"Jurassic World" (2015)- Movie Review

Written and Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Co-written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Derek Connolly
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Irrfan Khan

‘Fun but Slightly Forgettable’

Before I begin this review, I must admit that I’ve neither seen the original “Jurassic Park” series nor do I take an interest in dinosaurs. Surprisingly, however, I enjoyed “Jurassic World”, Colin Trevorrow’s latest action blockbuster. That’s saying something. Bringing one of the world’s most iconic franchises roaring back to the big screen in breathtaking fashion, “Jurassic World” is everything you’d expect a Summer blockbuster to be: fun, action-packed and filled with thrills from start to finish.

Right from the get-go, I was under the impression that this film had been crafted for a specific target audience in mind: young teenage boys who were enamored by the sight of dinosaurs and who loved Steven Spielberg’s highly successful franchise from the 2000’s. Boy, was I proven wrong. There’s no doubt that having those two interests would make you more engaged, but even if you’re not interested in either (like me) you might be in for a pleasant surprise. This is an action-blockbuster that movie-goers will be able to enjoy as long as they expect pass-time entertainment- nothing more. Featuring dazzling visual effects, charming performances from it’s two leads and an intense edge-of-the-seat finale, it’s pop-corn entertainment at it’s best. At worst, on the other hand, it’s a film that expects us to root for characters that range from annoying to one-dimensional. As long as you take “Jurassic World” for what it is, turn-of-your-brain pass-time entertainment, you certainly won’t leave the theater disappointed.

Getting your hopes any higher, though, may not be a good idea. It’s become a noticeable trend in popular culture for a film to be pass-time entertainment-nothing more. Sometimes, all people want to do is to pass time at a movie-theater without having to think about the worries of real-life. They may have a busy lifestyle, with the result that they just want to relax at the movies without picking out problems. “Jurassic World” is a film that will appeal towards these types of movie-goers. Set 20 years after the events of the original “Jurassic Park” series, it follows the lives of two children who visit a new theme park known as ‘Jurassic World’. After a dangerous dinosaur escapes captivity, however, their lives along with other tourists are put in grave danger. As a result, a heroic hunter with a deep connection to the creatures teams up with the manager of the site to save the day.

As the terrifying T-Rex is set on the loose with only one goal in mind, to wipe out the entire population on the island, we’re sucked into a typical action-blockbuster that demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Bigger, louder and noisier than any film released this Summer, “Jurassic World” is one of those blockbusters that has been created with one intention only: to entertain. And it does succeed through glamorous visual effects. When you go into a film like this, a big-budget blockbuster making millions of dollars at the box-office, you expect the highest quality of visual effects. On this level, “Jurassic World” definitely delivers. Given the advances in computer-generated technology (CGI) today, it’s often tough for blockbusters to stand out when it comes to visual effects. Due to writer-director Colin Trevorrow’s expertise in this area, thankfully “Jurassic World” is not one of those films.

On the contrary, it’s one of the most visually immersive movie-going experiences of the year. Capturing your attention from the first introduction of the dinosaurs to the explosive final battle, director Colin Trevorrow handles the visual effects with impressive skill. Although this is his first attempt at making a big-budget blockbuster, it’s hard to believe considering the level of mastery he achieves with the effects. Not just an attention-grabbing device used to engage the viewer, the effects are also created with special attention to detail. Take, for example, the dinosaurs. One of the reasons why they are truly frightening to behold- apart from their gigantic size- is their eye-catching design. With mesmerizing eyes, razor-sharp teeth and quick instincts, they are grounded in reality. Even though they are created with CGI effects, the filmmakers do a great deal to make the dinosaurs look realistic rather than fake. Which makes them all the more scary.

If special effects do not attract you to the theater, though, “Jurassic World” is still worth seeing for its superb performances. Despite being filled with characters that lack development, director Colin Trevorrow assembles an A-list cast of seasoned actors that deliver the goods. The two leads, in particular, leave a lasting impression with the audience through their charm and charisma.

Chris Pratt is a highly likable actor who has a remarkable ability to steal the show in every film he appears in. With a physically imposing figure and larger-than-life presence, Pratt is perfectly cast in the role of an action-hero in “Jurassic World”. He proves that he not only can kick ass as a goofy superhero, but also bring to life intense action heroes with ease. If the rumors are true, and Chris Pratt could be up to play the next Indiana Jones, his performance here makes me look forward to see how he tackles the iconic role. Also talented and a joy to watch is Bryce Dallas Howard, who works brilliantly alongside Pratt as a comic duo. Sharp, magnetic and distinguished, she is the kind of actress that is difficult to ignore no matter what film she appears in. As the ‘damsel in distress’, it could be argued that her character is given little to do other than scream out for others to help her. However, when paired up with Pratt, she elevates what could have been a throwaway character into an interesting woman dealing with problems of her own.

Unfortunately, however, these actors are given so much attention that the rest of the cast is unfairly under-utilized. With the exception of Irrfan Khan, a Bollywood movie-star who adds hilarious comical relief, sadly the majority of actors are wasted. It’s not entirely their fault, though, but a result of sloppy writing. Where “Jurassic World” stumbles is that you’re given almost no reason to care about the characters at all. Apart from the two leads, the film offers one-dimensional characters that are difficult to root for. For instance, one of the most unnecessary characters in the film is a stereotypical teenager. Only interested in wooing the girls and not the least bit bothered about the safety of his brother, he feels more like a stereotype of teenage boys than an actual person. As a result, this is what prevents “Jurassic World” from being a truly memorable monster movie. Unlike classics in this genre, such as Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws”, this action blockbuster lacks characters whom you can root for when their lives are in danger. Perhaps, it’s due to the fact that this is Colin Trevorrow’s first attempt as a director at making an action movie for commercial audiences.

Another downside to this blockbuster is that in a Summer filled with smart, inventive and original films, “Jurassic World” offers nothing new. It may be a long time since dinosaurs have emerged on screen in such vivid visual effects, but there’s no getting around the fact that this is a typical blockbuster. For the lack of a better word, it is familiar. As is the case with most action movies today, there are plenty of goofy one-liners, over-the-top action sequences and jump scares. Although some movie-goers may be satisfied enough with this, it may be disappointing for those looking for something new. A little originality could have gone a long way in making this more than just a time-pass at the movie-theater.

Yet, if you can forgive these problems, and instead pay attention to the fast pacing which keeps you at the edge of your seat, nostalgic soundtrack and endless thrills, “Jurassic World” is well worth your time. Although by no measure the most memorable film of the Summer, at a running time of 2 hours it may be the most entertaining experience you’ll have at the movies this year.

As a final note, it’s hard to not take notice of the box-office records that “Jurassic World” has shattered so far. The question, then, is will there be a sequel? Let’s just hope that if they do make another one of these, it’s better. Much better.

3/5 stars

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