(out of 5)
Just because the monsters get out of hand and tear humans apart is no reason to avoid the moneymaking potential they provide, which is why Richard Attenborough’s failed dream has been resurrected almost 20 years later. Jurassic World is up and running, its attractions allowing people to see giant prehistoric creatures up close but, with costs constantly mounting, causing concern with keeping ticket sales high. This means engineering new creatures cobbled together from the DNA of various animals, overseen by skittish park manager Bryce Dallas Howard who is buckling under the bureaucratic pressure from her bosses and unable to attend to her nephews who have arrived for a vacation on the island. A simple error leads to the new animal project getting loose, requiring the hunky raptor trainer (Chris Pratt) to step in and contain the vicious creature before he ruins the place (and its profits). Naturally, things get out of hand, and what we have after the groundbreaking first film is a great advancement in technological powers that sees the most impressive effects yet and some incredibly stunning (and genuinely terrifying) sequences of mad carnage. What we’re missing and have never recovered from the original film, however, is that delicious sense of wonder: the characters are hardly worth paying attention to (who cares about the kids’ parents getting divorced?) and the plot is bogged down by too many figures and unnecessary complications. It is amazing how a film with such grasps at imagination can be so unimaginative, unable to decide if it wants to indulge in creature-feature contrivances (which the easy to watch if unimportant third film did so well), or if it actually wants to boost its importance with a spider-webbed scenario. More specifically, if the event that leads to disaster (the animal getting out) is a tragic sequence of errors (oops, you opened the gate), there’s no need for the greedy military men (stolen from the Alien movies) and, if one of them is played by Vincent D’Onofrio, we don’t need you to take that much time to point out that he’s a bad guy (and, if he’s a bad guy, turning BD Wong into a shady scientist is an undercooked and useless red herring). That said, when the sequences work, they shine (pterodactyls!), and it’s worth watching for the parts that do.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Cinematography by John Schwartzman
Music by Michael Giacchino
Production Design by Ed Verreaux
Film Editing by Kevin Stitt