Jurassic World’s early box office numbers seem to suggest it’s going to be a big hit for Universal (one of many for the year). Big hits mean bigger sequels, but I honestly don’t know what they would be able to do. I just can’t believe that in the universe of Jurassic Park there’s still one guy who thinks bringing dinosaurs back to life is a good idea. Can I believe that they bring extinct animals back to life? Of course. Can I believe that anyone still wants to? No, no I cannot.
If you’re unfamiliar with Jurassic Park the basic premise is as follows: “Let’s make dinosaurs, what’s the worst that could happen?” Then the worst happens. Jurassic World takes that premise, and stretches it like Mike Teavee at the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The tagline for the movie is a pretty good indicator of what separates World from Park; this time “the park is open”. But is the park worth visiting? Obviously, literally speaking, no (the park in question has a troubled history when it comes to visitor safety). Figuratively however… let’s get into it.
While I consider the original Jurassic Park to be a near perfect movie, and enjoy the other sequels much more than most, they all suffer from a similar problem; a slow start. Jurassic World is no different. Things don’t start moving until about 45 minutes in. Some kids go tour the park, Chris Pratt trains some rather tame raptors, and a big dinosaur hides in some trees. Don’t get me wrong, dinosaurs are cool, but the first half of the movie sort of feels like watching someone taking a trip to a very cool zoo. Simon and Garfunkel may love that, but I want some chaos.
Thankfully, the movie delivers the chaos. My film-going partner brought up how the last few horror films we’d seen hadn’t killed anyone, thus making them feel a little low-stakes. This is a problem Jurassic World doesn’t share. These dinosaurs are hungry, and when they get loose, you really feel like the heroes of the film are in peril. Not to say Jurassic World is a horror movie; the Jurassic films have all walked a thin line between the horror/disaster/action genres, and World walks the line deftly. Some movies suffer in the third act, but Jurassic World’s third act is by far its best. You definitely leave the theater feeling excited and satisfied.
The movie is also very meta. A prime motivator of the park is that dinosaurs aren’t cool enough for today’s audiences, and that the ante must be upped. I see this as a metaphor for the film itself, Jurassic Park being the original dinosaur and Jurassic World being the upped ante. Unfortunately, and through no fault of it’s own, nothing quite matches the thrill you get when you first see a dinosaur, or when you first see Jurassic Park. But in a summer full of reboots that aren’t quite sequels, remakes that aren’t quite reboots, and whatever Terminator: Genysisis is, Jurassic World succeeds in keeping the audience entertained while holding on to what made the original so special.
Quick Review:Jurassic World suffers from a bit of a slow start, but once it gets going it’s an attraction that’s definitely worth the wait.