Film Review: Jurassic World

Remember the original Jurassic Park? When we first saw those incredibly realistic dinosaurs on the big screen? Believe it or not, that was 22 years ago and those prehistoric monsters really started something. They were the forerunners of the special effects we’ve come to expect at the cinema.

The film itself spawned a couple of sequels, the last of which was in 2001. Then the dinosaurs went into hibernation – until now. The arrival of Jurassic World this week, certificate 12A, is the latest in the franchise. But how does it measure up to the original? London Mums’ film critic, Freda Cooper, set sail for Isla Nublar to find out.

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The story

Twenty years after the events at Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar has undergone a transformation. It’s now a dinosaur theme park, run by a big corporate company – and that means the money motive is uppermost in the mind of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who’s in charge of the operation. She and her team have to keep coming up with ideas that will attract sponsors and bring in more visitors. The latest is a new dinosaur, developed in a test tube. Indominus Rex is reaching maturity but, because it’s always lived in captivity, nobody really knows what it’s capable of. Until it escapes.

 

The trailer

 

The verdict

The anticipation surrounding Jurassic World has been huge, making it the biggest summer blockbuster so far this year. But it is still a sequel, despite the time gap, and the chances of it being as ground breaking as the original were low, so what were Steven Spielberg (now producer rather than director) and his new crew going to do to get our interest?

Very simply, the next best thing. They unleash a bigger, more predatory and more frightening dinosaur in the shape of the Indominus Rex. In truth, however, there is a second dino on the block as well, the aquatic Mosasaurus, but because it lives under water, it’s easy to forget about it. You certainly can’t forget that the Indominus is around!

That new monster is the whole reason for what is essentially an energetic adventure yarn, with jump-in-your-seat moments, plenty of action, even more dinosaurs and a few laughs along the way. And it does it really rather well, especially if you see it in 3-D on an IMAX screen for the maximum effect.

 

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It is, however, a strangely old fashioned movie, with all the conventions that you’d expect of an action adventure. So there’s a romance between Claire and Owen (Chris Pratt) which, to be honest, we could do without. We know right from the start that the villainous Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) will to come to a very nasty end – and we can guess how. And then there’s the oldest trick in the book – tantalising glimpses of the Indominus that keep us dangling until we see it in all its glory. The whole thing is tied up neatly at the end, but left open just enough so that a sequel is more than just a vague possibility. It’s all familiar territory and, as such, comfortably safe.

There is one convention that the film turns neatly on its head, though. Ever thought of a raptor as a hero? Or an anti-hero? Chances are the answer is no, but that’s exactly what happens here. And they’re not the only animals to find themselves in that role, but you’ll have to see the film to see exactly how.

 

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Mum’s rating: 8/10             

Jurassic World is a movie that knows exactly what it is – a sequel. It accepts it, makes the most of it and delivers an action-packed, exciting couple of hours. You won’t see anything especially innovative or different but, when it’s this well made and entertaining, why worry?

Jurassic World is currently on general release and is also reviewed on the new Talking Pictures podcast, which also includes an interview with Chris Pratt. https://soundcloud.com/freda-14/podcasttalkingpictures11june015

 

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