Hats off to director Colin Trevorrow, who has managed to rejuvenate the Dino-franchise to somewhere close to its original former glory. Borrowing from it’s predecessor Jurassic Park (1994) it addresses the same simple premise. Just because mankind can, doesn’t mean it should. After a long wait the park is once again open for business.
The story revolves around a modern day park that runs on a theme park model, there are investors, focus groups and targets to meet. This is the catalyst for the creation of the parks new attraction, the terrifying Indominus Rex genetically engineered by BD Wong’s Dr. Henry Wu (the only returning cast member). It’s a giant, chameleonic beast with all kinds of Dino-DNA making it a formidable and intelligent creature, and once it gets out into the wider World, chaos begins.
Colin Trevorrow was a major risk factor when Steven Spielberg announced him at the helm of Jurassic World, with only one indie film behind him 2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed. What Spielberg admired about the young director, was his unflappable determination to pursue one singular vision. In that film Trevorrow explores the idea of time travel, taking a foolish character and endearing him to his audience to the point where they share in his dream of time travel.
In Jurassic World he similarly explores one singular vision, he toys with the idea of modernity, how the younger generation wants everything bigger, faster and as he puts it ‘with more teeth.’ At times you’d be forgiven for thinking that Trevorrow is perhaps cynical, or that after years of toil in independent cinema, that he resents the blockbuster expectations. That is until he fully embraces the wonder of the original franchise, the enormous pounding rhythm of a film that is built to thrill, to cause its audience to gasp and grimace at its shear physical presence. I couldn’t help but glance at the audience during climactic moments to see them poised on the edge of their seats. Most importantly, Jurassic World is fresh, after two disappointing sequels Trevorrow understood what made the original one of the biggest films in history and while it often tips its hat to the original, it’s not a copy, introducing more than enough plot twists to ensure a new wave of sequels.
Many critics have attacked the script for its sloppy handedness. It started with claims that Chris Pratt’s character Owen Grady was as prehistoric as the park’s attractions, a misogynist from a bygone era. Despite some over sights in the script, Owen Grady is as every bit as compelling Sam Neil’s Alan Grant, but he’s reinvented for a modern generation, he’s an action hero in every sense of the word, but Pratt’s everyman appeal makes him enticing to watch, much like a younger Harrison Ford, he has a charm and nonchalant humour which makes him perfect for the summer blockbuster. I would agree with some that the new storylines that are introduced do need fleshing out some more, particularly the storyline of Velociraptors being trained as weapons to hunt terrorists cells in the jungles of Bora Bora, even I found that farfetched and I hope its not a storyline they pursue in future sequels.
You have to admire the ambition of this film. To be given the mammoth responsibility of reinvigorating this well loved franchise. Trevorrow has given it a new lease of life, seamlessly blending modern CGI with a bigger, faster, action packed storyline. For a fairly inexperienced director to make this step up is nothing short of astounding, it’s only a shame he won’t be returning for the sequels. With the success of Mad Max: Fury Road and now Jurassic World taking 85 million at the box office on it’s opening day, it seems this is the year of the reboot. We’ll have to wait to see if Star Wars VII can follow suit this Christmas.
Written by Will Harper