features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as
originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and
visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new
attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires
On Sunday afternoon just gone, I took up terrestrial television’s very kind and timely offer of a replay of Jurassic Park. Wistful exuberance of a more innocent time sprang forth and I gently smiled as Dickie Attenborough did his enthusiastic and infectious jolly thing, watched in now anticipatory horror as Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum mostly stared agog as I too sat open-mouthed, yet again, at the sheer wondrous cinematic splendour that Spielberg afforded us all. And as I watched, I still remembered the very first time, in that darkened theatre all those years ago, being completely blown away by the experience. This bar was set so very, very high.
And like it or not, once John Williams’ score kicked in again here, only minutes into what promised to be something just as wonderful, I got shivers, chills and tingles all over again. Next to The Imperial March, there is little in the world of cinema to rouse yours truly into utter rapture. So, no pressure then…
And perhaps the greatest back-handed praise I can hope to heap on Jurassic World is that it does practically nothing original. This may initially sound like little more than attention-seeking negativity, given both the critical and audience approval thus far, but if you ever wanted an example of avoiding an attempt of improving on something that was already perfect, then this is probably it. Colin Trevorrow seems acutely aware of this and thankfully, he seems more than capable of not only admitting as much, but also he has no qualms about proving the theory on screen for a hungry new generation of moviegoers that may not have has that same magical experience as the rest of us, a couple of decades earlier.
This, of course, does not mean that this effort is just as perfect. It has enough flaws to make you stop and think about the time that has passed between the original movie and the one that we are presented with here. Doubtless, this is an incredibly entertaining blockbuster that deserves many of the plaudits that have been hurled in its direction, but it too has its problems. There are plotholes aplenty and in a film that tosses aside realism completely, it does little to make up for this gorging fantasy panorama with maybe a more convincing script or believable, more rounded characters.
A lot of what negative reaction there has been has alluded to Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, the ballsy, powerful and sexy businesswoman who therefore apparently has to be suitably terrible looking after children, who still insists, despite the ensuing chaos, to run in high heels.The accidental (or careless, you decide) misogyny, in fact, is as prevalent here as any big movie you will see this year and some may not take too kindly to that fact. If you can overlook it, then you will most likely enjoy the film much more.
Not to take anything away from the spectacle, however, this movie has taken more money in a shorter space of time than anything that has come before it. And to be fair, this is with good reason. There is buckets and buckets of action and adventure crammed into the film, the cgi looks great and the tension, scares, moments of breath-holding and fighting dinosaur set-pieces are all exactly what you would expect and these elements are just as good as those witnessed all those years ago. It’s just a shame that we haven’t moved on because despite the oodles of fun, there really isn’t much here to mark the difference between this and the original, least of all two decades of female empowerment.