“Jurassic World” Uses DNA of Beloved Original to Bring a Generic Blockbuster to Life

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Chris Pratt in Jurassic World. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick ©2015 Universal Pictures

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]espite being a love letter to the original, “Jurassic World” suffers the fate of being a by-the-numbers summer blockbuster. There is a scene about halfway through the movie where two boys (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) come across the ruins of the original Jurassic Park. Inside they find old Jeep Wranglers Laura Dern fled in from the T. Rex and even the banner from one of the final shots of the movie is lying strewn around the ground covered in debris. It’s a loving tribute and all, but I feel as if this film would have succeeded more if it respected Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster, rather than tried to live up to it.

The plot of the film was even a great way to make it stand out on its own. Twenty-two years after the disastrous soft open of the original park, Jurassic World is now a functioning attraction with thousands of visitors each day. Tourists are able to ride baby triceratops and even witness a T. Rex eat its lunch without the fear of it escaping. But people are tired of dinosaurs and attendance seems to be dropping. Because of today’s culture being bored by freaking dinosaurs for crying out loud, head honcho Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) decided to create a new attraction, the Indominus Rex, in order to shock some life back into the park.

The cash grab of the new attraction, much like the movie, does not sit well with Raptor’s handler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who is worried that a new species of animal that has been raised in captivity and has no social skills will be able to roam freely in the park. Owen and Claire’s relationship in the film somewhat mimics John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) and Dr. Ian Malcom’s (Jeff Goldblum) ideological mindsets about the park from the original film. Claire is all about the corporate bottom line and comes across like a human press release, while Owen feels that disrupting nature will not sit well with the park’s ecosystem. But those petty differences must be set aside as they have to work together to find Claire’s missing nephews and deal with the escape of the Indominus Rex.

The film straddles the line of being a serious action film and one that is trying to play on those clichés. Sure, it is your standard “run away from a big bad guy” type of action film, but director Colin Trevorrow does inject some twists into that standard premise, such as a sequence with a flock of pterodactyls that terrorize the park. The sense of danger and intimacy of the characters is what made the original so engrossing. There were very few times in this picture that I felt terrified of the dino attacks and even some of the character’s demises left me shrugging in my chair.

There are definitely a few scenes that gave me a sense of wonder, but for the most part it was just standard fare. When Claire describes why she created a new dinosaur, she explains to a group of investors that park patrons are getting bored and the “consumers want them louder, bigger, more teeth.” This line perfectly encompasses the movie; it is on a bigger scale than its predecessor but the larger features don’t give it enough life.

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