Jurassic World (2015)
Stuck in development hell for over a decade & finally brought to life in an effort to pay homage to the 1993 classic instead of rehashing the same formula of the inferior sequels, I gotta say that I’m highly surprised by the way Jurassic World has ripped apart the global box-office records & is still not showing any signs of slowing down. Its nod to Jurassic Park is commendable, its action-filled premise will keep the mainstream viewers entertained & its critical take on the corporate mentality is a welcome element but these are possibly the only positives in a film filled with a predictable storyline, cliche-ridden dialogues, annoying characters, poorly designed dinosaurs, terrible acting & no sense of wonder or amazement.
Set 22 years after the events of the first picture, the story of Jurassic World takes place on the island of Isla Nublar where a fully functional dinosaur theme park has been in operation for 10 years. Overseeing its everyday functioning is Claire Dearing, park’s operations manager, whose nephews arrive on the island for the weekend only to find that their aunt is too busy to spend any quality time with them. However, the park’s attendance has been steadily declining over the years and in an effort to spike public’s interest again & recruit even more sponsors, the team plans to unveil its latest attraction; a genetically modified hybrid. Things soon head for the worse when this new monster breaks loose from its enclosure.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow who made his directional debut with the 2012 indie Safety Not Guaranteed, Jurassic World is his sophomore feature film & it’s a huge responsibility, both in scope & expectations. Envisioned as a sequel & a possible resurrection of the dusted franchise, Trevorrow did come up with an interesting viewpoint that aims to revitalise the series without competing with the legacy of the original yet fails in implementing that idea on the film canvas in a satisfying manner. The screenplay is one of its biggest culprits for neither the plot nor the characters carry any depth, the dialogues are eye-rollingly cheesy, and the story lacks any element of surprise & is way too predictable for it to be any fun.
The technical aspects don’t have anything to offer here other than providing a slightly improved visual encapsulation. The island of Isla Nublar is brought to life in splendid detail yet it happens to have more resemblance to a zoo than a theme park. The set pieces of the original film are also revisited which do evoke slightly nostalgic feelings. Cinematography impresses as well as disappoints at different times for there are plenty of scenes that could’ve worked better from a different viewing angle. Although the colour tones are in check, the camera fails to provide the required ambience to immerse its viewers into its updated world and thanks to its constantly shifting focus, even its action sequences feel dull.
Even if its 124 minutes of runtime sounds reasonable, the picture fails to make every moment count for its events unfold in a hurried manner, devote no time in setting up a suitable atmosphere or create a suspenseful aura which would’ve helped most action sequences make its desired impact in addition to improving the overall experience. Michael Giacchino’s background score fails to immerse the viewers into this narrative for the soundtrack isn’t mesmerising enough. The score also incorporates parts of John Williams’ iconic theme from the original film and it is only when these tracks hit the screen that a deep sense of warmth & intense feeling of nostalgia is evoked. Add to that, the extent to which product placement is infused into most of its sequences is maddening.
Coming to the visual effects, it’s just amazing how inferior the visuals in Jurassic World are in comparison to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park & The Lost World. Even Jurassic Park III seems to have more realistic-looking dinosaurs compared to this latest entry which is never able to find the right balance between CGI & practical effects, and the CGI rendering is poor too. The film’s main antagonist, Indominus Rex, isn’t intimidating at all, the highly vicious raptors are dumbed down to a domesticated species plus their budding relationship with a human is frustrating, and the sequence involving pterosaurs is annoying n comical at the same time. Mosasaurus is probably the only interesting reptile in this sequel but its appearance is very brief. And although the superstar of the first film makes its return, it isn’t the same anymore.
As far as the acting department is concerned, Jurassic World features quite an ensemble in Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan & B.D. Wong, with Wong being the only cast member in a reprising role. Pratt dons his Indiana Jones suit to play the Velociraptor expert & trainer, and does a good job with what he’s given. Dallas Howard is in as the park’s operations manager & overacts pretty well. D’Onofrio plays the head of security operation for InGen & his performance is all over the place, Omar Sy does nothing at all, Khan takes the role of the theme park’s owner & his input is as viable as his works in other Hollywood flicks, Wong’s character of Dr. Henry Wu gets more screen time than before, and last but not the least, the two child actors playing Claire’s nephews are as stupid as one can imagine kids to be.
On an overall scale, Jurassic World turns out to be as disappointing a feature as I expected it to be after checking out its trailers. It was the film’s record-breaking run on box-office that generated my curiosity but in the end, it was no different from the typical mindless popcorn blockbusters that plague the silver screen at this time of the year. I consider Jurassic Park to be the most special film of my life for it started my love affair with cinema and I continue to defend The Lost World: Jurassic Park too for it carries the visual flair & excitement of the original, if not the same charm. Even Jurassic Park III had at least one thrilling sequence but this one absolutely falls flat as neither the human characters nor the dinosaurs are fascinating enough plus its action is hollow, soul is missing, suspense is nil & so is the wonderment. While not entirely a disaster, Jurassic World still doesn’t come close to capturing the unparalleled magic of Spielberg’s timeless masterpiece.