THERE IS a scene in the beginning of Jurassic Park, when we go through the huge iconic gates and the John Williams score kicks in, and if the hairs on the back of your neck don't stand up, I’m afraid, we can never be friends.
When Jurassic Park came out in 1993 it was pretty much my favourite movie ever. I collected the magazines (to build that big plastic T-rex, remember that? ) and the action figures. It really was a seminal event in my life and one of the movies brought about my love of cinema.
Despite the first movie being one of my all time favourites, the two follow ups in the 1990s did leave a rather bad taste in my mouth and now comes Jurassic World, the sequel no one was asking for. I was not really excited for this, especially after the CGI heavy, generic trailer, came out.
But Jurassic World has already broken the record for biggest opening weekend in box office history - half a billion dollars in four days. Not only that, but it actually has had some favourable reviews. The film also differs from the original in that this time the park has been opened and was a success. After a few years though, the consumers have become familiar and even bored of the dinos so attendance has dwindled. They want something bigger, scarier, and with more teeth. So through genetic engineering they have created a new dinosaur, the ridiculous and hilariously named Indominus Rex.
It is almost like the film-makers are trying to tell us something about modern cinema... and then doing exactly what they it is they are complaining about - blaming the audience for their own shortcomings: “All you people want is bigger, badder, and more teeth”. If film-makers want to make a point about modern Hollywood, show us some options, do not just say: 'Isn’t it awful? Well here’s some more awful'.
The human element is Owen (Chris Pratt ), an ex-Navy man and animal/dinosaur lover who is training the dinos like a seaworld trainer trains dolphins and orcas. He is not impressed by the park's plans to create new dinosaurs and warns park director Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard ) that this will not end well. While all this is going on Claire’s nephews are arriving in the park for a visit and decide to go for some off road exploring. Indominus Rex is not long for his cage and when he escapes all hell breaks lose. Claire enlists Owen to help find her nephews and thus begins the adventure.
All this happens within the first 30 minutes. What the makers of Jurassic Park forget is that the best part of Jurassic Park is the first hour, from Richard Attenborough explaining the park and the science behind it, to the great debates about the ethics of de-extention and chaos theory. Maybe the price of CGI and the limitation of animatronics are what lead to a character heavy blockbuster, but that is why the original remains a beloved classic.
The script for Jurassic World, with rumours of hundreds of rewrites and even rows over the writing credits, is a complete mess. Chris Pratt said on an interview with the BBC last week he was told by the director not to be funny. Why are you hiring him and telling him not to be funny? This is preventing the film from being as good as it could have been. He just feels flat compared to his usual charismatic self and his whole involvement is a real let down.
Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire (pictured above ) is just ridiculous. As soon as the dinosaurs start killing people, she really needs to take off the high heels and put on some flats. First years on a night out during RAG week are better prepared for a tropical Island than she is. The two young kids suffer from being compared to the two kids from the original film who are incredible at appearing absolutely terrified throughout. The kids in Jurassic World are stuck in their headphones and smartphones and aside from a really strange, out of place, scene where the younger one shares his fears about their parents getting a divorce, they have very little personality.
Initially I was enthusiastic about the film, but as the nostalgia fades, Jurassic World comes across more as a heavy mis-step that could have been so much better. It is by no means the worst summer blockbuster, but it falls well below the standard set by the 1993 original. There is a great line from Jeff Goldblum in the first Jurassic Park which sums it all up: “They were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think whether they should.”