Some are going to find the new ‘Jurassic World’ to be a bit of a step down from its predecessor. I guess I can count myself as one of them. The film is a bit less nostalgic. The wonder of the dinosaurs is largely removed. There is really only one truly spectacular set piece and it was mostly in the trailer. The unforgettable score has almost been forgotten. And the plot seems to forget that it needs to even exist for most of the third act.
However, there are enough good things in this movie to mostly make up for the problems. First, the leads are wonderful! Pratt and Howard are really a team worth spending time with. Although, I’m truly hoping the next movie gives them a bit more time to develop as characters. There is a chemistry between them that is worth exploring a bit further and a bit more romantically, but this movie has no time for it. Sadly, the supporting cast aren’t as great (outside James Cromwell in the token John Hammond role), but they get the job done.
Second, the action in the film is exciting and the script allows for a variation in its deliver from the first half to the second. The first half being all about spectacle, large dinosaurs, along with exploding volcanoes, and the second being predominantly a haunted house with raptors. The first half is better than the second and that’s part of the problem with the film, but the horror elements are fantastically executed by director Bayona and I cannot argue that I wasn’t on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Lastly, there is quite a bit of heart in this film. Bayona is a director who took a note out of Spielberg’s art of manipulation handbook years ago and has always done done it justice. This film is no different, other than the fact that he is actually following up a Spielberg movie this time around. There are sequences of raw emotion from actors that will move you and an image of the fallen park that might bring devoted fans to tears.
I could bust out a synopsis for the movie, but if you’ve read the title or seen the trailer then you know that the island is going down and the bad guys want the dinosaurs to sell on the open market. Owen (Pratt) and Claire (Howard) are lured there under false pretenses and when they find out what’s going on they work to save the dinosaurs. Well, until a special raptor breaks loose and chases them around a lot. There are other bits and a special little girl , but that’s the gist of the whole thing.
If you’ve loved ‘Jurassic’ in the past then chances are you will enjoy this movie, but it’s not going to be one of your favorites. It feels too much like a bridge to bigger sequel than the bigger sequel you might have been hoping for. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. It’s just somewhere between ‘The Lost World’ and ‘Jurassic Park lll’ kind of entertaining, when we were hoping for ‘Jurassic Park’.