If you’d asked the multiplex hoards a few years back whether they’d like the ol’ Raptor-pack back for some gallivanting round Isla Nublar, you’d bet they’d have burst into side-splitting laughter. What with The Dark Knight trilogy, MARVEL’s unyielding year-on-year dominance and James Bond‘s latest purple patch, there seemed little need for prehistoric, blockbuster cavorting of the Jurassic-kind. However, for some intangible reason, an undeniable jubilation captures you as you take your seat in the theatre. All the doubts and concerns fall away, because this – for many – is the franchise that tumefied your imagination and ensured you fell in love with big, bold event cinema.
Nevertheless it’s a big ask for director Colin Trevorrow and team to awaken a 20-odd year-old fossil of a franchise and cement it’s cinematic relevance with modernity and pizazz. Surprisingly, for the most part it’s been accomplished. Chris Pratt asserts global authority over leading-man status with a modestly charismatic and Harrison Ford-esque performance as Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady. Bryce Dallas Howard surprises with her strong, entrancing turn as park director Claire Dearing. Bit parts taken by Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan and Jake Johnson do well to fill out the island’s cast, and both Dallas Howard’s youthful nephews (played by Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) effortlessly propel the adventure forwards.
Whilst you could bemoan the derivative and straightforward narrative – ‘oh, really? another dinosaur’s escaped that puts the island’s inhabitants at risk and simultaneously proves that creatures, whether extinct or not, shouldn’t live in captivity’ – it is this simplicity that ensures your experience is pure, unadulterated escapism. With little time wasted on exposition, the audience are thrust straight into the Jurassic World with care-free bombast. A thrill ride is ensured with awesome set pieces that are neatly staged throughout. The level of SFX may be lacking in comparison to some of Jurassic’s peers, but you can’t deny the irresistible combination of those dinosaurs shot with Spielberg-ian ’90s joy and that John Williams‘ score.
Trevorrow has done a fine job of steering the reboot into noteworthy existence, but you do feel that those involved believed they were too indebted to the original to make their own mark on the franchise. Furthermore, this is unapologetically made for kids, and adults will lament being less accommodated for. Whilst it doesn’t blow its audience completely out of the water, they are left with a nostalgic glee and bonafide innocence that is unmatchable in the current cinematic climate. You’ll almost certainly need to be besotted with the original in order to fully extract the seminal joy on offer here.