Monday, April 22, 2024

Review: Jurassic World Works, Brings Back the Feel of Original Spielberg Movie


Wait: that headline didn’t mention the special effects. But “Jurassic Park” is back as “Jurassic World,” with special effect that really will amaze you. I saw it in 2D but I think 3D viewers are really going to marvel– as well as scream, and jump back– when they see the dinosaurs chomping away in this film.

But I digress: the 2015 “Jurassic World” is a big jump from the 1993 original. That movie was pretty advanced, certainly. There were two sequels, which I never saw. But the premise here is that a billionaire bought the old Jurassic Park, turned it into a theme park, and it’s a raving success. Unfortunately, they are also developing synthetic dinos, home grown Godzillas. You know it’s all going to go so very wrong.

For some reason, Judy Greer and Andy Buckley (David Wallace from The Office) let their two boys go to visit their aunt Claire, a a stuck up seeming business gal who who runs the Park and has no time for them. That’s Bryce Dallas Howard, who I could watch all day as she runs the park and flirts with Owen (Chris Pratt), who’s the Dino Whisperer. These two bicker at first, but you know they’re going to wind up together when trouble comes.

“Jurassic World” has stock plots and stock characters, but still I rather loved it, even all the cliches and the telegraphing of who will get eaten or stomped on. That’s all part of the fun. It’s especially meta when Claire’s nephews stumble into the old, abandoned Jurassic Park offices — more could have been made of that, actually. Maybe the next installment will pursue that angle. Somehow director Colin Trevorrow has captured the Spielberg spirit. And you know, if you’re a real dinosaur– like me– you remember that fondly. But it seemed to work for kids at our screening too. And that’s who these movies are for. “Jurassic World” is pure entertainment.

It’s important to mention that the wonderful Indian actor Irrfan Khan plays the billionaire who’s renovated the Park. BD Wong (more lately of Law & Order fame) is a scientist in the lab. These are really terrific actors who give the movie a jolt. Vincent D’Onofrio, in his own post Law & Order career, makes for a very good creepy guy who you’re never sure about.

Judy Greer is not in this movie enough, that’s all I can say. Chris Pratt is turning into a very good cocky self effacing leading man, very Harrison Ford. I like him. Bryce Dallas Howard just about steals the movie, she’s a sensational action heroine and damsel in distress. I think she took a little time off to have kids, etc. But she’s only 34. I hope she makes the most of her 30s.

A lot of munching in this film, but remember none of it’s real even thought the CGI people, painters, production etc get high high marks. Kudos to the art department for deploying the original Jurassic Park type face all over the new park. I can’t wait to see it again!

PS Plenty of commercial plugs, from Starbucks to Beats headphones, and Starbucks, among others. Funny — the only sponsorship missing is when a smart phone gets cracked and broken. I guess no one wanted to be part of that!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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