd or third film in the series as the focus is on the fact that the park has now become a fully functioning and popular resort destination.

Monorails, rides, petting zoos, hotels, restaurants, and of course, gift shops now dominate the island and keep the revenue going. The resort is under the watchful eye of Claire (Bruce Dallas Howard), who is an ultra-organized workaholic who reportedly brought an itinerary on a first date.

Claire is always finding a way to keep the cash flowing as the park has a very high overhead and as such, is always looking at new ways to attract fans as new attractions bring in more money.

Claire is in the midst of pitching their latest idea to investors, a genetically modified and created Dinosaur dubbed the “Indominous Rex” when her two nephews arrive.

The boys are taking a break from the cold climate of home as well as the fact that their parents are splitting up and see the trip as a way for their parents to get them out of the way by dumping them on their indifferent Aunt who assigns an assistant to watch them.

Naturally things do not go as planned as the new Dinosaur decides to bust up the fun and escapes from its enclosure and wreaks havoc on the humans and dinosaurs in the park.

Ex-Navy Raptor wrangler Owen (Chris Pratt) is requested to evaluate the situation and he sees the Indominous as a creature that kills for fun and is more intelligent than her creators thought, and with thousands of guests lining the park, this could be a disaster in the making. Not wanting to hurt their corporate image and investment, Claire and a scheming company exec named Hoskins (Vincent D’Onfrio); devise a series of plans to stop their new creation which only tend to exacerbate the situation.

With few options left, Owen and his pack muster their resources to locate and stop the most dangerous creature ever created before it can do even more damage to the guests and park.

The film is a spectacle of 3D CGI and there are plenty of great visuals and action sequences that underscore just how fat CGI technology has come since the first film. The creatures are simply amazing to see and the action is more intense and violent then some people may be expecting.

Director Colin Trevorrow directing only his second film and his first with any real budget has made sure the film never stops trying to wow the audience with plenty of sharp visuals and action and aside from a few pacing issues now and then, the film moves along well. The film does suffer at times from a fairly linear story and actors who at times are pretty much along for the ride and to be props for their CGI co-stars but Pratt and Howard do solid work as does Irrfan Khan and D’Onfrio.

The film uses elements of a script that was discarded when Universal was planning a new film, but it has been woven into the story in an intriguing way that does setup the next film in the series well and does offer up some very intriguing possibilities for future chapters.

For now, “Jurassic World” is a welcome return to the franchise, one that for me is the first true sequel to the original as I enjoyed it more than the two films that followed.

4 stars out of 5

 

Second Review

By Joseph Saulnier

It seems that the world is just full of reboots and remakes lately. Hollywood seems content in this full on powering forward of reviving old IPs and franchises. And just throw consistency out the door because I have found that you can’t predict how well the rehashing will do. The ones that you don’t expect much of just knock it out of the park, and the ones you are really excited about tend to fizzle and flop. Sometimes before they even make it to theaters (I’m looking at you TMNT). All one can really hope for is that it will at least try to be as good as its predecessor. Jurassic Park was a huge hit. Massive, even. It was/is a cultural focus point for the childhoods of many of my generation, so much so that we are willing to forgive the travesty that was the second and third films of this franchise. So does the fourth live up to the original, or does it go by the wayside with its slightly less than approved follow-ups. Don’t get your hopes up too much. This movie is not like the original film, but in such a great way.

As we have seen, public anticipation of a film can make or break a film before it has even wrapped filming. But what Jurassic World does well enough to make headway, and was probably the hope of every fan of JP, is keep it exciting start to finish. This is in no small part due to the massive amount of dino action throughout the film. JW took everything about JP and just did it, well… bigger.

As seems to be the theme in the world these days, JW picks up in real time following the events of JP. That is to say we come back to Isla Nublar 22 years following the events of the original. But now John Hammond’s vision has become reality. Jurassic World has the latest and greatest in technology to bring to life this theme park with rides revolving around the park’s 14 different species of herbivores and eight species of carnivores. But there’s a problem. Dinosaurs are old news now. No one is getting excited about Jurassic World anymore, and the mysterious billionaire owner (Irrfan Khan) wants to keep building on the success of the park. His right hand (wo)man (Bryce Dallas Howard) thinks the way to achieve more success is to bring something no one has ever seen before. So the creation of more awe-striking, fearsome, and “cooler”, dinosaurs begins to take shape. This leads them to the creation of the Indominous Rex (it has a more technical name, but this is so much easier to pronounce), a highly-intelligent, supremely deadly beast. One that was raised in captivity with its sister, who it ate as a child. See where this going yet?

Now enter retired the Navy, all-around badass (Chris Pratt). He was hired to conduct research on the trainability of the dinosaurs, and has specifically been working with a pack of four velociraptors. He was imprinted on them at birth, and over the years developed enough of a bond to become their alpha. Meanwhile, the head of InGen Security, a military contractor to provide emergency services in case of… well, an emergency, takes interest in this connection and plans to use it to create an army of raptors to use in military engagements. You know, it’s safer than drones.

So, all of this is going down while Howard’s character’s nephews (Ty Simpkings and Nick Robinson) arrive to explore the theme park. They are provided with awesome wrist bands that jumps them to the front of every line, but of course this is in lieu of their aunt actually spending time with them. Of course the events of the movie lead her to cherish them, and what they represent to her. Even as she is running for her life from the Indominous Rex.

Jurassic Park was full of awe, and was very majestic. This would be impossible to replicate, and it was a wise decision that the movie doesn’t even attempt to do so. Unfortunately, this takes away those moments where you’re like, “OMG, there are dinosaurs right there!” Because at this point in this universe, and in the real world, people are bored. “Dinosaurs? Been there, done that.” It’s old news. Instead, JW became this incredibly violent, 80’s style action movie. And it is great. All the wonderment is gone, and it’s all about the dinosaurs just… wreaking havoc. If you haven’t clued into this by the time the movie hits its climatic high point, you are probably losing your mind.

Quick note on the violence: if you have little ones who are fascinated by dinos, you may want to watchJW first. Then you can make your own decision on whether it is something they should watch. Even if they saw the original Jurassic Park. Violent is a bit of an understatement when describing this movie. The body count has gone way up compared to the original, many of which are innocent them park goers. Innocent dinosaurs also come under fire from the Indominous Rex, and it is a bit mean-spirited. This may not sit well with kids of any age.

So, now that you know what you are getting into, I think you will have a blast with Jurassic World. It is far from the original, but if you like a well-directed, and very well-designed, action-packed film, then you will have a good time. I know I did, and it will definitely be added to my collection come home release.

 

4 out of 5 stars

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