***SPOILER ALERT WARNING*** As someone who not only grew up obsessed with all things dinosaur and also as someone who regards the first Jurassic Park film as the best film of all time (nothing really comes close in all honesty), to say that I went into the highly-anticipated release of Jurassic World with great expectations is somewhat of bit of an understatement.
It’s been 22 years since we were last taken to the fictional Costa Rican Island of Isla Nublar in the first Jurassic Park film and 14 years years for the latest installment of the franchise but the wait to take another ride through prehistoric awesomeness has been making fans very itchy since rumours began to swirl around over a decade ago about a reboot of the phenomenally successful dino franchise. However, on June 11th fans will be getting their wishes granted when Jurassic World stomps into cinemas around the world.
The latest instalment takes us to a high-tech theme park that was first envisioned by Jurassic Park creator, John Hammond back in 1993. While his attempt to create the world’s first prehistoric tourist attraction ended in disaster as well as the devastating outcome of a 2nd attempt in San Diego by a team of hunters who endeavoured to take the dinosaurs to the U.S mainland, Jurassic World invites visitors into a fully built and truly remarkable theme park on the original island which set the backdrop for the very first of these stimulating films.
With the park proving more and more popular whenever a new attraction is introduced (as if regular dinosaurs weren’t inspiring enough, right?), the parks owner Simon Masrani (played by Irrfan Khan – Life of Pi) and park operator Claire Dearing (played by the impeccable Bryce Dallas Howard – The Village, Lady In The Water), are about to unveil their latest creation and a first for the park – a hybrid dinosaur which has been spliced from the DNA of a tree-frog, cuttlefish, T-Rex and velociraptor, among others, to give it some pretty impressive characteristics including camouflage and body temperature altering capabilities. When the hybrid gets loose, Dearing turns to raptor trainer Owen Grady (played by big-screen hottie Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy), to put his skills and alpha role with the velociraptors into action as they hunt down the vicious killer that now stalks the island and is brutally killing the parks gentle giants and threatens the crowded central area of the island where the patrons of the exhibit are taking refuge. Things get even more suspenseful as they must also locate Dearings’ two young nephews who are visiting their aunt for the weekend and are lost on the island amongst all of the horror being caused by the new addition to the park.
This latest instalment is quite simply EPIC from start to finish! Let’s just get that out there right from the get-go! While I can’t go as far as to say it trumps the very first Jurassic Park hit, it does surpass the greatness of both sequels and was everything we were hoping for.
The first noticeable highlight of Jurassic World is its casting. The lead duties of Chris Pratt in the role of raptor trainer Owen Grady is right on the mark and as with previous big screen hits that the TV turned big screen heartthrob has made his own, Jurassic World is the prefect film for Pratt to sink his teeth into (pun intended) and to exercise his subtle humour and onscreen charm with both his human and non-human co-stars. Bryce Dallas Howard is also perfectly suited to this latest film and transforms from high-strung business-woman to kick-ass heroine alongside Pratt.
The new film casts many new dinosaur attractions that make for some serious, nail-biting moments throughout the 2 hour run of the film. Probably the biggest highlight of Jurassic Worlds dino cast is the inclusion of the first sea monster and what better a cast member than the biggest of them all – Mosasaurus, who appears in several scenes, including one of the films biggest moments in Jurassic World. While the 3rd film in the franchise gave a brief nod to club-tailed Ankylosaurus, the tank-built herbivore gets a pretty notable, but subtle role in this reboot.
Other obvious and previously featured dino centrepieces where given the more prominent roles in Jurassic World including both the velociraptors and T-Rex who, while we thought an early obstructed view of a dining T-Rex maybe the only glimpse of the icon that we may see, giving way to a new range of dinosaurs for the reboot including the new lead hybrid, Indominus Rex, the king returns to dominate during a full-throttle, sharp-toothed showdown to create a truly memorable climax to this brand new blockbuster. One of the favourites from the first film, Dilophosaurus, also makes a momentary appearance in this latest instalment, albeit in holographic form.
It’s pretty hard to pick any holes in Jurassic World. The first film in the franchise made way for some of the most inspiring special effects in cinematic history so it is no surprise that 22 years on from the box office smash, Jurassic World raises the bar and takes things to a whole new level. Several scenes, including one when the velociraptors are let loose to track down the parks menacing new attraction, left our jaws heavy on the floor as we swayed from side to side in our 3D glasses, following the quartet of hunters as they darted through the bush on a mission to track down their target. The effects used to create the Mosasaurus were also nothing short of phenomenal as we got our first glimpse of the Jurassic era beneath the water’s surface.
One of the things I particularly enjoyed about Jurassic World was its tribute to the very first film. As such a huge fan of the first Jurassic Park film in particular, director Colin Trevorrow offered fans of the franchise a nice touch of nostalgia with scenes including props and structures, including the 4-wheeled Explorers, a pair of night vision goggles and the destroyed visitor centre including the fallen banner from the first films closing scene, all of which have become symbolic and iconic features of the first Jurassic Park movie and the franchise as a whole. These moments were wisely not overused but provided a warmth to the film that paid homage to the franchise rather than steal from the unique greatness of the parent film.
Jurassic World really did provide us with everything we expected – and then some! A winning combination of both human and dinosaur co-stars paired with an original story and surprising interjections of nostalgia and tribute – not to mention the utterly mind-blowing special effects – really has made the 14 years between installments well worth the wait!
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