AM At The Movies: ‘Jurassic World’

Above: Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard star in 'Jurassic World'

Jurassic World
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, various dinosaurs
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Run Time: 124 minutes

There didn’t seem to be any feverish demand for Hollywood to roll out another dino-tastic sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic Jurassic Park, but given how frequently Spiderman gets rebooted and horror franchise sequels hit theatres, updating the effects and awesome potential of bigger, cooler, nastier dinosaurs isn’t a bad choice.

Jurassic World is unoriginal, but in a way that you don’t really care because you know you’re going to see Jurassic Park: The Update and not a film built around a new concept. The dinosaurs have run amok before. The “good guys” saved the day then. Without offering up any spoilers, chances are you know how things will finish this time around too and none of that matters. It’s about getting to that conclusion and how many times your jaw drops at the spectacle of colossal CGI dinosaurs 20 years after Spielberg’s original tyrannosaurus rex tripped us out.

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and young Ty Simpkins get top billing in this film, but the dinosaurs are the really stars. The genetically engineered Indominus Rex, the jump-out-of-the-water star of the trailer mosasaurus and the rest of the brought back to existence creations are the reason people will flock to the theatre to once again travel to Isla Nublar and they won’t be disappointed.

This is an outstanding summer popcorn movie – it’s big, loud, fast-paced and isn’t really saying much of anything other than “maybe we should stop making dinosaurs in a lab and running dinosaur theme parks.” Okay, it says more than that if you want to peel back the first layer of the onion, but just as the fictional patrons aren’t going to Jurassic World to sip a cold beverage at the park’s Margarittaville location, real life moviegoers aren’t necessarily going to Jurassic World in search of “bigger picture” themes and commentary.

They want to see some dino-fights and the same kind of “scare the crap out of you” excitement that made the first movie in this series so damn awesome when it arrived 22 years ago.

And while it’s not as great as the original (sequels rarely are), Jurassic World holds up because Simpkins is cute enough to make you care about him, Pratt is basically “Star Lord the Dinosaur Trainer” and the dinosaurs are kick-ass. Also, this film doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is perfect since, you know, it’s basically the first Jurassic flick with a cooler, sass-mouthed male lead. #NoDisrespectToJeffGoldblum

If there is one knock, it’s Howard. She’s great in the buttoned-down, business woman who runs the park pieces, but once it becomes “my nephews are out there and we’ve got a gigantic dinosaur terrorizing the park” time, she just doesn’t hold up. There is no underlying toughness to her. There is no spunk that makes you think, “Yeah, I could see this woman becoming a dino-chasing bad ass” the way you do with Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain and several other potential choices here.

Still, Jurassic World is fun, enjoyable entertainment and definitely worth checking out.

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