Film Review: Jurassic World (★★)

jurassic-world-teaser-posterWell let’s start with the obvious.  If you never saw “Jurassic Park” or “The Lost World” and “Jurassic Park III” is your benchmark for the dinosaur franchise, then you’ll likely really like “Jurassic World.”  If you’ve seen all of them, then you have a glimmer of hope in me saying that it’s not as bad as “Jurassic Park III” but that doesn’t say much.

Putting the dinosaurs in the driver’s seat with the humans in the back, it’s as if Amblin Entertainment wanted to make their own version of the “Avengers,” bringing all the vicious dinosaurs together to communicate, team together, and take on a new, “badder” villain that is sure to entertainment young adolescents but not anyone who embodies logic and sense.

Director Colin Trevorrow has a respect for the 1993 blockbuster that literally changed the visual effects landscape forever.  There are little homages to the original, but “Jurassic World” begins a new story in the quest to re-create the extinct species.  Finally opening up to the public, the Jurassic World theme park is now a resort destination for people all around the globe.  Founder John Hammond (who was played by the late Richard Attenborough in the original) has passed on and left it to Mr. Masrani (played by Irrfan Kahn).  With the help of his overambitious vice president (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) and Dr. Henry Wu (played by BD Wong reprising his role), they have created a new genetic hybrid to excite the general public again.  Of course, things go wrong.  Don’t worry…Chris Pratt is there to save the day and he’ll figure everything out just by looking at the dinosaurs.

jurassic-world-2-e1422863047174Ridiculous.  That’s all I could say during several instances throughout.  Velociraptors are communicating with humans, in a way that doesn’t seem feasibly possible.  Anyone familiar with the horror franchise “Puppet Master” from the 80’s and 90’s might remember that the little killer dolls were scary as hell for the first couple of movies.  They struck fear into those who watched until the franchise decided that they needed to become the good guys.  That’s what scribes Trevorrow, Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa, and Derek Connolly bring to the table.  The dinosaurs are fighting…with us…against other dinosaurs…and then are corrupted…to fight with the dinosaurs…now against us…and then have an epiphany….that they are one of us….to fight the dinosaurs again.  There is literally a scene in which the velociraptor nudges his head to a human pretty much saying, “I got this.”  Not sure if I wanted to laugh or cry.

It’s not all bad.  There are definite instances of fun, and for a casual movie-goer, this summer blockbuster will surely suffice.  If you lower your expectations, just see it for what it is, then “Jurassic World” can be wholeheartedly satisfying.  The aerial shots of the park are surely impressive.  Jake Johnson is terrific comic relief in the best ways and Vincent D’Onofrio is a sleazy, money hungry thug that will set plans in motion for more films in the franchise.  Little girls might even find their new teen hunk in the innocent Ty Simpkins or the very awkwardly horny Nick Robinson.

For a franchise that re-defined visual effects, the film is a green screen nightmare.  Indominus Rex, the new dinosaur hybrid definitely received the lion’s share of the dollars spent on CGI.  Its skin, facial expressions, and roar are on point.  Everything else around him sadly is not.  Hopefully they spend just as much time on ALL the animals next time around.

Jurassic World” is silly, but I think there’s still room for some magic from the once dynamite franchise.  The original cast’s story lines offer enough material to bridge their way into this new world.  Where’s Lex and Tim now?  Maybe they’re activists against the park?  Nostalgia can be an easy and lazy way out as we’ve seen with other sequels/reboots but this is one that I think calls for it.  I think “Jurassic World” has places to go from here.  I hope the studio finds its way with it.

“Jurassic World” opens in theaters on Friday.