At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Jurassic World “2015”

MPAA Rating: PG-13/ Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure/ Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Tye Sheridan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Kahn, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Jake Johnson, Lauren Lapkus, Brian Tee, Katie McGrath, Judy Greer, Andy Buckley/ Runtime: 124 minutes

I think I should get this out of the way before I go any further in this review: Jurassic Park was and still is an absolutely fantastic movie. Not only that, but I’ll go a step further and make the claim that it truly is a modern-day classic that can legitimately make the claim that it brought dinosaurs as close to being back to life as anyone for the world not only to see, but enjoy, marvel at, and even be terrified at as we have ever gotten. So when I first saw the trailer for this film, I will admit I was pretty intrigued but at the same time the thought did cross my mind. A though that consisted of “well there’s absolutely no way possible that this film could ever hope to match up to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 bonafide sci-fi classic, but at the same time however I’m pretty sure that it could quite possibly be better than the slightly disappointing sequels known as The Lost World: Jurassic Park & Jurassic Park III, but more Jurassic Park 3 than The Lost World, but that’s for another time…”. Well after having finished watching this film I can safely say that this movie has not only blown my mind away, but it also has roared past my own monstrous set of expectations. Indeed this is because this film has done the impossible. By that I mean that not only does this film manage to brilliantly capture the magic of the original film but it also manages to quite successfully bring the Jurassic Park franchise up-to-date for the here and now and, as a result, make them accessible and quite enjoyable for a whole new generation of viewers to enjoy and cherish.

The plot is as follows: Jurassic World is set 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park and quickly shows us that, in that time, a new company bought up InGen and has managed, against all odds, to actually establish a fully functioning dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar thus ensuring the realization of John Hammond’s dream all those years ago of not only creating such a spectacle, but ensuring that people from all over the world have the ability to enjoy these animals. Yet for all that the park has accomplished there is still one hiccup. This would be the fact that, since the park (according to the timeline set up) opened in 2005, the visitors to this magical place have been consistently satisfied, but nowhere near what corporate would like. To that end, and in an attempt to try and bring the visitors back in droves, the genetics department at Jurassic World which conjured up the dinosaurs have come up with a plan to reignite visitor interest in the park. A plan which consists of, on the order of the chief executives who own and run the daily operations Jurassic World, the scientists creating a new & especially terrifying genetically modified dinosaur to up the ‘scare & wow’ factor of Jurassic World & in so doing bring the park to its former glory and have attendance once again skyrocket. Unfortunately and as you can probably guess just because it’s a Jurassic Park movie and from the many trailers and TV spots this movie had before being released this new ‘attraction’ escapes. Now, it is up to the main raptor handler and former US Navy soldier named Owen Grady & Claire Dearing, the de-facto primary park operator at Jurassic World, with help from the technical department and new park owner Simon Masrani to try to find & stop the dinosaur by any means necessary before all hell breaks loose at the park….

Now I just gotta say that if your intent is to see this movie, which I highly recommend to begin with, then see it on the biggest screen you possibly can because it is totally worth it. Indeed it’s not just about the chaos and destruction that goes down like in the other movies as well as just sci-fi action films to begin with. Rather in this one it’s all about the depth because this film looks just absolutely stunning! I mean for someone like me who grew up watching the first 3 Jurassic Park films it moved me to tears to finally get to see the vision that John Hammond had been talking about in the very first one 22 years ago finally shown on screen. Indeed you really do feel just like a kid again taking it all in with some of the highlights including a petting zoo with tinier dinosaurs for the kids to ride on, a new and improved state-of-the art visitor center, a Margaritaville for the adults, being able to ride in glass hamster balls to see the dinos up close and personal, and a Sea World like exhibit that instead of having a friendly, docile (most of the time) killer whale named Shamu doing tricks and getting fish from a trainer we have an enormous, great-white shark eating critter known as a Mosasaur that easily will become one of your new favorite critters from this installment….and in the process make you want to petition your local SeaWorld to get one as soon as possible.

Of course as much as this film is about the new, it also doesn’t forget to honor and pay respect to what came before and thus we are given a chance to be reunited with the original stars of this entire franchise. The first of which is the T-Rex and in case you are wondering, it has been confirmed that this is in fact THE T-Rex from the first Jurassic Park. I mean I just gotta say that the old girl still looks just as good and fantastic despite 22 years having passed but then again that also makes me wonder if the dinosaurs in this park are getting better healthcare than we are. Those pesky Velociraptors are back for this one too, and while they still are just as awesome as before this time they actually have, without going into any spoilers, their own story arc in a sense in this one. Indeed it’s absolutely awesome seeing their interactions with lead actor Chris Pratt with their hunting scene with him riding alongside on his motorcycle, which you have probably seen if you saw any of the trailers, being one of only a few true scene-stealer moments. Yet despite the arrival of a new favorite and the return of some old ones that’s nothing compared to the new heavy hitter on the block and that is the critter that you have come to hear is known as Indominous Rex. Indeed I can honestly tell you right now that you will not forget this bad boy. I say that because this bad boy truly is the perfect bad dinosaur to reintroduce audiences to the Jurassic Park franchise with not just because he IS absolutely terrifying and a truly formidable force to be reckoned with, but because in this day and age the scary reality is that splicing different genetic codes from different species of critters IS possible. Thus I think Indominous Rex is a horrifying albeit fictional look at just how far we could go in terms of genetic science today if we wanted to.

Speaking of that I also feel it should be said that the themes that are found in the narrative in this installment are quite intriguing. Indeed whereas in the first Jurassic Park there was quite an undercurrent about how man’s reach almost always ends up exceeding his grasp to go along with all the thrills and spills, this one brings that back, but it also offers us something else. By that I mean this one also chooses to focus on how over-commercialization can take away the magic from things that are truly extraordinary as well as a look at how the relationships we form with nature will determine how we as a species end up. Indeed, as shown in this film, you cannot control nature nor should you even attempt to try for you are trying to control something that mankind was meant to co-exist with. If however you attempt to do so, as mankind is prone to doing, then you will be met with disaster every single time. Indeed it is this philosophy of “playing God” that has been at the heart of this series since the beginning and I am so thankful they brought it back for this one. Not just because it creates another link to the best film in the franchise, but because it gives the new generation watching it the same things to consider that their parents and/or older siblings did all the way back in ’93 and, hopefully, they choose to do something with this knowledge.

Now despite having a cast largely made up of, at the time, not exactly A-list performers, or at the very least character actors in the world of entertainment all the actors give us superb performances. This starts with Chris Pratt who is spectacular as Owen Grady. Indeed after The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, Pratt was clearly setting himself up for some pretty big things and here he smashes it out of the park and shows us why he deserves his A-Lister status. Indeed Owen Grady is a wonderful character that manages to successfully convey the slightly snarky “I told you so” attitude and world-weariness of Ian Malcolm but then manages to successfully blend in the everyman qualities and raptor knowledge that were found in Alan Grant and as a result gave audiences a new hero for this franchise that can help carry it on in any future installments should Universal choose to make any (which of course they did given the box office returns). Also Bryce Dallas Howard absolutely shines in her role of Clair Dearing. Indeed while Pratt is the star of the film it’s Howard’s character that has the most character development as we witness Claire go from being a cold, hard-nosed businesswoman in charge and one who only sees the spectacular animals in her charge as just being statistics or numbers on a chart to someone who has fears, and vulnerabilities, and ultimately begins to open herself open and show that she does have a heart and can also be a bit of an action heroine in her own right. Yet not willing to be outdone by our pair of leads, the rest of the cast does just as spectacular as our 2 leads from Vincent D’Onofrio who is clearly having a blast as the twisted head of InGen security who has some dubious and slightly sinister motives for the raptors, Nick Robinson and Tye Sheridan as Claire’s nephews who’ve come to visit her only to get caught up in the mayhem and destruction that also manage to provide kids with their own representatives that they can relate to in the film, Irrfan Kahn as the charismatic yet well-meaning CEO of the company that now owns the park and who is willing to do everything in his power to keep the guests and dinosaurs both happy and safe from the Indominus, and all the way to even B.D. Wong, the only returning cast member from any previous film in the franchise, as Dr. Henry Wu who finally gets a chance, after his 5 minutes in the first one, to shine or should I say evolve and boy what an evolution it is…..suffice it to say then that everyone manages to give a wonderful performance and clearly looks like they are having a blast being a part of a true adventure 65 million years in the making….

All in all though Jurassic World finally brings us a sequel to a modern-day classic that isn’t just good or alright but is one that is absolutely fantastic. At the same time however, it is also a sequel that also manages to bring the franchise a new generation of fans but at the same time will also appeal to all of us who grew up with the original three as well. Indeed this is not just movie magic at work ladies and gentlemen. Rather this is also proof that sometimes, to quote what a wise man once said on an island very much like this one: Life….finds a way. Oh how it most assuredly did…On a scale of 1-5 I give Jurassic World a solid 4 out of 5.