Main cast: Chris Pratt (Owen Grady), Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing), Nick Robinson (Zach Mitchell), Ty Simpkins (Gray Mitchell), Vincent D’Onofrio (Vic Hoskins), BD Wong (Dr Henry Wu), Jake Johnson (Lowery Cruthers), Omar Sy (Barry), Katie McGrath (Zara Young), Lauren Lapkus (Vivian), and Irrfan Khan (Simon Masrani)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
An escaped zoo specimen can be such a drag to deal with, but what happens when the specimen in question is the Indominus Rex? That is a new species created in the lab under the supervision of Dr Henry Wu, ironically one of characters that died in the first book only to be the only character that appeared in this many movies of that franchise. Yes, Jurassic World, the long troubled fourth movie in the Jurassic series, brings everyone back to Isla Nubar, once again a dinosaur theme park featuring actual dinosaurs created from genetic magic. How is this different from those other movies, you wonder? You know, I’m still thinking about that. Maybe it’s different because this time around, CEO Simon Masrani wants to do things according to “company morals” that are placed to honor the late John Hammond’s legacy? Yes, a legacy of many, many, many dead people, heh.
This time around, we have rugged and big-biceps dude Owen Grady – Chris Pratt making the most out of his newly acquired body and face – running around with manager Claire Dearing as they try to locate Claire’s nephews, Zach and Gray. Yes, a killer intelligent dinosaur which kills for sport is on the loose, there are over 20,000 people on the island, but who cares, let’s prioritize locating the two bratty kids who are so smart in the first place to go, “Hur, hur, look, a ‘no entry’ area in a place full of angry and dangerous dinosaurs, let’s go in!” So yes, we have one action guy who is all about dinosaurs being real people that we should all hug and dry hump in an orgy of Kumbayah, one by-the-book lady, and two obnoxious brats, with the black sidekick and the mad scientist and the boss who would insist on keeping everything nice and quiet and the evil military moron. In other words, this is exactly like those other movies. Even the Indominus Rex looks like a paler kind of Tyrannosaurus Rex. The only noteworthy difference, perhaps, is that the script pulls a How to Train Your Dragon 2 only to replace dragons with velociraptors.
To be fair, Chris Pratt pulls off the action bohunk role nicely, and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire is actually competent enough to catch up with the action and even kill some things without being a liability. But unfortunately, Nick Robinson puts on his most slap-worthy emo teen look here while playing an irritating teen, and Ty Simpkins goes all crybaby and clingy and pathetic that I’m pretty certain his character will grow up to be a deranged killer that murders all his brother’s girlfriends. Not to mention, those brats are stupid enough to wander off alone into all kinds of trouble in the first place.
The script is all about killing the suspense. The good guys can do anything and everything – the teens that build a working vehicle from old parts just because a relative showed them how the year before, and there is nothing Owen can’t do (except take off his clothes, alas) – so there is never a moment while I feel that they are in genuine danger. Vincent D’Onofario is appropriately evil and smarmy without any subtlety, so much so that it’s pretty obvious he’s never going to win because he’s a classic mustache-twirling cliché. The sight of the dinosaurs has become so familiar by now, it’s like Claire said – we need a new attraction, only in this movie, it fails to deliver a new kind of excitement to make up for this movie basically retreading the grounds of the previous movies.
Jurassic World is probably going to be fun for people who have never watched the previous movies, but I suspect that people who have done so are going to find this one an uninspired and unimaginative by-the-numbers entry in that franchise.