It’s a summer filled with nostalgia as Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the Terminator and dinosaurs are running amok in Jurassic World, the latter raking in the dough at the box-office like the original Jurassic Park did. Both franchises had their golden moment in the early 90s and were responsible for kicking of the use of CGI in movies. 2 decades later these franchises are both subject to a reboot/sequel with Terminator Genisys and Jurassic World.
22 years after the original trial tour of the park went kind of disastrous, Jurassic Park is finally open. Now renamed Jurassic World for marketing reasons but the concept has stayed the same: a zoo with previously extinct animals. Still located on a remote island, the visitors are brought in on large yachts by the dozens and business is booming. But apparently people aren’t wowed anymore by a feeding T. Rex or Mosasaurus if we believe the management of the park and so the men responsible fro cloning the dinosaurs in the first place work on a custom dinosaur which is made up of the DNA of several other dinosaurs. The result: the Indominus Rex; a dinosaur that can control his body temperature, camouflage himself like a chameleon and makes the Spinosaur look like a
pussy Brachiosaurus. By faking his escape, the Indominus Rex gets an opportunity to actually break free from his confinement and starts killing everything in his path. Something you really don’t want in a park filled with visitors.
In the middle of the mayhem is a familiar band of people. Not that any of the original cast returns, aside from scientist Dr. Wu, but the characters are a take on the cast from the original Jurassic Park. Chris Pratt plays Owen, who works with the Raptors. Bryce Dallas Howard is Claire who is so held up in her work she has hardly time for her family which is why her teenage nephews are visiting. Owner of the park is Masrani (Irffan Kahn) who actually quotes John Hammond’s “spared no expense” and there is the dubious character of Hoskins who wants weaponize the dinosaurs. “Imagine if we let loose one of these things in Tora Bora” he says witnessing a Raptor in the wild.
In the first sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) sums these movies movies up nicely: Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and um, screaming. This is true for all of the Jurassic Park movies including this one, showing that there’s probably nowhere this franchise can go other than retreading the same paths from the original.
Jurassic World does not only retread these paths, it’s basically a sequel that probably started out as a reboot on paper. The similarities between this movie and the first movie are in such large numbers it’s hard to see this movie as a copy or just full of homages. Both movies feature a set of teenage kids of which the youngest has extensive dinosaur knowledge and the oldest has a certain skill which will come in handy in the third act in the movie. There’s Claire and Owen; a couple which has some sexual chemistry even though they don’t match at all and the finale has one main villain dinosaur being attacked by other dinosaurs. Aside from these rather big elements that appear in both movies, director Colin Trevorrow also includes constant winks and elements from the first movie like a scene in which Claire tries to attract the attention of the T. Rex with a flare.
This makes the movie hard to judge on its own because people new to this franchise will miss out on all these nods and will see a movie that has a lot of dinosaurs eating people as well as other dinosaurs. To them it’s just another CG-filled blockbuster that doesn’t have the same impact the original had 22 years ago. Even though that was a simple monster movie, the then ground breaking special effects and skillful hand of Steven Spielberg created a modern day classic. That movie had some iconic imagery like the ripple in the water effect which forebode impeding doom. Despite all the cool visuals and impressive effects such a scene is non-existent in Jurassic World which is a shame.
However, Jurassic World took a good look at what made the other two sequels so disappointing and learned from the mistakes. Jurassic World doesn’t have a Deus Ex Machina ending like Jurassic Park III. nor does it make the mistake of having goofy scenes like a T. Rex running through the streets of San Diego or escaping from Raptors by doing somersaults. It’s a perfectly fun movie that at least has a decent quality to it compared to a lot of other nature-strikes-back movies which are usually made on a $25 budget. It’s main success lies in the fact that it isn’t as disappointing the previous two movies. It’s not a classic, but surprisingly better and entertaining than anyone would have expect it to be.