Jurassic World (12A)

Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 12th June 2015

Reviewed by Nick Daly

The Park Is Open. The enticement that permeates the film’s striking tagline is an element that Jurassic World executes spectacularly. Although it discards the slow-build of its predecessor, hastening through its iconic park gates that Jurassic Park so richly savoured (“What have they got in there, King Kong?”), the immersive experience of witnessing the dazzling success of the most doomed amusement park in cinema history is a sight to truly marvel. It’s a gratifying return to the wonder of the original and a refreshing deviation from it’s bleak, foreboding sequels.

“Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and, um, screaming,” came the self-referential words of Ian Malcolm in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic World doesn’t dare stray from the notorious traits of the franchise to which it belongs. When Jurassic Park III infamously exhausted this formula, essentially terminating the franchise for fourteen years while it’s next installment wallowed in development hell, Jurassic World resurfaces it with the simple tactic of retracting to its roots. The Park in Jurassic Park once again retains relevance, now developed into a World, with dwindling public interest sparking the ill-fated creation of its first genetically modified hybrid dinosaur. It’s a catalyst perhaps written self-consciously as Jurassic Park wearily enters a starkly different cinematic landscape to the one it left; a satirical reference that’s twisted into irony now Jurassic World has just achieved the biggest global box office opening of all time. Welcome back, dinosaurs.

The reintroduction of science, however, to a series that began its life as science fiction is an intriguing venture that regrettably proves to be deceptive, as Jurassic World swiftly degenerates into an inflated form of the action-adventure genre the series had eventually evolved (or devolved) into, with a worrying added sprinkle of light-hearted comedy. It was Jurassic Park’s commentary on its provocative concept of man prevailing nature that supplied the sharp edge to elevate it above just a sheer spectacle; a concept that World revisits but completely dismisses in favour of just that, displaying not one iota of the soul, sophistication or organic characterization of Steven Spielberg’s masterly direction. It’s essentially Jurassic Park injected with steroids, retooled and rebooted for the spectacle-hungry, CGI-infested generation, verifying that its apparent kinship to its origins is merely a mask to detract from its horrifying affinity to Jurassic Park III.

Nevertheless, it’s a mask decorated so alluringly, culminating in a final act so shamelessly fan-serving that any self-respecting, dinosaur-starved devotee will find it utterly irresistible. Predominately, Jurassic World is a love letter to its origins that’s scrunched-up, badly written and torn at the edges, but is nonetheless what it is, a well-meant and ultimately appreciative love letter.

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