Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World - Movie Review

Jurassic World, directed by Colin Trevorrow and based on the original story created by Michael Crichton, is the latest entry in one of the biggest franchises in movie history. The features a star studded cast including Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong, Judy Greer, Lauren Lapkus, and Katie McGrath.

The Story:
Two decades after disaster struck on the original site of John Hammond's would be dinosaur theme park, the re-imagined Jurassic World destination has seen unprecedented success thanks to continued innovation and advanced security measures. Park manager Claire (Howard) has been under pressure to keep attendance numbers up by raising the wow factor of the park while a man behind the scenes named Hoskins (D'Onofrio) is working within the company to achieve a more military based goal. Even with different ideals and agendas, the two corporate employees seem to be on the same path of creating bigger and more dangerous dinosaurs. When former navy soldier and resident dinosaur expert Owen (Pratt) is brought in to consult, he exposes some weaknesses to the current business model just as an unexpected breach in security sets the park on a very familiar path.

The Review:
The number one reason I love watching movies in a theater is for that larger than life, shared experience which will never be duplicated by any home theater system. Ever. There is a sense of wonder and excitement that you get from taking your seat and anticipating the kind of wondrous tale that will be unfolding in front of you just as soon as the lights go dim. Jurassic World is a prime example of what happens when a movie not only matches, but blows away any expectation I might have had going in and I was more than happy with the result. There were so many moments throughout the film where my friend and I were just in awe of the spectacle laid out before us and marveled at how the film makers had done such a great job of capturing that classic sense of adventure we were hoping for.

The one film Colin Trevorrow had been responsible for prior to Jurassic World was a fun little science fiction film called Safety Not Guaranteed. While entertaining, you would never think that his first effort might end up as a stepping stone to such a huge franchise like this, but Trevorrow shows he absolutely has what it takes to enter the world of monsters, monster budgets, and monster expectations. Of the three sequels, this one does the best job of capturing the same magic and wonder that made the original such a smashing success and I would really like to see what Trevorrow could do as the story moves forward.

From early screenings to opening night reactions, I have heard a lot of nit picking and dissecting of plot details, implausible scenarios, and even questioning of a woman's ability to successfully run away from a T-Rex while wearing some fancy high heeled shoes. My response to all of these criticisms is simply this: Please remember that you are watching a movie ultimately meant for kids about dinosaurs being brought back from extinction and the fantastic adventure that inevitably unfolds.

I really could not have cared less about a few minor plot holes (How did that motorcycle get there?) or why that CGI dinosaur didn't look absolutely 100% life like in every single way (because we clearly know what dinosaurs actually look like). I'm simply here to have a great time watching a genuinely fun movie, the kind that lets me think back to nights at the local drive in theater watching movies with my blanket and a big bucket of popcorn. Oh, and personally, I believe Claire could definitely run in those heels. She is a more than capable woman and even has the ability to transform a formal business type shirt into jungle appropriate attire with just a few minor adjustments. Okay, moving on.

If Chris Pratt hadn't done a good enough job establishing himself as a major Hollywood star in Guardians of the Galaxy then this movie will remove any and all doubt you may have had. He lives and breathes leading man (the ladies sitting next to me were constantly swooning) and yet he manages to maintain a sort of dorky realism that makes him even more likable if that's possible. I have been a fan of Bryce Dallas Howard for a long time (this is where I get to swoon) and I'm really glad to see her in a major role as part of a blockbuster franchise. Both Pratt and Howard were perfect choices for the roles they play and there was a solid chemistry between them that allowed for some really fun moments of playful interaction. Vincent D'Onofrio and Irrfan Khan are always good in anything they do and their performances in this movie do nothing to change that.

The Verdict:
If you couldn't tell already, I loved this movie. It's rare when a super mega blockbuster franchise sequel has the ability to capture an audience the way Jurassic World does and I honestly can't wait to see it again. My first viewing was in 3D which looked really good although it was more about depth than stuff jumping out of the screen at you so I'd say it's a fun added feature but not mandatory by any means. I have not seen the movie in IMAX although I do plan on checking it out at some point so stay tuned for an update.


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