Upon Further Review: Jurassic World

(L to R) Claire (BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD), Owen (CHRIS PRATT), Zach (NICK ROBINSON) and Gray (TY SIMPKINS) watch in terror in Jurassic World. Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure, and Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

With the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom this week, I decided to give Jurassic World a revisit.

Fourteen years after the events of Jurassic Park 3, a new park has been up and running for ten years on Isla Nublar.  This is the same island in which Jurassic Park was introduced in 1993.  A lot has changed over the years since Jurassic Park graced the cinemas.  It’s enough that the screenplay manages to serve as a metaphor for how much Hollywood has changed in that time.  We’re getting sequels to films that are so unnecessary because they’re only being made for the money grab.  Jurassic World isn’t that film but it’s also not above poking fun at what they’re doing.

After all the lawsuits against InGen, you would think that they would have learned their lesson by now.  They’ve managed to fulfill the late John Hammond’s vision and turn Jurassic World into a huge luxury resort.  It’s the overworked, career-driven Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) who oversees the park.  Instead of visiting her nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), it’s assistant Zara Young (Katie McGrath) left in charge.  Claire shows park owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) their newest prized species, the Indominus Rex.  The exhibit is going to be sponsored, which speaks to how everything has naming rights.  It’s a wonder that the park itself doesn’t have a sponsor on the main gate on the tour.  If those gates look familiar, it’s because they’re taken from the gates in the first film.

Navy veteran Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) has his own posse of velociraptors that he’s trained upon arrival.  His superior, InGen security chief Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), is of the belief that the raptors should be military weapons.  Owen disagrees and this comes back to bite Hoskins later on.  Upon first glance, Hoskins comes off as being similar to that of park warden Robert Muldoon in the original film.  There’s a lot more Hoskins than meets the eye.  It turns out that he’s working in tandem with geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong).  This isn’t to say that they’re from the same cloth as Denis Nedry but Wu never struck me as the villainous type.

Masrani may not be as numbers-oriented as Claire is but believes everyone should be happy on the island.  “The key to a happy life is to accept you are never actually in control,” Masrani tells Claire on the copter flight to the I. Rex paddock.  That being said, just because they’re able to do something in Jurassic World doesn’t mean they should.  Anyone could tell you that creating a hybrid dinosaur that combines the likes of so many carnivores is a disaster waiting to happen!

At Masrani’s request, Claire summons Owen to inspect the paddock.  This is an extremely bad idea because the I. Rex has the ability to camouflage itself.  It’s this inspection that ups the stakes and turns Jurassic World into another monster film.  Unlike Jurassic Park, Zach and Gray are all alone to fend for themselves.  This includes watching the Mosasaurus from the stands.  It’s subtle but when the creature eats the shark, it says all we need to know about how blockbuster filmmaking has changed.  The two were riding in the Gyrosphere when the announcement comes on to return.  It’s no surprise that Claire starts worrying about her nephews!  Unlike Tim and Lex, the two don’t have an Alan Grant to watch over them.  While trying to survive, their running takes them to the original visitor center, where they repair an old jeep and escape.

The climactic battle at the end of the film requires more teeth so it means the return of the T. Rex with those old raptor scars to prove it.  It wouldn’t be a Jurassic film without the use of flairs to draw her attention!  Having her take on the I. Rex at the end of the film tells who that she’s the big boss on the island.

The Samsung Innovation Center plays home to the new visitor’s center.  This includes the Hammond Creation Lab and a statue of the late John Hammond paying tribute to the late actor Richard Attenborough.  We also get the return of Mr. DNA!

Composer Michael Giacchino makes great use of the cues and melodies from John Williams’ original Jurassic Park score.  Despite these cues, the composer helps to make it his own.  Among easter eggs are a book written by Dr. Ian Malcolm.  Lowery Cruthers (Jake Johnson) is seen wearing a Jurassic Park shirt that he bought off of Ebay rather than take it from the decrepit visitor center.  His desk is a mess in the same vein as Nedry but he’s nowhere near as mischievous.  A harder-hitting emotional reference is when Owen and Claire see a fallen Apatosaurus.  The use of the animatronic dinosaur in this scene pays tribute to the late Stan Winston.  As does a shot of Winston’s Steakhouse.  It pays homage to the sick triceratops scene with Grant and Sattler so many years earlier.

Overall, Dennis Muren’s visual effects supervision leads to some of the most realistic designed dinosaurs to date.  This may be due to how much we know about the prehistoric creates or technological advances over the years.  Knowing what we now know, could a special edition will include feathers?

Following the 2012 indie sleeper, Safety Not Guaranteed, Steven Spielberg handed the keys to director Colin Trevorrow.  Suffice it to say, Trevorrow does an amazing job at the helm.  It’s because of all the pieces put together that this film rocks in the way it does.  He may have lost his job as a Star Wars director but I’m not letting it ruin my time watching the film.

Upon further review, Jurassic World is just as awesome and nostalgic as it was when the film first graced the big screens in 2015.

DIRECTOR:  Colin Trevorrow
SCREENWRITERS:  Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow
CAST:  Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Judy Greer, Lauren Lapkus, Andy Buckley, and Irrfan Khan

Universal Pictures opened Jurassic World in theaters on June 12, 2015.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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