‘Jurassic World’ Review

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Dir: Colin Trevorrow

Writer(s): Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, Vincent D’Onofrio, BD Wong, Lauren Lapkus and Irrfan Khan

Synopsis: Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.

 

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

It’s been around twenty years – in real life – since we first saw the original Jurassic Park hit theaters. The movie pushed the boundaries and arguably rejuvenated the industry in terms of special effects and animatronics. The first film holds a special place in many people’s hearts, including mine, so when Jurassic World was announced, it had many of us skeptical about how this new movie would hold up against the original that had great moments and characters. Well, guess what, Jurassic World is a great sequel to the original and does have great moments and some good characters.

 

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Because the saying “learn from your mistakes” apparently doesn’t exist in this world, Jurassic Park, now called Jurassic World has been open for a few years now on the same island, Isla Nublar, where the events of the first film took place. John Hammond’s dream of a theme parked filled with real life dinosaurs has come to fruition thanks to industry billionaire Masrani (Khan), who wanted to carry Hammond’s wish. The park is run by Claire (Howard) who is under a microscope to get the park’s numbers up. Cue the new genetically mutated, hybrid dinosaur: Indominous Rex, bigger, faster, and of course, more deadly.

 

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That’s not Claire’s only problem, she also has her nephew’s Zach (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins) coming to visit for the week. Gray is thrilled to be there and wants to visit everything possible, while Zach rather be elsewhere and not babysit his younger brother. The other storyline is raptor trainer and ex-Navy solider, Owen (Pratt) who sees not just his raptors, but all dinosaurs as something that should be respected and that they are animals living in a different time, and are not theme park attractions that can be controlled. He also has his problems with InGen worker Hoskins (D’Onofrio), who thinks Owen’s raptors can be used for something more.

 

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There is a lot of moving parts in Jurassic World, and some of them work really well while others fall flat or are underdeveloped or underwhelming. Of course the idea of creating extinct animals could be seen as a noble one or, like in this case, an easy way to make a ton of money, but dinosaurs? I mean come on. So who do we have to thank for the dinosaurs in Jurassic World? Well none other than the only returning character from the original film, Dr. Henry Wu (Wong). He also was the one that design the Indominous Rex for the park to spike audiences and sponsors interest. Then it breaks out and sets off a chain of events that lead to all out chaos that echoes what has happened in the past. It’s almost one of the running themes in the series, that greed and maybe even hubris overtake our rational side of thinking. Because seriously, making a new dinosaur? Really? Especially how the Indominous Rex is so damn terrifying. It’s big, fast, and doesn’t care what is in its way. The Indominous Rex is a great addition to the dinosaur villains.

 

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But, and this is something that is also bought up in the movie, is our (general public) need for more our downfall. Director Colin Trevorrow is almost making fun of the public’s need for more as all throughout the park are noticeable and big name brands, making Jurassic World not just a speculate, but also a marketing darling.

 

The other theme is relationships, and Jurassic World goes back to its roots and gives us two great younger leads opposite two great adult leads. The relationship between the two brothers feels genuine and Robinson and Simpkins play well off each other. The relationship could have gone a little deeper, because there is a potential for it. As for Claire and Owen, they have an interesting one. They went on a date that was memorable for the reason you wouldn’t think. The two are exact opposites of each other and it works at the beginning, but once things go, well, Jurassic Park-y the both of them realize they need to work together, which leads to a somewhat forced romantic arch. I say somewhat because it comes and goes and isn’t in our face so much like others we’ve seen.

 

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Now, to the thing I know everyone will complain about: the CGI. Yes, Jurassic World’s dinosaurs are mostly CGI. Some of it looks absolutely great and it works for what they are trying to do and makes sense why they would go the CG route, and it’s not because it’s easier. It’s not a complete departure for the series. The first Jurassic Park did have animatronics and touched them up with CGI to make the dinosaurs look even better than they already did. Luckily, there is an animatronic dinosaur in the movie and it is a great scene at that. I don’t want to go too much into the scene, but the scene will bring you back to the first movie.

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Speaking of that, Jurassic World isn’t a reboot, it is a continuation to the series. However, it doesn’t try to forget what came before it. It embraces it and not going pays respect, but pays homage and stays a bit within the spirit of the first movie. The good thing is that it doesn’t do it to rehash the ideas or even say “hey, look at it!” Jurassic World is its own thing, but it reminds us that we’re all fans and Trevorrow is remember what made this series and first movie so special.

 

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Going back to the cast, it is the cast that makes Jurassic World also work. Pratt isn’t a goofy character, not that his character doesn’t throw in a few witty one-liners, he’s probably the most serious character we’ve seen him in a while. Bryce Dallas Howard is a great female character that learns the errors in her ways and has a nice character development moment. Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus appear as control room workers that have great character moments and are pretty much the default comedic reliefs. BD Wong finally gets worthwhile big screen time (his character in Jurassic Park book is more of strong supporting character), but his character coming back isn’t fully developed which is a shame.

 

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When it comes to the “weak” (I say weak for the lack of a better word at the moment) cast members, it may surprise you that Vincent D’Onofrio is one of them. His character’s motivations automatically make him the human villain, but the way his character presents himself is sometimes a bit too much or a way a character in that kind of position shouldn’t really be acting like. Omar Sy, who plays Owen’s friend, gets the short end of the stick and doesn’t get a lot to do, so we really can’t blame him. Judy Greer’s short appearance as Claire’s sister and Zach and Gray’s mom is interesting to watch, but considering he literally has about three scenes, I can’t put her high up on the list.

 

All in all, Jurassic World pays respect and captures the spirit the first movie and if you’re a true fan of the series you’ll catch the homages and cool Easter Eggs thrown in there. There are fantastic moments in this and I couldn’t believe that a movie could make me feel like a kid again, even if it was for a minute. Does the entire movie work? No, some things are left open and just pushed to the side, but you can almost forgive them after experience all the great moments. Jurassic World is a ton of fun, and isn’t that what’s most important in a summer movie? I think so.

 

Jurassic World

4.5 out of 5

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Anticipated Movies of 2013 Part 1

Well 2012 was a great year of movies don’t you think? Well 2013 seems to be another great year too. As you can tell from the title, this is going to be a list of my anticipated movies of 2013. Of course to spare you from reading a long list I’m going to separate it months at a time. Remember this is my list so don’t think that all of these movies are going to be a home run.

Jan

4th: Zero Dark Thirty

Although it gets a wide release the following week, here in Chicago it comes out a little earlier. Nonetheless, Kathryn Bigelow did an amazing job with her first war film The Hurt Locker that sprung the careers of Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie. Now, she comes back with yet another war movie about the biggest manhunt of Osama bin Laden with an already star studded cast of Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton and Mark Strong.

 

11th: Gangster Squad

Just look at the cast and you can see why everybody is excited for this. Add in newcomer director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and the gangsters and you got me hooked.

 

18th: The Last Stand, Broken City, Mama

The first stacked weekend of the year with the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a leading role, a political thriller with Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg, and a Guillermo del Toro produced horror movie based on a creepy short film.

 

25th: Movie 43, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Parker, John Dies at the End

Another stacked week with a comedy of different stories with different actors and directors, a twist on a well known fairy tale and another Jason Statham movie with Michael Chiklis and JLO (besides her I’m actually looking forward to the movie). Finally John Dies at the End has been making waves at film festivals and sometimes with good buzz comes a good movie (talking film festival wise)

 

Feb

1st: Bullet to the Head

            Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the movie looks pretty cool. Add in Sylvester Stallone’s “sense of humor” and the movie’s look of action then am in.

 

8th: Side Effects

Directed by Steven Soderbergh and what looks like a great thriller I can’t wait for it. Even if it has Channing Tatum.

 

15th: A Good Day to Die Hard

            While some think that the Die Hard franchise has past its “prime” or welcome point. I still find them highly entertaining and great fun. Now this adds John McClane’s son into the mix.

 

22nd: Snitch

Based on what is said to be a true story of a father going undercover for the DEA in order to free his son who was imprisoned after being set up in drug deal. The movie stars The Rock, I mean Dwayne Johnson as the father and it stars some other heavy hitters like Barry Pepper, Benjamin Bratt, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon and Michael Kenneth Williams.

 

Mar

1st: Stoker

Directed by the awesome Chan-wook Park (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Thirst) the trailers make the movie look like a crazy psychological thriller.

 

8th: Dead Man Down, The ABCs of Death

            The first American movie directed by Niels Arden Oplev who did the fantastic Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and even stars original Lisbeth Salander, Noomi Rapace. Then there’s a 26-chapter anthology that showcases death in “all its vicious wonder and brutal beauty.”

 

15th: Carrie

            Although many are against the remake, I was at first too but being against remakes nowadays isn’t really the worst thing, after seeing the teaser, the impressive cast of Julianne Moore and Chole Grace Mortez, and the fact that they are going to stick closer to the Stephen King book then De Palma 76’ film, (although that is really good) really makes me excited for this.

 

29th: G.I Joe: Retaliation, The Place Beyond the Pines

Although the first Rise of Cobra was more a dumb fun summer popcorn movie, it had its small moments. But even then the movie was not really good. So how do you make a sequel that makes you forget about the first one? Reboot of course, well a sort of reboot anyway. With a brand new cast of characters and more realistic looking action sequences I am highly excited for this. As you some of you know I was not happy with the year long delay either. Place Beyond the Pines looks pretty interesting with a respectful cast with Ryan Gosling leading the charge.

 

Apr

5th: Jurassic Park 3D Re-Release

            I mean come on lets face it. It’s a chance to see Jurassic Park again on the big screen.

 

12th: Evil Dead

Yet another remake of a classic horror movie I know but what does this have going for it? Well, first Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are producing. Raimi hand picked the young new director Fede Alvarez to redo this. Also, the red-band trailer that came out in the summer really helped put me (and maybe others) at ease that the movie was not going to disappoint.

 

19th: Oblivion

            By new visionary director Joseph Kosinski (Tron Legacy) the movie looks pretty good with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman leading the cast. Set in the future where humans managed to win a war against aliens but Earth was destroyed in the process seems pretty cool.

 

26th: Pain and Gain

Many of you know about my feelings for Michael Bay but after seeing the trailer for this and the cast of Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Ed Harris and Anthony Mackie, I’m kind of excited.