This Jurassic World review originally appeared on The Movie Revue, where you can find many of my classic reviews. This was one of the first reviews that I had written; you’ll probably notice some grammatical issues. Don’t worry – I’ve gotten much better in the past three years. With the pending release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Terry Broadnax’s review of Jurassic Park on UHD BD, we thought it was time to unearth this classic review.
“Every time we unveiled a new attraction, attendance has spiked.”
Twenty-two years ago, Steven Spielberg graced the silver screens the world over with an awe-inspired film. One that would use well-articulated characters to tell an amazing story supported with state-of-the-art technology available at the time. Michael Crichton created a believable world on which David Koepp would go on to build an amazing story. Two, less than well-received sequels followed on the heels of Jurassic Park’s success, each bringing their own charm to the Jurassic legacy. Jurassic’s success was based in large part on the characters and their interaction with the prehistoric creatures.
The game has changed twenty-two years later. And, not necessarily for the better.
Yes, the technology has gotten better and the dinosaurs look great. Every dollar of the budget was put up on the screen in the form of special effects and I think the budget ran short. Characters, which were richly portrayed in the original film, are very limited in this successor – very little emotion, very little connection to each other or to the on-screen action. The only character from the original film to return was BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu. And, his return was totally unnecessary. [Editor’s Note: I do find Dr. Wu’s return here to be much better than I originally stated, so time has proven me wrong.] There was one bright spot with Chris Pratt as the lead character. His set up was ineffective, but he convincingly plays the role. If anything, our future Indiana Jones was on the screen rather than the character he portrayed here.
The story set up is exceptionally weak (as evidenced by the fact that four screenwriters probably wrote over each other to get a story
that Universal would be happy with.) The real stars, as mentioned earlier are the CGI (with some practical effects mixed in) dinosaurs.
The effects are effective in 3D, but we are at a saturation point where the technology is replacing the characterization in order to move a story forward. If you want technology to move a story forward, give it to Pixar or DreamWorks. Don’t put it in the hands of Colin Trevorrow (co-screenwriter; SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED). This is his first major motion picture and it shows. Although the pacing of the film is solid, thanks to strong editing, the film just doesn’t feel like it flows very well. Perhaps that’s because there’s not truly a story here.
The effects are top notch, as is the sound. The 3D IMAX presentation is beyond reproach. Sound design by Gary Rydstrom is effective as the atmospherics surround you from all directions. Vocals and low frequency effects are well rendered. John Williams’ themes are well represented by Michael Giacchino. But, I don’t think his original score adds anything effective to what has been presented previously.
If you want a summer popcorn film loaded with effects, Jurassic World is for you. If you want a fresh story that invests in the original story and characters that enthralled us twenty-two years ago, Jurassic World is not for you.
I will say that World will surpass the $1 billion mark with box office, but I don’t believe it has the steam for a continued run, domestically as Mad Max has.
Now on home video, Jurassic World is rated PG-13 by the MPAA.