Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Jurassic World’ Review: Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard & Vincent D’Onofrio

The time is finally here. One of the most anticipated films of the summer has come to theatres. Twenty-two years after the classic Jurassic Park was released, and 14 years since the totally unnecessary Jurassic Park III was released, the fourth film and hopefully the first of a franchise reboot of the Jurassic Park films is here. Steven Spielberg is back to produce, while Colin Trevorrow (2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed) steps in to direct. Jurassic World shows us what John Hammond dreamt about: a fully working dinosaur park where families could vacation and witness life from 65 million years ago. But also like the first film, it shows the consequences of abusing science and playing God. Jurassic Park will forever be a classic and changed filmmaking forever, but Jurassic World is the best possible film to reboot this beloved franchise. This is how you do a series reboot, people!

It’s been 22 years since paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil), paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and the man who found the loophole to dinosaur DNA John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) escaped the tragic events that happened during a trial run of the original Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. Now that same island, which is off the coast of Costa Rica, is a fully functioning park and open to thousands of visitors on a daily basis. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the Director of the park and it his her job to make sure everything runs smoothly in the control room and in the dinosaur exhibits so that all of the island’s tourists are safe and sound. Claire runs a tight ship and is a no fuss and no mess kinda gal, so when her two nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) come to visit Jurassic World for the first time, she has her assistant babysit them.

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Owen (Chris Pratt) is a dinosaur trainer and specifically works with the Velociraptors at the park. He’s been working with them since they were born and has been able to train them to an extent though he doesn’t dare get too close to them unless they are in a confinement. The park has been open for 10 years, but visitor rates are on the decline. The scientists and genetic experts at the park have created a genetically mutated dinosaur in hopes to spark attraction. What the scientists didn’t predict is for the dinosaur to outsmart them, eventually escaping her confines.

Chris Pratt is pretty fantastic in any role but broke out into super stardom after last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but you’re not going to get that same Chris Pratt here in Jurassic World. Pratt is completely badass as Owen; dinosaur guy, raptor whisperer and looks damn good in a tight shirt fixing his motorbike. He does have some swoon worthy moments with Howard, but I wish the screenplay allowed him more dialogue and a little more personality. Though Pratt is always fun to watch, his character comes off as a bit one note here. I wanted to know more about him versus having him just look amazing on film.

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Bryce Dallas Howard has already proven to be a great actress, her role as the snooty Hilly in 2011’s The Help is particularly memorable, but she has never been better as she is here. Howard gives Claire so much personality and a charismatic ferocity. It’s up to her to run the island and the Park and she doesn’t take crap from anyone. Howard parallels Laura Dern’s character Dr. Sattler in Jurassic Park and keeps with the theme that female characters do not have to be a damsel in distress. Her character also has the best arc in the film and as much as I adore Chris Pratt, this film belongs to Howard. And not to give anything away, but the scene where Howard is holding the flare gun does not disappoint.

There are a few scenes that are amazingly frightening and keep you on the edge of your seat, especially when the two boys are in the gyro sphere ride. There are also some lovely scenes and moments that pay homage to the original film and several Easter eggs hidden throughout that only a true Jurassic Park fan would get, so keep your eyes open! Michael Giacchino’s beautiful score paired with John William’s classic Jurassic Park theme is absolutely amazing and I loved how Trevorrow blended the two together.

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There needed to be more practical effects and less CGI or at least the better blend of the two. I actually preferred how the raptors looked in the original than how they looked here. But there is one incredible scene featuring Pratt and Howard with an Apatosaurus that is emotional and raw; that dinosaur was a practical effect and it made the scene all the better for it.

It’s imperative to go into Jurassic World knowing that no film will match the original. With that in mind, you’ll most likely enjoy the film and appreciate what Trevorrow has done here. Skip the 3D, it does nothing, but try and watch Jurassic World on the biggest and loudest theatre you can find. Though Jurassic World does have some room for improvement, it’s an excellent reboot of the franchise and is led fantastically by Pratt and Howard. The film offers new and exciting feats while also paying tribute to its predecessor.


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