Going into Jurassic World, you only need to know one thing, it’s not as good as the original. But no sequel to Jurassic Park could ever be as good, because it was such a cinematic revelation at the time that it made you believe that dinosaurs could be real, so using it as a yard stick is unfair.
Having said that, it is the best sequel in the series in the series by far. Granted, that’s not saying much, but if you consider that Spielberg himself directed one of those sequels, that should perk your ears up a bit.
Director Colin Trevorrow captures some of the magic of Jurassic Park without creating a retread of the original film. While the marketing seems to make out Chris Pratt’s Owen as the main character of the piece, it’s actually Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire who gets much of the character development. Both actors do well with their roles, and I was surprised that Pratt didn’t just reprise his performance as Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy, copy/pasting it into this film.
Even the kids played by Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3) and Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer) were surprisingly not annoying, which tends to be a problem in the Jurassic Park films. But it’s control room worker Lowery, as played by Jake Johnson (New Girl), who steals the movie, giving a voice to the cynical audience members who hate the idea of a Jurassic Park reboot, going as far as wearing an eBay-bought T-shirt from the original park. The character is incredibly tongue-in-cheek, but adds quite a bit of levity to the control room scenes.
But you don’t watch a Jurassic Park film for its character drama, you watch it for the thrilling action, and Trevorrow delivers that in spades. The set pieces in Jurassic World are incredibly tense, and remind me of the big moments from the original, without executing the same action.
I was mostly worried about coming into this film, because of the Indominus Rex hybrid, and the Velociraptor training aspect, but both are well handled. You still don’t mess with a Raptor, and they are still scary as all hell, even when they’re on your side.
Any of the problems the film has, which includes clunky dialogue, and the characters still tend to be a bit two dimensional, are swept away by the fact that Jurassic World has managed to recapture some of the fondness for the original. There’s also enough seeded in this film for a sequel, without making the film feel like it ended on a cliffhanger. It’s a complete story, but leaves a bit unresolved for future storytelling.