GENRE: Action, Adventure
DIRECTOR: Colin Trevorrow
WRITER: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
STARS: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan
PLOT: Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is now a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World. After 10 years of operation and with visitor rates declining, a new attraction is created…
Back in 1993, Steven Speilberg created one of his masterpieces of American popcorn cinema when he brought Michael Chrichton’s book to life with the original Jurassic Park. I can still remember seeing for the first time the scene where we are introduced to the parks gigantic dinosaurs, causing Sam Neill’s character to go weak at the knees and me to get butterflies in my giddy stomach.
The wonder of Jurassic Park can probably never be repeated. Back in ’93 the internet was in its infancy and we had no YouTube, so for children around the world this was their chance to bring to life the creatures they had only read or dreamed about. So a sequel was always going to be a tall order and as feared/expected, we were given two courses of tripe to follow the sumptuous starter. But when we heard that Jurassic World would realise John Hammond’s original dream of a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, we allowed ourselves to hope. Especially after the trailer showed us a SeaWorld type attraction with performing sea monsters. Who wouldn’t want to go to Jurassic World?
12 years after John Hammond’s failed attempts to build his theme park, Jurassic World finally opens on the island of Isla Nubla, this time headed by Hammond’s friend Simon Masrani. The park is immensely popular but as it reaches its 10th birthday it is in need of something new to perk up the attendance figures. Masrani and his science team decide to create a new dinosaur using bits of DNA from various others and the Indominous Rex is born. What could go wrong I hear you ask? well pretty much exactly the same as happened in the first film. We have escaped dinos, two kids having to survive the wilderness, an Indiana Jones ranger character, a shady man with an ulterior motive and a crazy old man who can’t see when things are about to go tits up.
One of the beautiful things about Jurassic Park was that whilst it was so obviously not real, it treated its subject and its audience with respect. We actually believed it was possible (for two hours at least). But for each of the sequels, World included, things have been dumbed further down and we are now left with a cartoon where trained Velociraptors run alongside a motorcycle to chase down a predator bigger and deadlier than a T-Rex. We also get dinosaurs having an actual conversation with each other (in Dinosaur-ese of course).
Unfortunately the casting only helps to bring the film down further. The two child actors are so devoid of character I wouldn’t have been disappointed if they had ended up as raptor-fodder. The lead roles were as stereotyped as each other and the supplementary cast were all forgettable. But even the score was poor. They obviously made good use of John Williams’ main theme, but Michael Giacchino is no John Williams, and it showed.
The key issue however is the lack of a good story. Surprising really as there was quite some controversy over the screenplay. A script was originally written by Rise of the Planet of the Apes writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. This was rejected and director Trevorrow wrote a new one with his writing partner Derek Connolly. Jaffa and Silver would later take the production to arbitration, claiming a writing credit due to the new script being based around their own theme. This was upheld and they received a ‘story by’ credit. An honour I would not really have been keen on receiving!
Creating a theme park with living dinosaurs as the main attraction was always a bit of a dodgy plan that I am sure would be very difficult to pass even the slackest of health and safety checks. We accepted this back in 1993, but after the initial ‘incidents’ on Isla Nublar things have been taken to ridiculous levels. Lets have a look at the timeline…
- 1993 – The events of Jurassic Park occur. Dinosaurs escape due to Denis Nedry’s attempts to steal embryos. Chaos ensues. The park doesn’t open due to multiple issues and numerous deaths.
- 1997 – The events of The Lost World: Jurassic Park occur. Four years after Isla Nublar a second island, Isla Sorna, is found that had been used as a breeding ground for the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs end up on the mainland. Chaos ensues.
- 2001 – The events of Jurassic Park III occur. A parasailer gets stuck on Isla Sorna, again. Dinosaurs are still there. Chaos ensues.
- 2002 – Just one year after the second lot of problems on Isla Sorna, construction begins on Jurassic World. This must have taken a FIFA sized bung to get signed off!
- 2005 – Jurassic World opens.
- 2015 – The events of Jurassic World. Chaos once again ensues.
It appears that the next instalment will move away from dinos as entertainment and look at how they might be used by the military. Whilst this sounds like a standard premise for a low budget sci-fi film, it at least means we are unlikely to see the original Jurassic Park sullied any further.
By returning to Isla Nublar, Jurassic World tries to gloss over the previous disastrous sequels only to fall at exactly the same hurdles.
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