Editor’s Notes: Jurassic World opens in wide release today, June 12th.
Dino fans grab your safari hats we’re going back to the park where it all began. When it was only spun through the rumour mill that Jurassic Park was getting a modern update, I was uncompromisingly delighted at the thought. It’s been twenty-two years since the first events took place, and fourteen years since the last film hit the big screens. Saving grace for all those sceptics is that Spielberg is an executive producer, he did have involvement with the project and he wouldn’t have been involved if he didn’t see reason to, all good things.
Our hero of the film is Chris Pratt’s character Owen, thankfully a not so stereotypical macho action figure. He is realistically derived from the Jurassic Park legacy of quick thinking save the day sorts, who in the face of foolish errors can step up and work for desperate solutions to the ensuing chaos.
Most impressive is the sheer scale of Jurassic World, which is substantial in comparison with any of the Jurassic Park films. Sure the initial travelling to Isla Nublar and seeing a T-Rex break loose were the highlights of the original film, but this goes a whole lot further with a supersized theme park and a completely new hybrid dinosaur created in the labs aims to put T-Rex in the shadows. It does by the way, it absolutely does.
Now featuring a water-based dinosaur attraction, which very much points towards the success of the SeaWorld aquatic theme parks and has a quick jibe at the seemingly ludicrous idea of the spectacle. I couldn’t help myself and immediately gasped ‘black fish’ when I first saw Jurassic World’s version of this idea surface in the trailer. Blackfish was an expose documentary last year the disasters and deaths related to keeping captive orcas to train as if dolphins for entertainment purposes opened my eyes to something previously accepted as marine biology turned theme park thrill seekers norm. It’s only a small feature of the narrative but it does serve a brilliant turn and rings true to a lot of the protested arguments of SeaWorld campaigners. Seriously, have you seen the size of that thing? It eats sharks from strings for snacks, what manmade container on earth can physically contain it, never mind controlling it! The gigantic oceanic fossil is far from the Jurassic Park number three’s installment of water based fun, an improvement by miles.
Coming from a diverse history of dinosaurs on the big screen, its now commonplace modern CGI attempts to made realistic dinosaurs was on queue with the standards expected.
There’s going to be a fair bit of speculation around the science ethics of creating this new dinosaur. Stem cell research, gene splicing and playing god will likely be mentioned in some interesting online discussion threads. A whole avenue may well morph out of the ‘that monster is my baby’ dilemma presented by the park owner and scientist. The park manager Claire introduces an interesting pragmatism of animals as business assets and corporate mentality. While she’s not quite the crazed Frankenstein figure there are evident boundary issues here that are the basis of unearthed old material from the original feature, clever girl. The now dated labs of the first film have been upgraded with tech that doesn’t seem futuristic and is in the same respect plausible. The Jurassic World that we encounter isn’t that unimaginable given the popularity of animal based theme parks. It’s made such a good fantasy narrative by the everyday, regular and unassuming people that knowingly buy into something that ultimately becomes as dangerous and uncontrolled as all the research has suggested. It’s mankind’s nature after all to experiment and the corporate mandate ideology feeds into the competitive level that’s pushed these boundaries to their limits.
Our hero of the film is Chris Pratt’s character Owen, thankfully a not so stereotypical macho action figure. He is realistically derived from the Jurassic Park legacy of quick thinking save the day sorts, who in the face of foolish errors can step up and work for desperate solutions to the ensuing chaos. By the way he’s a park ranger come velociraptor trainer, that’s a completely new aspect to the Jurassic universe. His role from Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 spiked his popularity as a leading male actor with enough charm to pull off a part comedy role. The casting could have easily gone down a very different route and given the film a completely alternate family fun anchor. Luckily Tom Hardy picked another of this summers reboots with Mad Max.
CGI wise, Jurassic World was all I wanted and needed it to be. Coming from a diverse history of dinosaurs on the big screen, its now commonplace modern CGI attempts to made realistic dinosaurs was on queue with the standards expected. Thankfully the majesty of the original models and the unforgettable velociraptor suits has been transformed but not forgotten. As a dad next to me takes a moment during the motorcycle chase sequence to tell his terrified daughter, ‘those used to be people in suits, but now it’s all on a computer so it’s ok they can’t get you’. It’s interesting how this adds to and takes away from the experience proposed by the feature. In one way it’s reassuring that these little meat eating reptiles are definitely not real when you know that somebody created them on a software programme. In another way, it’s a bit sad that there’s no fear that comes from the idea of a physical prop that can come to life. I do wonder though, how the generational differences of audiences view these dinosaurs. They are spectacular in quality but the same tricks of only just seeing enough are employed to retain the same sort of tension build ups.
For older fans, there are references galore. Everything from the flare with the T-Rex, to the DNA character talking you through the science behind the scenes is given an opportunity to catch your imagination. The characters consistently refer to the old Jurassic Park as the business origins and the values they stand for, never forgetting what previously happened. The logo is a more neutral blue and white rehash and everything has been more heavily researched for health and safety. It’s only the new project that brings in a curve ball to the happily functioning family attraction.
What’s not to love? Train stations have been dressed up by ad materials to make it look like you’re arriving in Jurassic World and souvenir theme park style tickets are on offer for opening weekend screenings. The other whelming media presence leading up to this release has been the sort I fondly remember from my childhood. This is summer global blockbuster as good as it gets. If by this point you’re not convinced that you should be booking in advance, I want to encourage you to. I’m sure if I really wanted to I could see the flaws that have been picked up on so far, but I just don’t want to. I wanted to see it for what it was, I loved the experience and I’ll go again to get my dinosaur fix.
References galore, Chris Pratt’s not so stereotypical macho action figure, a supersized theme park, and a completely new hybrid dinosaur, what's not to love about Jurassic World?