I just got back home from watching Jurassic World. My body and mind didn’t know how to process all the fun and pure movie magic that I was experiencing, so I was reduced to a paralyzed state on the verge of tears with a huge grin plastered across my bearded brown face.
Growing up in the 90s, dinosaurs were a huge part of my life. Jurassic Park was the first movie I actually begged my mom to take me to see in theaters multiple times. Back in those days we saw a movie in theaters once and if we wanted to see it again, we had to wait the grueling six or so months it took to come out on VHS. I had dinosaur toys, posters, and even a subscription to the awesome Dinosaurs! monthly magazine that came with a new glow-in-the-dark T-rex skeleton piece in each issue; later issues came with plastic t-rex “skin” that snapped together over the skeleton, but we all knew the skeleton was way cooler on its own.
As the years passed, public interest in dinosaurs waned and the Jurassic Park movies became incrementally shittier. When Jurassic World was announced, I was immediately skeptical. When the first trailer was revealed and the entire Internet wouldn’t shut up about how awesome it looked, I was just thinking quietly to myself about how it didn’t really look like anything special.
This movie is fucking special.
While the beginning is a bit wobbly as it struggles to find its footing and there was entirely too much blatant product placement for my liking, things quickly begin to escalate from “Oh, Hollywood…” to “Oh shit!” when we’re introduced Chris Pratt‘s character, and the Indominus Rex. Pratt plays Owen Grady, a sort of Raptor Whisperer who has trained the deadly creatures to ignore their predatory instincts and obey his commands. The genetically modified Indominus Rex (which I have a strong theory about its genetic makeup which you can read here) is one of the best movie monsters since Jaws and I really wish the movie would have been longer just so that I could watch it wreak even more havoc.
The premise is stupid simple, but works perfectly as a set-up for an epic popcorn flick: In order for Jurassic World to remain appealing to investors and guests, the park scientists have created their own hybrid dinosaur using a cocktail of DNA from other creatures. It’s basically a way bigger version of a t-rex that’s really smart and has camouflage. As one might expect from a film set in the Jurassic Park universe, things go horribly wrong. To quote the great Jeff Goldblum in his role as Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park, “Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and um, screaming.”
As if the whole idea of a new Jurassic flick weren’t enough of a 90’s throwback, we also get a family sub-plot about these two brothers whose parents are secretly getting divorced so they send their sons to Jurassic World to stay with their aunt who is the Park Operations Manager played by the sultry Bryce Dallas Howard. Like most family films in the 80s and 90s that had some sort of divorce theme going on, it’s not something that ever gets drawn out too long. It’s pulled off in a very Spielburgian fashion that helps deepen character relationships and make you actually give a toot about the people on screen.
But all of the above pales in comparison to the level of pure, magical fun that Jurassic World manages to achieve. Here’s a brief rundown of just a few highlights that had me grinning like a complete idiot so hard that my face was hurting well before the third act.
- Chris Pratt on a motorcycle speeding through the jungle with a pack of raptors as they hunt a giant dinosaur together.
- Hundreds of people running for their lives as flying dinosaurs lift them up into the air and tear them to pieces.
- Every time the Indominus Rex did anything.
- Vincent D’Onofrio as a scumbag bad guy trying to weaponize dinosaurs for the military because he’s an idiot.
- All the throwbacks to the first film like seeing leftover ruins of Jurassic Park along with all the old props and vehicles. Mr. DNA even makes a brief cameo!
The action is just so well-choreographed and I can honestly say that I’ve never had as much fun watching countless innocent people get slaughtered in a film. And I don’t even want to spoil the amazing battle that happens at the end, but I’m totally kind of going to: [SPOILER] a velociraptor climbs onto the back of a tyrannosaurus in what can only be described as one of the greatest on-screen tag team moves of all time.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I ever left a theater feeling so completely satisfied. Jurassic World had everything you could want in a movie: sexy leads, action, suspense, solid jokes, romance that never gets overly mushy, intense chases, and muthaflippin’ dinosaurs! I hate to use a such a hyperbolic line, but this really is why you go to the movies!
Also, I now ship Vincent D’Onnofrio’s character and the raptors and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. He just wanted to love them and for them to love him back!
Okay, so that about wraps it up for my review which was really just me gushing incoherently. Sorry about that, but not really. I highly urge you to go see it in IMAX 3D asap, then come back and leave a comment letting us know what you thought!
- Dinosaurs you've seen doing things you've never seen them do, like be in biker gangs.
- So much fan service! Dinosaurs, explosions, Bryce Dallas Howard all sexy and sweaty with her clothes half torn off, Bryce Dallas Howard's glistening décolletage. You get the picture.
- Solid throwbacks to the older films in the series.
- Severe lack of Jeff Goldblum.