Angharad Welsh reviews the latest instalment in the dinosaur franchise
I wanted to love Jurassic World, I really did. I squealed with excitement every time I saw a trailer or heard a new piece of news over the last eight months, giddy as hell over the resurrection of one of my favourite franchises ever.
But therein lies the problem. Jurassic World isn’t necessarily a bad film and I’ve struggled to put my finger on why I came out of the cinema not feeling quite right about it. Likely my own expectations were too high. How could they not be after twenty-two years since the first film blew my tiny mind?
The nightmares back then were worth it to think I may get to see a real life dinosaur in the future thanks to ‘science’. But science is the enemy in Jurassic World, not the dream John Hammond had hoped for. Once the park was a viable success the scientists behind the ‘assets’ were so caught up in what they could do that they never bothered to wonder if they should. The price they pay for that moral dilemma is a genetic hybrid known as Indominus Rex – and yes it’s as terrifying as the name suggests – a new attraction to boost dwindling visitor numbers.
Yeah right, like ten years is long enough for people to get bored of the normal dinosaurs. Or as Chris Pratt puts it ‘dinosaurs, wow enough’.
Pratt is every bit as delicious as Owen, raptor wrangler and all-round badass, and rocks a leather waistcoat like it’s nobody’s business. Despite his top billing and obvious talent, his character feels a little thin on substance and some lazy scriptwriting means he’s never quite as cool, funny or likeable as he’s supposed to be.
Claire, the park’s operations manager played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is a cookie cutter character from a time when women who were focused on their jobs were stone cold bitches. Even her own sister shames her on a call for not having children, pushing ‘when’ as a response to Claire’s ‘if’ whilst at a divorce lawyer’s office. Nice.
The best relationship the film explores is between Claire’s nephews Zach and Gray and it’s touching to see them come together when the odds are stacked against them, particularly when they see the grotesquely OTT death of Claire’s PA who’s acting as babysitter for the afternoon. You’ll wonder what she did so wrong to deserve it – perhaps being the token Brit tipped the balance against her,we’ll never know.
Major kudos to Dallas Howard though who spent the entire film running across marsh, jungle, concrete and away from a T. Rex in heels without popping an ankle. That takes some doing.
Whilst Jurassic Park isn’t known for its accurate portrayal of dinosaurs, something Dr Henry Wu (remember him from the first films?!) points out to his billionaire boss, the final sequence goes beyond the ridiculous, but may be that’s because I’m not eight years old anymore.
The film doesn’t feel like it fits the first three, and maybe that’s a good thing. There’s enough good in it for it to do well at the Box Office but for whatever reason it just didn’t do it for me as much as I had hoped it would. That said it will probably win a place on my DVD shelf when it comes out, if only to sit alongside the first three films, and will definitely warrant another watch.