“Spare no expense” – the three words first spoken by original Isla Nublar Jurassic Park mastermind John Hammond are echoed by new park owner, the 8th wealthiest person in the world Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) as he pilots a helicopter on the verge of getting his license to the park’s new attraction. Known as only an asset instead of an animal, the asset in question is known as Indominus Rex, an amalgamation of different species molded into one monster of frankensteins creation. With camouflage and the ability to hide its heat signature, the animal is at the disposal of capitalistic greed. “Bigger, meaner, scarier” are the exact words used by Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), the geneticist in charge of bringing these animals to life.
Thank your corporate focus groups, you did a bang-up job with this one.
Every few years the park needs to reinvent itself or fans and more importantly investors will move on and find something else to spend their fortune on. It’s all about ROI or return on investment to those who pour billions of capital into a theme park with prehistoric attractions with inhumane living conditions. Something career driven Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is fully aware of and chooses to blatantly ignore – or she’s been lectured enough at nauseam about it by her boss to remove all attachments to the animals and drive profits higher than Hammond conceived possible 22 years prior.
Of course, the only expense spared that Hammond, played brilliantly by Lord Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park & The Lost World, alluded to is the fragile lives of these previously extinct animals and the humans who handle them – tasked with not getting eaten, the deductible on their health insurance must skyrocket with every attack. How else did a job at the raptor paddock open – loss of human life is worth less than the dinosaurs at this park. A job opens up, the position is filled, and no one mourns.
Following the events of the first film by director Steven Spielberg Jurassic Park, World serves as a direct sequel, who really wants to remember The Lost World & Jurassic Park 3 anyways. The envisioned final product Hammond had in mind for this tiny island off the coast of Costa Rica has come to fruition, Isla Nublar is open to the public. Tourists will come from each corner of the globe to witness these creatures who once roamed the earth before going extinct. If playing god failed once, repeating it won’t guarantee a different outcome. No matter how reinforced the paddocks are. There will always be one with a god complex looking to invent the next big thing. Or in this case, the next big killing machine sponsored by Verizon wireless.
Maybe the dinosaur should be called the “Pepsiosaur”. It has a nice ring to it.
While the creature antagonist is the Indominus Rex, quickly recognizing its at the top of the food chain, the human villain distracts from what the main event should be – glorious dinosaur on human violence. Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) is another empty calorie InGen foot soldier that D’Onofrio gives some credibility towards. The character D’Onofrio plays is there to satisfy the need for control over animals or how they see it, lesser beings. Most of the dinosaurs are bred in captivity, only having one positive relationship with the crane that drops the food in the paddock. This leads to the dinosaurs being partially developed among others in their environment. Director and writer Colin Trevorrow captures the hostile attitude toward this evilness while not saying much beyond that.
Think of dog fighting, the conditions of Barnum and Bailey Circus or SeaWorld. Paying money to view these attractions or looking in the other direction only further fuels the park to continue in their selfish gain for money and glory.
Unless you’re four raptors named Charlie, Delta, Echo and Blue, the clear standouts of World, handled by Navy vet and raptor expert Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the dinosaurs won’t possess the social skills necessary to not go on a murderous rampage. According to Owen, it’s all about mutual respect between human and dinosaur – mixed with a little conditioning. Pratt’s charisma and grizzled disappointment in how these creatures are mishandled leap off screen. If an asset breaks containment, Owen is the one to cling to while tourists are being picked off one by one by Pterosaurs’ and pterodactyls. At least the margaritas are safe, it’s all about priority to some.
Added in subtly but not overdone is a nostalgia factor that will serve as a reminder of the previous films. Colin Trevorrow briefly lends his voice to the cartoonish Mr. DNA while park employees wear shirts with the previous park’s logo. Citing it as a cool design, others scoff at the cliché of wearing it. Finally, Trevorrow and writing team that includes Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Derek Connolly throw in the old building overgrown with weeds and vines. As much as the old park is long forgotten, the memory of what happened is still present as the ghost of Isla Nublar past. Why did they have to try this experiment again.
Performances all around in this sequel shoulder much of the burden when the story falls short, due to too many cooks in the kitchen. Pratt is charismatic enough to lift Bryce Dallas Howard up, though she recovers at the end while calling upon the T-Rex to save the day with more teeth and running in heals, but its Ty Simpkins as Gray, Claire’s nephew who makes the park feel larger than life – giving the same looks of wonder and excitement that Dr. Ellie Sattler had when seeing dinosaurs roam the earth for the first time. Trevorrow proves that an above average Jurassic Park movie can still be made with the right team in place.
Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow
Story By: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Music By: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: John Schwartzman
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Irrfan Khan
Release Date: June 12, 2015
Running Time: 2 Hours 4 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%
Based On: Characters by Michael Crichton