Jurassic World seemingly disregards the cannon established by The Lost World and Jurassic Park III by following an alternate future in which a park is successfully opened after the disaster of the events of the first film. While like many of the park critters, this film has bared a few more teeth than its predecessors and upped the ante in terms of violence, this film is still a few tiers short of the grandeur of the original classic.
The film unfolds much as one would expect. Industrialists try to capitalize on the marketability of dinosaurs, so a park is opened, things go horribly, horribly wrong and a few deaths are involved. This aspect of the film is actually a mixed bag working at first in favour of the film but then also serving as its first stumbling block. On the one hand, the film sets out to deliver to fans what many desire to see – a functioning park, carnage and dino-on-dino action. Confessedly, that aspect is well delivered, however this cookie cutter approach has done little to revitalize the concept. Point in fact, this film draws perilously close to becoming a toned down Godzilla vs (Insert Monster Here). The upshot is, if that’s what you’re looking for then you’re in capable hands!
Those however seeking a film baring more in common with the more cerebral elements of the first film may find themselves in want of more as there is little to be found. Jurassic Park borrowed quite heavily from the work of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein in illustrating how the things we create can have a tendency to bite back at their creator and how playing God elicits unforeseeable consequences. In this regard the film form-fits itself very well into the spare already created by the original film without trying to push out into too many new directions. In other words, this film takes no risks.
Quite happily, the cast works quite harmoniously together. Most notably, Irrafan Khan’s portrayal as park owner Simon Masrani is well written and executed. He presents a businessman refreshingly aware, who is neither too sinister nor too naive. His actions are pragmatic as would be dictated by a responsible man in his position, not only to his investors but to his patrons. Regrettably, he is not in the film as much as I would have liked. Chris Pratt and Vincent D’Onofrio are also unfortunately cookie cutter and while not particularly vibrant, deliver what is called for to get this film off the ground.
It’s hard to find criticism for a film that wagers little. It accomplishes little, thus the return is proportional and so justified. The movie is by the numbers action with dino-brawling to boot. Boasting all of the toys and gimmicks that we’d love to see (gyroball!) in a real life park, the film offers the dinosaurs often featured on the discovery and animal planet channels with the carnage they can’t. The film seemed to dedicate itself to deliver just this, and so they did – with little else.
At the end of the day, this is a film that will divide the Jurassic Park fanbase. The original film was so nuanced and diverse and incorporated many different elements to achieve its well earned success and position in history. Indeed there are fans of that film who enjoyed it simply for the spectacle and that’s perfectly valid. Said fans have no need to fear for packed with spectacle this film surely is! Those however, seeking a more nuanced exploration or critique of our ever and rapid expanding technical prowess may leave the theater in want of something more. Like the park itself, ticket purchases are very much buyer beware.