Jurassic World

Jurassic World promises an entertainment high and it delivers with a monstrous bite.

Some films are critic proof. Sometimes even the most verbose film critics will find themselves in gleeful abandon, for no other reason than pure cinematic indulgence. I know I did. Likewise, Jurassic World will do that to you in the most eye-popping, heart-racing way a tent pole summer movie can.

Right off the bat I’ll say that after the disastrous Jurassic Park III (2001), this fourth installment has no reason to exist. In fact, Jurassic World is filled with so many inconsistencies, calling it flawed would be an act of kindness. Comprising of uneventful drama about corporate excess and consumer supply and demand, pacing is a major issue during the first half of the film. Symbolic to the film’s subtle theme on humanity’s greed for bigger and better material possessions, this part of the film is nothing more than a talky filler leading up to the non-stop action saved for the second half. However, the pay-off is extremely gratifying and worth the wait, and it only gets better with each passing minute.

Set 22 years after the events of the first film, we are taken back to the Eastern Pacific island of Isla Nublar, where the titular theme park has reopened and is once again a major tourist attraction. In the tradition of preceding films, the story revolves around a female protagonist, this time park operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) who believes in enticing tourists with newer attractions. Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond is replaced by Bollywood thespian Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani, the new owner of Jurassic World. Masrani is uneasy about Dearing’s new attraction – a bigger and meaner hybrid creation called Indominus Rex. For the cinema audience, this aptly relates to a bigger, louder and scarier prehistoric monster. Wish granted! Even before Indominus is released as an ‘attraction’, expert Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) discovers something abnormal about this new creature. And so it begins like it always does – an accident is shrugged off as a near-miss incident. It should have been a warning. When the second accident occurs, it’s already too late.

Running, screaming and utter pandemonium forms the rest of the film, punctuated with the occasional yet distinctive sound of a predatory ‘chomp’. This is when the film lifts off with blistering pace thanks to well executed action, suspense driven terror and technical achievements that include fluid animatronics, and fantastic visual and sound design. Production design is also massive in keeping with original author Michael Crichton’s intricately detailed world in the Jurassic Park novel. In only his second foray as director, it’s safe to say that Colin Trevorrow has done his homework, especially with special effects bigwig Steven Spielberg overseeing the production as executive producer. Look out for two new ferocious creatures and an old favorite brought back for an amazing finale. And just to appease fans of monster movies, Trevorrow also interjects the action with several references to the first film, along with memorable scenes from King Kong (2005) and even James Cameron’s Aliens (1986). Although this doesn’t say much about originality, it still works as solid aid to the entertainment factor. On the downside, and if there is a weak link in human characterization, it would have to be Howard’s stereotypical damsel in distress. Only here, her character is written off as a pushy corporate executive who can outrun ravenous dinosaurs with high heels! On the other hand, Pratt anchors the film with an Indiana Jones getup and is genuinely engaging throughout. Cocky yet equally charismatic, this is an actor highly capable of becoming the next Tom Cruise.

That said, Jurassic World and its older siblings have never been about an actor’s depth. It’s all about the dinosaurs and their fight for supremacy in the food chain. After all, these were creatures of calamity but also creatures that dominated the planet long before we did. Bringing them back to full celluloid life is where this film excels and by the looks of it, no expense was spared. In other words, if there’s one film that gives you your money’s worth this summer, this is it and does so in Jurassic proportions.

Rating: ★★★½☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.