Not unlike most boys my age, I was dinosaur mad as a child. Whilst I adored ‘Jurassic Park’ in my younger years, that affinity soon diminished and admittedly, I don’t have a fondness for the franchise like many I know. Nevertheless, I was pretty excited for this long awaited sequel – an excitement which kinda creeped up on me – and was eager to experience the blockbuster ‘Jurassic World’ to its full potential in IMAX and 3D.
22 years have passed since the incident at the ill-fated Jurassic Park and time is clearly a great healer. Now, the Jurassic World theme park, as envisaged by John Hammond all those years ago, is open to the mass public. But attendances are dwindling and people don’t bat an eyelid at a stegosaurus anymore. So the logical route is to create a new, original, GM dino to lure back the crowds. As you may have guessed, the new star attraction turns rogue, like really rogue. And Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is tasked with reigning in the unstoppable Indominus Rex.
Part of the reason I was looking forward to this film was the casting of Chris Pratt in the lead role. I think he is fantastic in ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ but unfortunately, Pratt is not up to Star Lord standards with this outing. His portrayal of dino trainer Owen Grady is nowhere near as funny, likeable or charismatic as we all know Pratt is capable of. Indeed, his character actually comes across as rather annoying more than anything. In her first big role, Bryce Dallas Howard develops into a pretty convincing heroine in the end. Whilst she succeeds more as the damsel in distress, there are glimpses of her ability to handle the big action scenes and I’m keen to see her in something a little different. Vincent D’Onofrio adds to his ever growing list of great performances (‘The Judge’, ‘Daredevil’) as the war hungry antagonist, Hoskins. The man obviously has a very diverse range to his acting skills, this time pulling off the deluded alpha male, the kinda guy who sits next to you in a bar, and inundates you with man to man bullshit that you’re desperate to ignore.
It comes as no surprise that visually, this is an epic experience, particularly on the big screen. As is compulsary with ‘Jurassic Park’ films, the iconic music of John Williams is present, reworked and combined with powerful pieces from Micahel Giacchino, which complement perfectly the catalogue of panning shots across the beautiful Isla Nublar. The dinosaurs aren’t the most convincing piece of CGI work I’ve ever seen, but their movements and sound are impressive as ever. Sadly, the film falls flat on the storyline, which was tragically thin, very predictable and very cheesy. An array of forced dialogue and awkward chemistry doesn’t help either, creating an uncomfortable, “did that really happen” experience.
Let’s be honest though, you’re not here for the narrative or the dialogue, really, are you? You, just like the theme park guests, came to see some dinosaurs! Unfortunately, it’s clear that the team behind ‘Jurassic World’ were very aware of this too. Focussed more on the big things – the visuals and the sound – Colin Trevorrow et al have underestimated our need for some kind of interesting storyline to support the showy gimmicks. This is not a bad film by any means, especially with the big screen IMAX experience which is truly breathtaking at times, and it’s a film I would wholeheartedly recommend for a visit to the cinema. But, even as a part-time fan of the franchise, I found myself underwhelmed. So I fear that devoted fans will have little more than an unconditional love for the sequel they’ve been longing for.
DIRECTOR: COLIN TREVORROW
STARRING: CHRIS PRATT, BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD, VINCENT D’ONOFRIO