Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World is set 22 years after the disturbing turn of events at Isla Nublar -- an island off the coast of Costa Rica -- which had forced John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough), the founder and CEO of bioengineering company InGen, to abandon the theme park he had populated with ingeniously cloned dinosaurs. It's been 10 years since Hammond's vision of a dinosaur theme park has finally become a reality. The new park is named Jurassic World and is owned by the Indian business magnate and dinosaur enthusiast Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) who has taken Hammond's dream to a whole new level.
Masrani's team of bioengineers, led by none other than the genius scientist Dr Henry Wu (B D Wong reprises his role), have made tremendous progress in their research and are now able to genetically splice the dinosaur DNA at will with that of various other species, giving rise to a hybrid breed of beasts. Masrani is pleased as these new varieties of dinosaurs add to the park's appeal for visitors.
So far, so good, but for how long can one continue to bend the rules of nature? You know that a lesson is on the way: sooner or later, we must all pay the price for our greed! Things finally go out of control when Dr Wu and team come up with a T. Rex hybrid in a bid to fulfill a corporate mandate. Voila! We are transported back to a Spielbergian world of chaos and carnage as the theme park slowly takes the form of a ticking time bomb, ready to go kablooey at any moment. In a race against time, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a Velociraptor expert and trainer, and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the operations manager of Jurassic World, must set aside their past differences and join hands to stop the impending doom that awaits them all.
"While the movie fails to match the cinematic brilliance of Spielberg's original dinosaur extravaganza, Jurassic World nonetheless manages to fulfill its promise of being a perfect Hollywood summer blockbuster."
Jurassic World is everything it is supposed to be and more. Needless to say, there is action, adventure, fun and frolic, and loads of creepy dinosaur mayhem. As one would expect, the film employs cutting-edge CGI and VFX, and the excellent 3D effects make it an experience of a kind. While the movie fails to match the cinematic brilliance of Spielberg's original dinosaur extravaganza, Jurassic World nonetheless manages to fulfill its promise of being a perfect Hollywood summer blockbuster.
Unlike Jurassic Park, this film also shows dinosaurs in a more complex light. Late American film critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review of Jurassic Park: "The movie delivers all too well on its promise to show us dinosaurs. But consider what could have been. There is a scene very early in the film where Neill and Dern, who have studied dinosaurs all of their lives, see living ones for the first time. The creatures they see are tall, majestic leaf-eaters, grazing placidly in the treetops. There is a sense of grandeur to them. And that is the sense lacking in the rest of the film, which quickly turns into a standard monster movie, with screaming victims fleeing from roaring dinosaurs." Ebert was interested in the possibility of a constructive interaction between the humans and the dinosaurs, and it's good to see Jurassic World finally take a few steps in that direction -- as is evident from the scenes wherein Chris Pratt's character tries to train the Velociraptors.
Overall, Jurassic World can best be described as a visual feast for action-adventure enthusiasts. But, the movie does offer some nice and punchy one-liners. Perhaps, the best ones get delivered by Simon Masrani, the most impactful being: "The key to a happy life is to accept that one is never in control." Then there is one delivered by Dr. Henry Wu: "Monster is a relative word; to a canary, a cat is a monster... so far we humans were used to being cats."
Dig a little deeper and Jurassic World also offers a relevant critique on growing consumerism and corporate excess and mocks the human desire for profit. The acting performances in the movie range from average to good. While Irrfan Khan makes his presence felt in the limited screen time he gets, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard add a spark with their solid performances. The rest of the cast does a decent job of supporting them.
Jurassic World is a highly entertaining piece of cinema that takes us on an adventurous journey to long-forgotten Spielbergian avenues of madness and confusion, allowing some of us to relive our childhood memories.
A version of this review was first published on A Potpourri of Vestiges