IT’S been 22 years since Steven Spielberg brought Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park to the big screen.
I remember watching that film and being blown away by the dinosaurs in it. I also remember being disappointed by the two films that followed it.
So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I went to see the fourth instalment in the franchise, Jurassic World. Could it be as good as the original? The short answer is yes.
Although Spielberg is not in the director’s chair, his influence as executive producer can be felt in the film, and there are a host of fun nods to the original, courtesy of holograms and a visit to the original building where T-Rex and the veloceraptors had a fight to the death.
In the new film, the disaster at Jurassic Park is a distant memory and Isla Nublar off the coast of Costa Rica is now owned by the Masrani Corporation. It is also a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, just like the one originally envisioned by John Hammond (played in the first film by the late Richard Attenborough).
At Jurassic World you can let your children ride on the back of a young horned Triceratops or hand feed a little Brachiosaurus; you can watch a Mosasaur — a giant, carnivorous marine reptile — snacking on a shark; see T-Rex feeding; and take a journey through the park on monorails or in a gyrosphere.
Of course, like any theme park, the owners are looking for bigger and better attractions to show their guests. And that’s where things take a nasty turn.
The lab geeks, headed up by Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) have been playing in the dinosaur gene pool and what they have created makes T-Rex look like a pussycat.
The Indominus Rex is not just a massive predator with foot-long teeth, she is also very clever and uses her intelligence to trick the staff and then break out of her supposedly impregnable enclosure.
It’s the worst possible news for Jurassic World’s manager, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and the owner, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), who watch helplessly as their monster rampages through the park killing other dinosaurs — and any humans she encounters — for sport.
Enter Owen (Chris Pratt), a dinosaur wrangler who has been working with and training four veloceraptors since birth.
The military, led by Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), is keen to use the dinosaurs on the battlefield. They see the disaster as a perfect time to test the raptors and see if they can be controlled.
Owen reluctantly agrees; and the scene in which Pratt, riding a motorcyle, speeds through the jungle surrounded by his raptor “family” is one of the best in the movie.
Aside from the action sequences — which include winged dinosaurs attacking people in the park and a showdown between T-Rex and Indominus — there is also a strong human element to the film.
This centres on Claire, an uptight career woman, who finds herself trekking through the forest and dodging dinosaurs, as she and Owen work together to save her nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) from being eaten. That she manages to do so in a pair of heels is mind boggling!
What that all means is that Jurassic World is the perfect popcorn movie. It offers movie-goers plenty of action, a bit of romance and it doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. So, do yourselves a favour and go and see it. You won’t regret it.
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