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Movie Review: Jurassic World

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Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’ Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, B D Wong
Stars 3.5

Twenty-two years ago, there was little around like Jurassic Park. The T. rex of movies thundered across the scene and off it, ensuring a generation of children long after it would swear by dino lore. Few who saw that jeep being rocked about by an angry Tyrannosaurus rex in the film came away unaffected.

Twenty-two years later, there is a lot around like Jurassic World. Giant monstrous things laying people and places to rubble? Of course. However, Trevorrow, picking up the thread of a long-dead franchise, now at quite a distance from both Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg, manages to pack his Jurassic World with not just dread but also wonder. A smart move, given how scarce that second quality is these days.

The script — co-written by Trevorrow along with Derek Connolly, and Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — begins with the dinosaur themed amusement park dreamed of by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough from the first film) finally in place. It is a veritable Disney World, with rides, thrills, simulations, and animals up close and even personal. Considerable effort has gone into fitting the dinosaurs now identifiable because of the film’s predecessors into scenarios to thrill a child.

Yet, as Claire (Howard), who runs the park, and owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) realise, “dinosaurs don’t spell magic any more”. And much like any other enterprise, they need to innovate. Despite all the blood spilled so far, that leads them to tinker with dino genes to make a hybrid dubbed Indominus rex.

We know what follows, especially when the genes in that gene pool are kept a secret. When havoc breaks loose though, the cool and efficient Claire finds herself right in the midst of it courtesy her unsupervised nephews Gray and Zach (Simpkins and Robinson), who have driven into the Indominus’s path.

Trevorrow finds a way to plug the original Jurassic Park through the mayhem as Gray, Zach try to dodge the beast, and Claire attempts to find them along with the film’s animal lover Owen (Pratt). In a winsome sub-plot, Owen is also working on a government project to try tame Velaciraptors to follow commands, an endeavour he remains half-convinced about.

Pratt, picking up from his endearing turn in Guardians of the Galaxy, is convincing as the hero of the day who cares for both the man and the beast. The rest are adequate too, including an unruffled Khan who gets to fly own chopper, as Jurassic World unleashes the dinos and puts people in their way.

A scene involving Gray, Zach, a hamster-like ball they

are riding, and the Indominus’s efforts to crush it, comes close to the jeep scene of the original.

Jurassic World also makes an argument for how monster is “a relative term”. “Like for a canary, a cat is a monster,” it goes on. “We are just used to being the cat.” At another place, it notes that it is rather late for Masrani to start having morals about developing Indominus. “Nothing we are doing here is real,” the scientist Dr Wu (played by Wong, like in the original) smirks.

So then, perhaps, the dinos could done with more teeth and fangs. Despite the leaps and bounds of technology, Jurassic World’s animals lack the different personalities, sounds and scare factors of the original’s.

The film may even make us love the dinos a bit more, fear them a little less. As far as the progression of a franchise goes, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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