Yes, it’s been a while since I saw any films so am making up for it! Anyway, onto JW. As many of you will know, I’m not a fan of the modern sequel, aka reboot, or prequel or whatever term you wish to use these days. Some things are best left alone (yet seemingly the ones I think should be remade, aren’t. Like Lawnmower Man, should be remade every couple of years just for the advances in CGI etc surely?).
However, JW had been getting some positive reviews, a few people I knew had seen it and liked so I figured, why the hell not. After all, Chris Pratt is a damn good actor, he brings a sense of fun to things, maybe he can do the same here?
The premise of the movie won’t surprise: New theme park (will they ever learn?), built on the site of the old theme park (will they ever learn?), is going very well, all contained etc, but, visitors are becoming numb to the attractions, “they look at dinosaurs like they look at elephants”. And so they decide to genetically modify a new dinosaur (will they ever learn?), because what could go wrong with that? Right?
It’s actually a very clever premise, it’s also a damning indictment on our modern society; everything must be bigger, faster, scarier, more dangerous yet safe. We want, want, want and then become numb when we have. Anyway, the boffins, or boffin in this case, splice together a whole host of animals to create a 50ft dinosaur which, surprise, surprise, breaks free and begins its reign of terror. This prompts Hoskins, the rather brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio (Chained, The Judge), to mount an all-out assault on the park as he’s attempting to weaponise the dinosaurs.
Stuck in the middle of this we have two children (it’s always children isn’t it? I’m pretty sure adults would crap themselves at a dino too, which we saw the first time round); Gray, played by Ty Simpkins (Insiduous, Iron Man 3) and his elder brother Zach, played by Nick Robinson (Melissa & Joey) who are sent to the park to spend time with their auntie Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator Salvation, The Twilight Saga) who is the park director and has very little time for anything except profit. Now of course they’re not able to defeat the dino’s on their own and so their saviour comes in the form of Owen, played by Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy).
Obviously that isn’t anything we haven’t really seen before. And the writers (of which there are a lot), Rick Jaffa (The Planet of the Apes reboots, the next Avatar films), Amanda Silver (same credits as Rick), Colin Terverrow – who also directs – (Safety Not Guaranteed, upcoming Star Wars) and Derek Conolly (Safety Not Guaranteed) actually do a not half-bad job of injecting other elements into the movie. However none of it is new, some of it we’ve seen before in previous Jurassic –insert name/number here- movies.
So we end up with the same format as previous films; open on the children being sent to their auntie, we see the park, the attractions, big scary animals, park director – all about visitor numbers and profit, the park owner – just interested in people having fun, genetics, big scary dinosaur, carnage, day saved.
So we’re left with a movie which, if you are into your films, or over the age of 30, seems a little pointless. However it was 23 years ago since the original Jurassic Park and 14 years ago since the third film. What that means is there’s a whole host of cinema going public who’ve probably never seen the originals and so, just like in 1993, they’ve been wowed by brilliant CGI dinosaurs in a futuristic park.
The good points? Well the acting is good, the CGI is outstanding, we see a decent dino vs dino ending, although that does feel a bit Godzilla-esq and, obviously, we’re left wide-open for a sequel which was recently announced.
There’s also a lot of nods back to the original films, look out for DNA making an appearance and mention of the original owners and even a piece of Jurassic Park merchandising in a Jurassic World film…which is one to get your head around!
So, in conclusion, if you haven’t seen the originals, then you’ll probably love this as much as we all loved the originals. If you have seen the originals, this doesn’t hurt them as some sequel/reboots have done, but it’s not the leap forward in originality I was expecting either.