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Jurassic World (3D)


Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Irrfan Khan

Director: Colin Trevorrow

It’s been 22 years since, in Jurassic Park, Richard Attenborough, as the onscreen ‘creator’ of this Midas-touch franchise had (to quote the critics’ crib-sheet), “a dream: a theme park where visitors from all over the world could experience the thrill and awe of witnessing actual dinosaurs”.

The cinematic creation of said place (based on the best-seller by Michael Crichton) occurred under the direction of Steven Spielberg in 1993’s Jurassic Park, followed in 1997 with The Lost World: Jurassic Park. And prehistoric monsters returned yet again in 2001 for another healthy bite out of the box-office with Jurassic Park III. This time around the director was Joe Johnston. Spielberg played producer.

And it’s back again with another monster-driven movie money machine, this time under the driving direction of Colion (Safety Not Guaranteed) Trevorrow who makes the most of stunning award-worthy special effects and superb 3D cinematography (John Schwartzman) to ensure a massive audience-friendly hit.

Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly and Trevorrow's screenplay (from a story by Jaffa and Amanda Silver) definitely does the business, concentrating on thrills, excitement and mounting action and suspense, while ensuring all blockbuster boxes are ticked off.

Since the raison d’être of the film is monster mayhem, the writers create perfectly adequate human characters to carry the story until scaly terror is unleashed and brilliantly conceived prehistoric creatures take over to thrill cinemagoers.

We get youngsters-in-peril (who of course rise to the occasion to save their lives when they have to), the theme park employee (Dallas Howard) who is supposed to look after the lads but ignores them until almost too late, and the hunky ex-army hero (Chris Pratt) who can do anything and ultimately saves the day. And, if you really care, Vincent D’Onofrio overdoes his characterisation so heartily that you just know he is doomed…

The setting is the now well-established Jurassic Theme Park on an island off Costa Rica where kids can ride mini-raptors, Imax is available and friendly prehistoric beasts make marvellous viewing.

Disneyland, eat your heart out!

Naturally, it’s not all apple.

There’s the inevitable serpent, of course waiting to hit hard once the human characters have been established.

That serpent is, in fact, a giant genetically-modified dinosaur (which ate its sibling) named Indominus Rex and, true to its name, it’s not too long before it breaks out and wrecks (or eats) everything it can, catalyzing an avalanche of no-longer extinct creatures, ranging from pterodactyls to mini-raptors who lay waste to the theme park and its visitors until formula kicks in and Pratt saves the day in time for the (surely?) inevitable sequel.

It’s a guaranteed hit. What a pleasure to be able to switch off your mind and simply go with the cleverly created adrenaline rush created with by stunning special effects-created creatures.

Formula filmmaking? Of course. Why kill a cash cow?

But to give Trevorrow and his collaborators their well-earned due, the formula works very entertainingly. It’s the proven business again, only bigger and better.

Ironically the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise began as a ride in Disneyland. What’s the betting Jurassic World will reverse that and eventually end up as a ride at Universal?

PS: Wild pigs are seen thundering through the forest: Jurassic Pork?

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Kodak.
124 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 10 Jun 2015