Friday, June 12, 2015

Movie Review: Jurassic World

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Action, thrills, effects, acting
Cons: A few predictable plot points, thin characters
The Bottom Line:
Monsters run amok
Some flaws, but still mostly fun
Mindless thrills for us

“I Will Not Turn this Island into a War Zone.”  “You Already Have.”

After 2001’s Jurassic Park III, I thought the franchise was really and truly dead.  After all, it’s been 14 years since that film came out, and it wasn’t all that great.  But if there is money to be made, they will find a way, and they came back with Jurassic World this year.  It doesn’t really break any new ground, but that doesn’t matter.  Why?  Because it’s a lot of fun.

Brothers Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) are being shipped off to spend part of their Christmas vacation with their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard).  She runs Jurassic World, the theme park that has been built over the bones of the original Jurassic Park.  Gray loves dinosaurs and is thrilled at the idea, but his older brother Zach isn’t really that interested.  When the brothers arrive, they quickly get passed off to others since there is much Claire needs to take care of, including the new Indominus Rex and the enclosure that needs to be finished so its exhibit can open in a few short weeks.

Meanwhile, there’s Owen (Chris Pratt) and his work training the Velociraptors and Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who thinks these trained beasts will make the ultimate weapon.  Owen keeps warning that the Raptors are completely unpredictable and should not be let outside the cages, but Hoskins won’t listen.

When the unthinkable happens (as you know it will), chaos ensues with Gray and Zach in the worst possible location.  Will they be okay?  On an island full of tourists, will anyone survive?

Let’s be upfront and honest – this is a monster movie.  It may be cool with dinosaurs and wonderful special effects, but it’s really just a monster movie.  But as such, it succeeds beautifully.

The beginning of the film is great at introducing the characters and the new dinosaurs and advances in the Velociraptors.  No, the Raptors aren’t talking like I jokingly predicted after the last film.  In fact, the advances felt like they flowed well from what came before without being unbelievable.  Okay, okay, too unbelievable.  Mainly, it has to do with Owen’s training.  Does it fit with the first film?  Not really, but it’s interesting.

But when the dinosaurs start running amok, the party really gets going.  There are plenty of tense moments that will keep your eyes glued to the screen.  No, I didn’t jump, and the jump moments are kept to a minimum.  But there are still plenty of great thrills to be had as the characters try to survive the carnage happening around them.

Okay, so some of the plot points were a little predictable.  I called parts of the film before it happened.  But you know what?  I didn’t care.  I was having so much fun, it didn’t really matter.  And, the fact that it has been so long since the last one came out makes it feel fresher even though, at its heart, this is a monster movie.  There are only so many ways these films can happen, right?

Likewise, the characters are just developed enough to make us care about the outcome of the film.  I found some of that development predictable, but again, I didn’t care.  They worked for the film, and that’s all that matters.

The acting across the board is great.  The actors do a great job of making us care about their thin characters.  Considering how much of the film they are acting against effects that aren’t there, their acting is even more impressive.  I bought their terror.

Special effects?  There was one shot early on I didn’t quite buy, but for the rest of it, I was fully on board.  And for a film and franchise that is built on special effects, that’s important.

Yes, there are flaws, and it would be easy to sit here and pick them apart.  Yet, Jurassic World is fun, and that’s what it wants to be.  This is a mindless summer film.  Sit back and enjoy and you will have a wonderful time.


  1. Thanks, great review! Maybe I will go see it. I'm also looking forward to TOTALLY mindless fun with Sharknado 3. ;-D

    1. I have yet to see the Sharknado films. I can't quite quite get that mindless. It still seems too stupid to me.


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