By Steve Stebbing
One of my favorite cinema memories is sitting in theaters to watch Jurassic Park way back in 1993. It’s a benchmark in movie excitement and a level I have consistently held highly anticipatedmovies to. Now, of course there have been movies to come along in that 22 year stretch to give me that same feeling of awe that Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur epic gave me but not another Jurassic movie. So when it was announced that Universal would finally be going ahead with another installment in the series I had just as much trepidation as I had excitement.
The first thing that struck me as intriguing was when the studio placed director Colin Trevorrow at the helm for this absolutely giant sequel. It’s a lot to wrap your head around for a guy who had only put out one feature, the very quirky Safety Not Guaranteed. Then Trevorrow makes the absolute money choice and casts the internet’s boyfriend Chris Pratt as his lead. It only looks like a gamble because our “Star Lord” has only one film under his belt as a lead, though that film was huge at the box office last year. Would audiences flock to him dealing with dinosaur problems? Not a lofty wager in my opinion but I’m sure some execs were sweating.
The story is set 22 years after the original Isla Nublar incident and now, thanks to the company Masrani Global and it’s CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), the park is now the fully functional Jurassic World. The film starts with brothers Grey and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) being sent to the island by their mother (Judy Greer) to spend time with their career driven aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park’s operation manager. She’s supposed to be with the boy constantly but instead leaves them with her assistant because she is occupied by some major dealings.
The park has been seeing some dips in attendance and in an effort to bolster up a new attraction the scientists have engineered a new monster to scare the masses, the Indominus Rex. Claire shows Masrani this new beast, but the billionaire is a bit wary. He requests that his velociraptor trainer and expert Owen Grady takes a look at it to give his approval.
Enter Chris Pratt as Grady who, in his first appearance on screen, seems to have a good handle on interacting with four raptors he’s named Blue, Delta, Charlie and Echo. He’s approached by InGen security head Vic Hoskins who wants to use the raptors to fight wars and turn them globally profitable. Very quick and simple hero to villain set up. Grady tells him off and later is sent by Claire to the Indominus Rex pen to check it out. Grady is very concerned about this new creation and warns that it should be shut down.
His concerns are ignored to disastrous consequences. This Indominus Rex is unlike any created before it. A hybrid of Tyrannosaurus Rex and unknown other animals (at least in the beginning), this big bad dinosaur is everything we needed in an intimidating monster. It tricks Grady into unwittingly releasing it onto the island, making a short and brutal snack of two of the parks employees in the process and proceeds to wreck havoc on the island in its movement towards the main area of the park.
Back to our two young brothers: they decide to go off trail in one of the tour vehicles (like impressionable youths do) and end up putting themselves right into the path of the rampaging beast who is gleefully (it seems) killing any living thing it can run down. Claire begs Grady to help her save the boys after the horrifying realization they’re in real danger. What ensues is some of the most satisfying adventure action until an absolutely awesome climax. This film does not disappoint at all.
As a new dinosaur the filmmakers totally succeed with Indominus Rex. To return to this franchise after more than twenty years and bring to life a truly terrifying monster is a fantastic feat. It just adds to the great thrill ride this movie is. You really feel that Trevorrow and company wanted to bring a feeling of extreme exhilaration and make you jump out of your seat multiple times along the way. This film definitely feels massive in scope and a completely deserving sequel to the film that started it all. A weak spot is the unnecessary romantic subplot, but name me six action films with successful romantic subplots.
Really, I only missed Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm but really, who doesn’t? Hahahrawrrahaha! Yes, a direct quote from the stuttering chaos theorist himself.
Do I see this being a reboot in which we’ll see future Jurassic films? I don’t think it’s necessary to continue down this path but with the money the film is already generating it’s probably easy to say that Universal will get those dollar signs in their eyes and start developing the next one. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.
I have to bill this film as the must see movie of the summer. I clearly remember going to see Jurassic Park multiple times in theaters and this film has me feeling the same way. The young Stevil inside me laughed, gasped and cheered throughout the film, perched on the edge of my seat. It made me completely happy with the blockbuster generating machine of Hollywood, especially after the last couple weeks of mediocre films. I loved this film so much and, if you dig a great action packed adventure film, I’m sure you will too. I know this is grand sounding but I give this film a five out of five.