Most of you would have seen in the run up to this summer, that the newly renewed and upgraded dino adventure/disaster franchise was to return to our cinemas on June 12th in a fourth installment. Originally imagined by its creator, author Michael Crichton (read the book by the way - it's really good), I’m sure we can all remember the classic that was the first film, Jurassic Park, another of Steven Spielberg’s incomparable classics. In this latest film the prehistoric animals have once again broken free of their cages and are running amok.
Now this fourth edition doesn’t have an equivalent “chaotician” in Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm, or the obvious references to Oppenheimer as in the first film; but it does present us with a wonderfully enjoyable summer hit. As always it is fun, exhilarating and completely ridiculous. It also brings a new twist. In this future park, successfully open to the public for some time, the dinosaurs have become somewhat commonplace, and so as with any theme park in the real world, Jurassic World must bring new attractions to the forefront to keep the visitors coming through the door and the shareholders happy.
Another new scary twist is the idea of weaponising the scary beasts; the plot headed by the military branch of InGen, the owners of the park. Furthermore, as with the original park, all of the creatures are female in an attempt to control them.
The film is directed by Colin Trevorrow, but don’t worry, with Spielberg on board as executive producer it has been kept in line. The sight of frantic crowds running and screaming as pterodactyls fly overhead gives you a hint of the manic beach shots from Jaws.
So getting back to the idea of the park and its attractions now being commonplace. The park has been open for some time, and despite the not too good a history for the parks predecessor, it is doing rather well. It certainly seems to be drawing the crowds over to the Costa Rican island at a steady rate. It is here, as I mentioned, that the parks overseers feel the need for a new attraction to add some fire to a somewhat maybe subsiding excitement for the park, and boost profits. This, the need for something bigger, better, faster, scarier, deadlier, is what leads to the main narrative of the film.
The Jurassic World manager is an uptight career woman called Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and although the park is a big concern she is more worried about having to babysit her two nephews. Her other worry is this new “attraction” the Jurassic World scientists have cooked up in the lab... Here steps forward the genetically modified mega dino, which they have created in secret. Named the Indominous Rex, the brainchild of our friendly scientist (or so we thought), from the original park, Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong). This new mega dino is kept in an enclosed pen, alone, after it killed and ate its sibling earlier on. There is also an ever-present sinister military consultant by the name of Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) standing by for his chance to take over and use the creatures of the park for his own purposes.
I’d just like to point a slight flaw in this idea, in that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are already genetically modified. The dinosaurs were brought to life by splicing the prehistoric DNA with frog DNA in order to allow them to exist in our modern age, as well as giving them the anti bodies to survive today's diseases. So really this isn’t the first genetically modified dino, but it is the first they’ve made themselves with self-defined characteristics.
As you may have guessed, these people have no idea as to how intelligent and aggressive their new pet is, and have no idea as to whether the pen they have it living in will keep it at bay.
The film also gives us a little bit of sexual tension, with some evident chemistry between Claire and fellow employee, Owen (Chris Pratt), an Indiana Jones-esque raptor wrangler. He is also a bit of a dino version of an animal whisperer, having trained his raptors to perform to his commands. The disaster that strikes the park and the need to rescue Claire’s nephews does however lead to a rekindling of their romance.
Owen is old fashioned. He wears a leather waistcoat, lives in a caravan and rides a motorbike. He is the rough outdoorsy type of guy. Chris Pratt is exceptional as Owen. He is easy going, relaxed, fun and has a sense of humour. Meanwhile it is Howard who brings the clean cut composed character with a hint of sass in the form of Claire. Overall, Owen, Claire, Claire’s nephews, the Indominous Rex, and the rollercoaster of a disaster plot make a hell of a film.
Whilst it of course is not the classic original we all love and stick on the telly whenever Film 4 or ITV schedule a re-run, it is in its own right a fun and exhilarating experience. It certainly did extremely well at the box office on its opening weekend.
It is worth watching out for more work by director, Colin Trevorrow, who will be working on a Jurassic World sequel and also Star Wars episode 9.