The first Jurassic Park was a marvel of modern cinema. Unfortunately, it got a bit long in the tooth with every sequel. But just when you thought it could only get worse, Jurassic World comes to remind itself that it could get better, and it can start by sticking to what it did best.
Located off the coast of Costa Rica, the Jurassic World luxury resort provides a habitat for an array of genetically engineered dinosaurs, including the vicious and intelligent Indominus rex. When the massive creature escapes, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the other dinos to run amok. Now, it's up to a former military man and animal expert (Chris Pratt) to use his special skills to save two young brothers and the rest of the tourists from an all-out, prehistoric assault.
There are points where Jurassic World feels too much like a love letter to the original Jurassic Park, like it was slowly turning into a remake than standing on its own reptilian feet. But on the other hand, that was probably why I enjoyed Jurassic World so damn much. Running through corridors being chased by raptors, kids running through forests with a dinosaur hot on their tail, all of it brought back awe and wonder and visceral thrill of seeing dinosaurs chomp and stomp their way across the screen just like it did when I first saw the original 1993 film as a kid.
The humans this time around are a bit genre-savvy, a bit more aware that what the fact that Jurassic World exists is crazy and fun...and every bit as dangerous. Chris Pratt steals the show with his cool and collected performance as alpha male Owen Grady, channeling his previous Star-Lord persona to woo ladies and stare down velociraptors like it's no big deal. Unfortunately, there wasn't much characterization left in the bowl for the rest of the cast. Bryce Dallas Howard was okay as overachieving park manager Claire, not as particularly memorable as Laura Dern was in her time. Vincent D'Onofrio as shady InGen thug had nothing much to do. The two kids? Jeez, I even forgot the kids' names, and their 'parents-about-to-divorce' back story wasn't very compelling.
You know who was compelling though? The dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs. Compelling. Not exactly the kind of word I'd describe long-extinct reptiles who want to eat everything that moves, but when you fear for every living thing on screen whenever the Indominus Rex (the movie's Big Bad) arrives, or feel that swell of joy seeing freaking velociraptors have a Big Damn Heroes moment, there's no other other way to describe it. The featured dinos this time around had "real" personalities, showcasing the underlying themes of humans (unsuccessfully) meddling with nature, especially 65 million year old nature.
But most importantly, Jurassic World made me fall in love with dinosaurs, even the first Jurassic Park, all over again. Trust me, the climactic battle will make sure you'll feel the same way too. Despite feeling like a retread, there's no denying that Jurassic World is a damn-near solid blockbuster film, a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish. Rejoice! Dinosaurs are cool again. Highly recommended!