Release Date: OUT NOW!
12A | 125 minutes Director: Colin Trevorrow Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Judy Greer
“No one’s impressed by
dinosaurs anymore,” says Bryce Dallas Howard’s tightly- wound Claire Dearing, early on in Jurassic World. It’s a fair point: some 22 years since Steven Spielberg brilliantly breathed life into these prehistoric creatures in Jurassic Park, seeing dinosaurs roam the Earth – or rather on a private island near Costa Rica – is no longer quite the wonder it once was.
Even if the T- Rex and its pals have been largely absent from cinemas since 2001’ s Joe Johnston- directed Jurassic Park III, their mythological counterparts have not. From Pacific Rim to Godzilla, modern audiences have been well- served with CG- driven beasts causing wanton destruction on the big screen. So, like the lady says, why on earth do we need another Jurassic Park?
Incoming director Colin Trevorrow approaches the question with zeal. Inspired by a trio of ideas bestowed to him by Spielberg, Jurassic World is a fiendishly crafted blockbuster: old- fashioned thrills, heroism and romance, locked inside a smart, self- aware shell. Quite an achievement for a director whose only previous experience was the likeable- but- limited 2012 time- travel indie Safety Not Guaranteed.
Unlike Johnston’s sequel and Spielberg ’s own earlier 1997 follow- up The Lost World, both of which were guilty of recycling ideas and characters from the original, Jurassic World finally realises the vision of John Hammond, Richard Attenborough’s billionaire who first dreamt of a theme park full of prehistoric dinosaurs. It takes us back to Isla Nublar, where this ultimate attraction has been open to the public for a decade – backed now by Masrani Global, the corporation that took over Hammond’s InGen after his death.
With ticket sales dwindling, Irrfan Khan’s helicopter- flying tycoon Simon Masrani has opted to radically stimulate interest in Jurassic World, with a genetically- modified dinosaur hybrid that’s been bred in isolation. With this so- called Indominus Rex set to be unveiled, overseeing final safety checks is Howard’s aforementioned Operations Manager – on the very same weekend that her two nephews, the hormonesprouting teen Zach ( Nick Robinson) and his younger, dinosaur- crazy brother Gray ( Ty Simpkins), are set for a long- overdue visit.
It doesn’t take a palaeontologist to predict that the Indominus Rex will escape, nor that these squabbling siblings are set to be prime dino- feed. Saving the day is largely left to Chris Pratt’s park ranger Owen Grady. Part David Attenborough, part Steve McQueen, he’s soothing Raptors one minute, racing with them on motorbikes the next. If Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Star- Lord was Pratt’s Han Solo, then Grady is his Indiana Jones. Should the rumours of Pratt’s appointment as a rebooted Dr Jones come to pass, then surely the barrel- roll he does under a closing gate of the Raptor enclosure serves as the ideal audition.
More problematic is Bryce Dallas Howard’s contribution. It’s her first film since 2011’ s The Help, and with her character forced to cross a far bigger emotional canyon than Pratt, it makes for a tricky comeback. Her role is the career- driven cold- heart who must find her soul en route to survival, and it’s not hard to see why Joss Whedon tweeted that early footage of her made him think of “’ 70s- era sexism”. It doesn’t help that, rather ridiculously, she spends the entire film in high heels ( even sprinting in them, in one sequence).
As he did with Safety Not Guaranteed, Trevorrow toys with archetypes – and, to be fair, the banter between Pratt and Howard’s characters is more enjoyable than offensive; think Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw in Spielberg ’s own Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. Impressively, when romance flares, it’s swift, unexpected and makes the heart leap. And while a safety video featuring US talk show