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Jurassic World

When Mad Max blazed his way across the desert this summer, it was the first time in 30 years that the post-apocalyptic hero had graced the big screen. Despite the concerns and questions that surrounded the production, it was a resounding success, resulting in the best film of the summer. MAD MAX wasn’t the only franchise receiving the resuscitation treatment this season. It is baffling to come to the realization that it has been 13 years since the release of JURASSIC PARK 3. The film was a far cry from the original, and at the time, served as a prime example of a sequel-based industry that cared little about storytelling, and a lot more about bottom lines and profits.

jurassic-world-chris-pratt-rides-with-the-raptors-posterThe fourth JURASSIC PARK installment has resided in production limbo for the past decade. It seemed inevitable that the film would eventually be made and released, but for one reason or another, it hadn’t yet come to fruition. Rumors were abound over plot-lines, characters, and settings, but nothing had been confirmed until the first trailers for JURASSIC WORLD were finally released.

Jurassic World, located on the remote Costa Rican island of Isla Nubar, is the most popular theme park on the planet. Despite the tragic events that unfolded 22 years prior (as seen in JURASSIC PARK) it is now a fully functional vacation destination. Allowing visitors to ride in gyrospheres alongside friendly Apatosaurus’, providing them with a Shamu-style show featuring a massive Mosasaurus, and presenting them with the unique opportunity to watch a Tyrannosaurus Rex gobble up an unsuspecting goat, there seemed to be something for everyone.

Despite the astonishing nature of the park, public interest had begun to wane, and according to a speech given by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas-Howard) to investors, geneticists were given the task of creating new species of dinosaurs. Park owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) wasn’t too concerned with the ethics or consequences of his request, and encouraged the scientists to come of up with a creature that was bigger, stronger, and more ferocious than anything that had yet been seen.

The latest beast to be cooked up in the lab was Indominus Rex. Though the true genetic makeup of the creature was kept under wraps, there was general knowledge that it had been spliced together with the DNA a number of predatory dinosaurs. Concerned that the dangerous dino could potentially pose a threat to the visitors of the park, Masrani asks Darling to bring in Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Grady is a former military man who serves as a Velicoraptor trainer and researcher. He was meant to inspect the Indominus paddock, in an attempt to declare the enclosure as safe. Immediately upon arriving, he has his reservations about the mysterious dinosaur, and when he sees deep claw marks on the enclosure’s wall, he knows that Masrani and his Ingen Corporation counterparts had bitten off far more than they could chew.Jurassic-World-dallas-howard

Predictably, things with Indominus go very, very wrong. After busting out of his enclosure, he begins to leave a pile of bodies in his wake. Dinosaurs and humans alike were fair game to the beast, who killed indiscriminately for the fun of it. As Dearing, Masrani and Grady try in vain to slow down the murderous creature, they become increasingly concerned for the safety of every living being on the island.

Initially concerned primarily with the apprehension of the rogue dino, Claire suddenly remembers that her young nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) were visiting the park. She had put her assistant Zara (Katie McGrath) in charge of being their chaperone, but the teens slyly snuck away when the opportunity presented itself. Now, they were lost, and a perfect target for the savage Indominus. Claire enlists the help of Owen to track down the boys, and the two begin a perilous trek to find the missing children before it’s too late.

jurassic-world-chris-pratt1When JURASSIC PARK was released in 1993, there had never been anything like it. There had been plenty of effects-driven productions in the past, but they all paled in comparison to Spielberg’s spectacular vision. The dinosaurs looked unfathomably realistic, which made the actioner an instant classic. While JURASSIC WORLD may not seem as innovative or ground-breaking as PARK, the dinos remain as awe-inspiring as ever. Director Colin Treverrow was sure to include familiar favorites such as Triceratops, T-Rex, and Velicoraptors, and he raised with the stakes with Indominus and Mosasaurus.

The action in JURASSIC WORLD is massively entertaining, though may prove to be a bit much for younger viewers. It is apparent that the characters of Owen, Claire, Zach, and Gray will (most likely) be around for the long haul, but everyone else is fair game. Forget the art of implication here; there are a countless number of victims who end up bloody and maimed. As the body count continues to rise, the intensity of the production does as well, resulting in a number of unforgettable scenes. For me, the standout sequence occurs after the Pteranadons escape from the confines of their aviary. As sirens blare, the sun is blotted out by a swarm of the winged-creatures who swoop down upon the unsuspecting park patrons. Mayhem and carnage ensues as the Pteranadons begin plucking people from the ground, carrying some away while mauling others.

JURASSIC WORLD offers a number of fun references and homages to the original. Some of these instances are obvious, while others are much more subtle. Balancing humor, action, and a bit of hokiness, Trevorrow’s film is far more satisfying than the previous inferior sequels. This in large part is due to the performances of Dallas-Howard and Pratt. Balancing the precarious task of standing as a second fiddle to their larger-than-life costars while remaining engaging enough to be interesting, they tackle the task with ease. This is especially true for Pratt, who some have faulted for lacking the charisma displayed in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. These complaints are completely unfounded because the character of Grady is far different than that of the enigmatic Starlord. For my money, he was as magnetic as ever, delivering everything expected from someone sharing the screen with dinosaurs.Jurassic-World-Owen-Grady

Ultimately, JURASSIC WORLD serves as the very essence of popcorn entertainment. It is a film that begs to be seen on large-screen, premium formats, and will prove to be immensely satisfying for anyone who decides to spend a few extra bucks to see it in RPX or IMAX formats. Providing the welcomed opportunity to check your brain at the door, it is a 2-hour distraction that lives up to expectations and will undoubtedly stand as a rebirth of the beloved franchise.


A special thanks goes to Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA who allowed me to attend this month’s film in their premium, RPX format.

Brian Miller