Friday, 12 June 2015

Review: Jurassic World

Honestly, I went in the cinema with lowered expectations. This is due to the overexposure of the marketing campaign I saw everywhere, on social media, news, posters and trailers, I felt like I've seen too much of Jurassic World, and the best part are all shown in the trailers. I also lowered the expectations because the original Jurassic Park is a milestone in cinema. In the end, overexposure or not, I was entertained, Jurassic World has a decent enough plot and not be like another Jurassic Park III where dinosaurs exist just to eat humans.

Set 22 years after the events of the original Jurassic Park, the island is now a full-fledged theme park with actual attractions and is popular with the tourists. With the increasing operating cost, the park's owner, Masrani Corporation, wants to create a new dinosaur to attract a larger number of visitors, without thinking of the consequences.

Colin Trevorrow, the director of Jurassic World, did a wonderful job on recreating the spectacle of Jurassic Park. Sure, it is not as good as the original, but it is certainly better Jurassic Park III and at most times better than The Lost World. It has a pretty good story that drives the characters in the film. Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) are well written characters, they have great chemistry and have great progression in the story. Some characters' felt flat or do not move the plot at all. Claire's nephews don't feel important to the story as they and Claire do not feel like they are related, Simon Masrani is unsure he is a serious CEO or a comic relief, Dr. Wu (the only recurring character) suddenly feels so mysterious.

The dinosaurs are great on the big screen. The hybrid Indominous Rex is an imposing and terrifying figure in the film, a symbol of humanity's greed, the Mosasaurus is a great addition to the movie. I was bit worried in the trailer when Owen is controlling and taming the velociraptor, I though it was bit too much. However, due to the great acting of Chris Pratt, it is pretty convincing! If human can tame lions and tigers, why not the raptors (hehe). Lastly, it is really exciting when we are finally able to watch the original T-rex from Jurassic Park made an appearance, her appearance is what makes the last act of the movie so fantastic to watch.

Of course, 22 years later, the visuals of Jurassic Park have improved tremendously since then. Jurassic World looks great on the big screen, the dinosaurs feel lifelike and believable. Even though CGI has taken over much of the work, practical effects like animatronics are still used in close ups. There are some instance where the scenes really felt like the actors are looking into the green screen mapping or part of the CGI background, but that did not detract much from the experiences. The sound effects makes a roaring return with full spectrum of the dinosaurs' roars.

The movie did succeed in making it feels like Jurassic Park, with good amount of anticipation to the appearances of the dinosaurs and the suspense of the wait. It also brings a lot of the good memories (bad memories if you were in that world) of the Jurassic Park with the visit to the old park's site, most of the time it felt good, but in some instances it felt forced.

I also give credit to the writers' ability for refuting scientists' claims of dinosaurs that were researched post-Jurassic Park have feathers and looks slightly different in sizes. First, they use Dr. Wu to explain that these dinosaurs were bridged with genomes of modern reptiles in order to make them breed in the test tube and hence looked different. Secondly, they are not from the real world, they are in the world of Jurassic Park. It would looked weird if the velociraptors suddenly grown some feathers 22 years later.

I really liked Jurassic Park, not only because it was entertaining, it was also acknowledge what makes the first Jurassic Park so great and tried to recapture that magic. It also tried to avoid the comparisons by refusing to name it Jurassic Park IV as it would limit the storytelling because of The Lost World and the mediocre Jurassic Park III. There are some moments where the movie felt bit flat, but it was mostly a great and entertaining film. Colin Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg managed to make it work, that is to make the audience interested to see dinosaurs again.

To me, unlike The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World is a true sequel to Jurassic Park.

Score: 4/5