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Jurassic World - DVD Review

Jurassic World

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT may be 22 years since Steven Spielberg first dazzled world-wide audiences with his dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park but Colin Trevorrow’s belated follow-up proves that the genre is far from extinct yet.

As reverential as it can be innovative, Jurassic World is a surprisingly thrilling blockbuster experience that should leave fans roaring with approval.

Largely ignoring the events of Park follow-ups The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, Trevorrow’s film picks up at a time when the original park has now been expanded into a corporate playground for rich families to go and interact with dinosaurs of all types. Hence, there are petting zoos, canoe experiences and a big water attraction – akin to SeaWorld – in which audiences can revel in seeing a dinosaur consume a Great White Shark.

Among the many thousands of tourists visiting the park are brothers Zach and Gray Mitchell (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins), whose aunt Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is head of the park and responsible for its smooth running and continued profit-making.

However, Claire has her work cut out when the park’s newest attraction, a genetic hybrid that can lay claim to being larger and more scary than the T-Rex, escapes captivity and threatens to run amok, turning the park into a slaughter-house for its own amusement.

Claire’s only hope would appear to be dinosaur wrangler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a former flame, who she entrusts with recapturing the rogue dinosaur and protecting her young charges. But with various corporate interests also taking an interest in events for their own gain, time is running out for everyone concerned.

It’s fair to say that Jurassic World seldom strays too far from tried and tested blockbuster formulas or morality lessons (the importance of family, the dangers of corporate greed and playing God, etc) but thanks to some inventive direction from Trevorrow and some engaging central performances the film manages to rise above most of its more obvious flaws.

The set pieces are, for the most part, genuinely exciting. True, they’re more primed for instant thrills and lack the slow-build tension of some of Spielberg’s finest moments, but there’s no denying that certain sequences really do exhilarate, whether it’s the initial escape of the Indominus Rex, the airborne attack of the pterodactyls or the last act showdown in which almost every iconic dinosaur gets thrown at the screen. The effects, too, are every bit as impressive as when Spielberg first made you believe that dinosaurs could walk the Earth again.

The central performances, too, are worth noting, especially from Pratt, who combines the same free-flowing charismatic charm he brought to Guardians of the Galaxy with something a little more ruthless and sceptical. There’s a touch of the young Harrison Ford about him, combined with the cool of McQueen, that makes Pratt a commanding screen presence, so much so that the film really comes alive whenever he’s on-screen.

But Howard is also good value as the park owner, while both Simpkins and Robinson stay the right side of annoying without ever quite managing to pull off the same genre-defining look of wide-eyed terror that Ariana Richards achieved so effectively 22 years ago.

Fun, too, is the way in which Trevorrow pays clever homage to key moments from the first film, thereby playing on the known, while sometimes dropping in neat little subversions that are designed to successfully mis-direct viewers while sticking to the rules of the game (his use of the velociraptors being particularly effective in achieving this).

It means the successes of the film far outweigh the shortcomings, which extend to a lot of the more common blockbuster traits, from product placement to predictable story arcs and even obvious ‘surprises’ (such as what exactly comprises the mystery DNA of the I-Rex). Heck, there’s even a variation on the old ‘superhero smack-down’ as part of the finale… but here done with a much sharper sense of peril for those creatures (man and beast) involved. That, in itself, makes a refreshing change.

Jurassic World must therefore rate as a major success – a lively romp of a film that recaptures the excitement of the original in almost effortless fashion. It’s the type of awe-inspiring thrill-ride that invites repeat viewing.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs 3mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: October 19, 2015