Brief Review: Jurassic World (2015)

Jurassic World is an entertaining slice of popcorn cinema that deftly glosses over its shortcomings with pure, unadulterated spectacle.

Twenty two years after the ill-fated opening of Jurassic Park, the failed theme park has been morphed into the commercial powerhouse that is Jurassic World.  With the de-extinction of dinosaurs no longer a newsworthy topic, the suits in charge of the Isla Nublar park rely on developing exciting new attractions to keep the visitors pouring in.  This leads to the creation of the Indominus Rex.

This imposing beast soon wreaks havoc upon the island, leaving a handful of park employees and visitors to deal with the ensuing chaos.  The bulk of the story follows Owen (Chris Pratt), an Indiana Jones-esque velociraptor trainer, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), a number-crunching park manager, and her visiting nephews Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins respectively).

There’s one scene that is particularly memorable; a great white shark is dangled above a lagoon only to be snatched by the jaws of an impossibly large mosasaurus.  This impressive scene is indicative of the progression of the summer blockbuster.  Spielberg effectively invented the genre with Jaws, so with this once fearsome predator being swallowed whole, it’s an uncanny reflection of the apparent need for todays blockbusters to overshadow those before them.

However, in trying to outshine previous blockbusters, most tend to stumble in key areas. More often than not, story and characters take a backseat to spectacle.  Unfortunately, Jurassic World falls into this trap.  While undeniably entertaining, the cobbled-together plot and the shallow characters hamper the movie somewhat.  For the most part, the sheer scale and spectacle of Jurassic World makes up for it, but it’s a shortcoming that prevents it from upstaging Spielberg’s original.

The genetic-splicing concept might deter some fans but, overall, Jurassic World is a fine example of popcorn cinema.  Admittedly it lacks the tension and the childish wonder of the original Jurassic Park, but there are affectionate references aplenty.  If the nostalgia doesn’t get you, then the awesome spectacle will.

4-stars

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