The first “Jurassic Park” film was a landmark in cinema. While it didn’t have the most captivating story, the special effects were groundbreaking, combining traditional puppetry and animatronics with then-mindblowing computer-generated effects to create a believable, dinosaur-filled world. With memorable characters and quotes, it made for a movie that some would argue still stands up today.
That sentiment rings true of “Jurassic World” as well. While the plot has many, many holes, the characters are likable, and the dinosaurs are still amazing to watch.
Having not learned the important lesson from the other three “Jurassic Park” films – that being that making genetic monsters for people’s amusement is a bad idea – the higher-ups at the new “Jurassic World” theme park have decided to create a brand new dinosaur. This new creature inevitably breaks loose, and it’s up to famed Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”) to track down this new dino and make sure nobody gets hurt.
Naturally, a plot like this opens a lot of holes. What nation on Earth would let a gigantic corporation build a death monster on a secretive island? Is this corporation really so profit-hungry that it would build a death monster in the first place, after the disasters that they acknowledge happened in the previous movies? There’s a man (admittedly played quite well by Vincent D’Onofrio) who wants to weaponize the dinosaurs at the park, failing to realize that trained men with guns seem to do the job well already.
The custom dinosaur, creatively named the Indominus rex, is able to adapt to whatever the humans or the plot demands, making it feel like a contrived effort to make a consistently scary villain. And while the movie doesn’t fully reveal it until a ways in, its reveal is ultimately underwhelming, as aside from a color change, it doesn’t look that different from the other dinos in the film.
Plus, the product placement is off the hook. There doesn’t seem to be a single spot on the island where there isn’t some big logo. It gets to the point where a character brings the product placement up, but it doesn’t change the feeling that “Jurassic World” feels like a corporate shill.
That being said, though, it is a very entertaining corporate shill. As mentioned before, the characters are likable, and the effects are believable. That, and the finale is the most fun finale of any summer movie since maybe the first “Avengers.” Chris Pratt is as entertaining as he always is, and he has great chemistry with the other characters. And while the film’s dinosaurs aren’t as convincing as the first film (the first film used a combination of practical and digital effects, which helped fool the eyes, while “World” uses digital entirely), they still look really cool.
“Jurassic World” is a mixed bag. The corporate influence is obvious, the plot is filled with more holes than an average mile of Alaskan highway, and the dinosaurs, while cool, don’t look as cool as they used to. But it’s still an incredibly fun ride. Just remember to check your brain in at the door.