Don’t Be Dino Dinner – JURASSIC WORLD

Jurassic World
Release Date: 6/12/15
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Grade: A-

The crack of an egg begins our journey, beckoning us beneath the iconic arches and into a place where science, blind ambition, and voracious consumer (and dinosaur) appetites collide to create something outrageous.

Welcome to Jurassic World, directed by Colin Trevorrow.

Serving as a perfect parallel to the “bigger, scarier, cooler, toothier” creatures that inhabit it, this place is far from the lovably dated park run by a ‘90s UNIX system that we once knew. Jurassic World is portrayed as the love child of Universal Studios and Walt Disney World on steroids, run by technology that puts The Avengers’ Tony Stark to shame, and populated by creatures genetically engineered to draw larger and larger crowds.

The first half of the movie is somewhat slow, but clearly works toward a climax. As we’re stewed in the awesome enormity of Jurassic World, we’re introduced to increasingly intimidating creatures, establishing just how far down the food chain the park creators have placed us, all in the pursuit of attendance spikes.

In a tale of one-upmanship gone unchecked, this new park is both awesome and terrifying. Audiences will note the absence of almost every original character except for Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), who represents the “coulda, not shoulda” side of science. Pursuing the “coolest” creatures imaginable, Jurassic World creates something entirely new: the Indominus Rex, or I-Rex.

As Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm (who is sadly absent from this film) put it in the lackluster The Lost World, “Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later, there’s running and screaming.”

And boy, is there ever. With a death count (both human and dino, alike) that seems to easily surpass the first three movies put together, Jurassic World is a monster mash-up with some wonderful touches of nostalgia and a few surprises along the way.

Performances from the cast ground this fantastical movie. As the unlikely pant-suited protagonist of the film, Bryce Dallas Howard plays her part well. All bobbed-hair control and stiletto-heeled precision, she hustles from place to place as a cold, numbers-driven career woman who’s too busy running the great goliath to notice all the opportunities for mayhem. Chris Pratt plays Owen, Claire’s swaggering, raptor-training foil. As he drives the plot (and a pack of velociraptors) forward, Pratt’s Wildman Owen knowingly serves as the film’s moral backbone, reminding us of the dangers inherent in believing yourself in control of living things bred to be smarter than you are.

Irrfan Khan plays Simon Masrani, the park owner whose adventurous soul and damn-the-torpedoes sensibility make for a better mission statement than mission control. As Hammond 2.0, he keeps us hoping that he’ll take charge of the chaos.

Also supporting is Vincent D’Onofrio as Hoskins, a snake in the grass with serious tunnel vision and an eye for militarized dinosaurs. As Hoskins, D’Onofrio does his job well, confidently raising the hackles of every human and dinosaur within close range.

The screenplay by Colin Trevorrow, Michael Crichton, Derek Connolly, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver crafted a world we love with a flavor that complements the first three movies. Turning wonder and majesty into self-aware cynicism and an anti-commercialism glint in its eye, Jurassic World feels both new and familiar. Its humor, grasp of suspense, and hints of philosophy re-establish this world without repeating itself as Jurassic World incorporates modern concerns within the pace and framework of the ‘90s classic. Though there were some extraneous plot detours and speedbumps along the way, the movie is an altogether exciting, adrenaline-charged ride that keeps viewers chomping their nails to nubs.

Steven Spielberg’s influence as executive producer is felt as well. With touches from the original film, and a few other possible in-jokes, fans of the original and of Spielberg’s work as a whole will find themselves slyly grinning before the nail biting begins again.

Jurassic World is a killer start to the summer with the smarts, wit, excitement and intense dino-battles to keep any audience riveted.

Ladies and gentlemen: The Park is open.

~Katie Gile

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It’​s n​ot about control. It’s a relationship based on respect.

22 years after John Hammond’s attempt to control nature in Jurassic Park, the world’s 8th wealthiest man (Simon Masrani) has a fully functional dinosaur themed park named Jurassic World. The park has been operational for 10 years and currently attendance is stagnant. The park’s operational manager, Claire, notes that every time the park adds a new attraction attendance spikes. Therefore, Claire is working with large corporations to sponsor a new attraction that is bigger and more dangerous than ever before. The new attraction, Indominus Rex, is a genetically modified dinosaur that has unknown abilities due to her mysterious combination of DNA. Owen Grady is an exmilitary animal trainer who is assigned to the Velociraptor Paddock and has successfully bonded with four Raptors. On Grady’s heels is the head of InGen security, Vic Hoskins, who wants to use the Raptors in military combat. While Masrani is keenly aware of the delicate balance between genetically modified creatures and nature, it seems that only he and Grady truly understand the difference. When the new attraction lures Grady into a trap, the lives of 20,000 people, including Claire’s two nephews, are at stake.

You just went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea.

First and foremost – This is a Steven Spielberg trademark blockbuster.  The legendary director’s signature is felt throughout the $150 million epic.  Pay close attention to the little things. The close up of the bird’s feet in the opening scene reminds us that birds are descended from dinosaurs.  The scene with the great white shark being fed to the Mosasaurus pays homage to Jaws and Jurassic Park fans will recognize a famous landmark on Isla Nublar.  I also noticed more branding in this film than any other out this year from the Verizon Indominus Rex exhibit to the Hilton Isla Nublar Resort to Mercedes Benz.  Universal does a fantastic job with product placement.

In his first major release, Trevorrow has created a terrifying, yet highly entertaining film.  The dinosaurs are bigger, faster and more intimidating.   He also brings back the wonderment we felt in the groundbreaking first installment 22 years ago.  Credit must also be given to the set designers and cinematographer John Swartzman who bring Jurassic World to life.  The casting of Chris Pratt to play Owen Grady is ingenious. His relationship with the velociraptors known as Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo is remarkable.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I do love raptors. Individuals old enough to remember watching the first film on the big screen will get a bit nostalgic when they hear John Williams’ famous theme song.  The Wait is Over – The Park is Open.

~A.S. MacLeod

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This addition to the Jurassic Franchise ups the Wow Factor times a billion! The 10 years of re-writes were well worth the wait. Relatively unknown director, Colin Trevorrow, successfully blends the incredible talent of the cast with breathtaking CGI and special effects. With only one character included from the previous films (possibly another but I’m not sure), the rest of the casting was as perfect as the theme park depicted using Kodak 35mm and 65mm film instead of digital cameras. The cinematographer’s (John Schwartzman) decision to use film stock in combination with the 2.00:1 aspect ratio results in an extremely visually pleasing scenes and believable human to dinosaur viewing. The park is open so buckle up and ride into Isla Nublar to experience the incredible creatures and the humans who are responsible for your entertainment!

~Movie Buffette

 

 

About Leigh Ann Rassler

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