I clearly remember first seeing “Jurassic Park” when I was just 4 years old. My mom was furious at my dad for letting me watch it, because she thought I was too young for some of the graphic violence exhibited in the film. My dad, god bless him, didn’t listen and decided to rent the VHS despite my mom’s reluctance. Of course I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but thanks to my dad’s stubbornness, I ended up witnessing something far beyond my wildest imagination. A creation of unspeakable beauty and awe. History in the making, the art of cinema reinvented right before my eyes. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic has since then become one of my all-time favorite movies, inspiring me to eventually become a filmmaker myself. To say that “Jurassic World” has been on the top of my wish list since 2001 is an understatement. I have literally dreamt of the day when a fourth instalment would see the light. Now that it’s here, after what feels like an eternity, I can confidently say that if you ever wanted to revisit this place, you won’t be disappointed.
In the film, the park is indeed open. 22 years have passed since the terrible accident on Isla Nublar, and you would think mankind had learned from its mistakes. Sadly, that is not the case. In fact, the new owners are well aware of the risk and danger involved here. But as with all good reason, there is nothing a truckload of money can’t solve, and so now we have a fully functional, pre-historic amusement park with over 20.000 visitors a day. Among these we find two young kids, who have both invited to the island resort by their aunt. She runs the entire park, but is too busy to take care of them. I think we all know what happens next.
Allow me to clarify one thing. This is not and will never be as good as the original. It just wasn’t in the cards, and anyone who goes into this film with expectations that high should get a quick refund on their pre-ordered tickets. No, it doesn’t have the same feeling of awe and wonder as the first one did, although the spectacle is still very much intact. The characters are also nowhere near as wholesome as they were two decades ago, and the dialogue doesn’t possess the same dynamic energy that was such an intricate part of Spielberg’s redefining classic. Yet despite not being as fresh or overwhelming as its predecessor, “Jurassic World” is exactly what you would expect it to be; fun, thrilling popcorn entertainment with underlying social commentary. The film talks a lot about consumer demands and corporate excess, and the genetically engineered Indominus Rex is a symbol of the modern mentality that enough is never enough. The bigger the better, the faster the scarier. Everyone has become accustomed to the presence of dinosaurs, and the two kids are the physical representations of that. The younger brother is still unspoiled by technology, running around the park with his jaw hanging, while the older brother is more occupied by girls and his smartphone.
A lot of the film’s humor is focused around this apathy, as well as the ignorance of the people involved in the park. Because all of this is not just a cautionary tale anymore. It’s reality, and with that reality comes a whole new set of philosophical questions. What do we do with the nature we’ve harnessed? Do we respect it, or do we abuse it? Is it our right to play god, and if so, are we even ready to handle the consequences of creating artificial life? Deep ecology seems to be the overarching theme here, and even though the movie may pose more questions than it has the time to answer, it certainly is more aware of itself than the average blockbuster. The fact that it even tries to include these things is an achievement all on its own.
As far as the story goes, one could argue that the filmmakers have reduced it all to a straight-up monster movie. That may be true, but then again it was all made very clear by the marketing. What makes the whole experience worthwhile are the performances. Chris Pratt of course gets all the best lines, as expected. It takes a while for his character to be introduced, but when we finally see him, we know that he is the one we’ll be rooting for when shit hits the fan. Bryce Dallas Howard also does a fine job of portraying the cold and calculated operations manager, who gradually becomes more responsible. Her chemistry with Pratt is great, but unfortunately her arc with the kids is too weak for us to really care about. The same thing goes for Irrfan Khan’s tycoon character, who makes some of the most unbelievably idiotic decisions ever made by a man. He’s supposed to be the new John Hammond, but is not even remotely as interesting or charismatic as Richard Attenborough. He literally is a distraction that takes away screen time from the ones we really want to follow. There are a bit too many insignificant subplots involving him and Vincent D’Onofrio, who don’t really add much to the story. Thankfully, they are all kept in the background for most of the second half, giving us plenty of room to enjoy everything that makes “Jurassic World” such a great summer experience, whether it be loads of Dino action, quick one-liners, a ton of self-aware humor, or Michael Giacchino’s brilliant score, which I have to say is a more than worthy counterpart to John Williams’ classic soundtrack.