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Jurassic World: Franchise Comes Roaring Back

If you’re wondering if Jurassic World is worth putting money down for a ticket, wonder no more. Before Jurassic World, I didn’t really consider myself a big Jurassic Park fan. Spielberg, Trevarrow and company may have finally won me over, because now I want to go back and watch all the previous films.

After the first three Jurassic Park installments, you’d think this would start to get old, right? I’ll admit, when I took my seat in the theater, I had some doubts. They were put to rest. The filmmakers kept it fresh, in stylistic fashion.

While the original film was groundbreaking, Jurassic World manages to take the thrill of Jurassic Park and crank it up to new heights. The pace of the film steadily accelerates, and just when you think it can’t get any better, it does. The continual buildup culminates in a crazy finale that should have fans practically giddy. The visual appeal, which is on the nose, successfully enhances the experience (though, as good as the CGI is, it would be cool if there were more animatronics). This may be Jurassic at its best.

Chris Pratt (as Owen Grady) and his raptor pals come fairly close to stealing the show. The concept of a handler developing a bond with the carnivores may be a new angle for the series, but it’s one that works. Watching Pratt race through the forest on his motorcycle while flanked by his reptilian posse nearly gave me chills.

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Pratt himself does a bang up job. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy him in a more serious role, but he delivers a strong performance. He’s practically Indiana Jones, but with dinosaurs (and if Pratt hopes to land the iconic role in the rumored reboot, his involvement in Jurassic World is as good an audition as any). There’s no slacking off from the rest of the cast, either, which also include Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Vincent D’Onofrio, and BD Wong (reprising his role as Dr. Henry Wu). Legitimate performances by all.

Some might think that Jurassic World is just a good popcorn thriller and nothing more. I don’t entirely agree. It is definitely a fun ride, but I think it has a bit more to offer than just thrills and chills. There are some reasonably compelling subplots. For instance, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), park operations manager, is confronted with the reality that the dinosaurs are living, breathing animals that ought to be seen and treated as such, and not merely “assets” to be coldly managed and controlled. When her nephews, Zach and Gray Mitchell (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) show up for a visit, she also has to learn the hard way that family should be a higher priority than her work.

Zach and Gray have struggles of their own. Zach is more interested in flirting with girls than spending time with family, and is annoyed that his younger brother is cramping his style. Gray is frustrated by this and just wants Zach to have fun with him and escape the stress of life for a while. However, when chaos breaks loose and lives are at stake, sibling loyalty and love win out.

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Of course, you have the focal crisis which effectively ties the subplots together. An out of control, cunningly murderous hybrid dino born out of greedy ambition and a desire for higher turnout at the theme park. Jurassic World serves as a rather potent reminder that safety and common sense should never take a back seat to profit and progress. It also promotes the ideal that, when life gets rough, we need to stick together and look out for each other, a principle which seems to be fading away and is sorely needed in this day and age.

I’m telling you, this movie has just about everything it needs to be a success: action, drama, a touch of romance, terror, suspense, comic relief. You want it? Well, they’ve got it. Arguably, perhaps the only thing missing is a cameo from Sam Neill. While Jurassic World may not have the original leading man, it does give a few nods to the earlier films, which die-hard fans will appreciate. Keep in mind that it is PG-13, so there is some language. There is also a moment in which Owen offhandedly offers Claire an invitation with inappropriate implications (though his intention may only be to annoy her), but she’s not at all interested so nothing comes of it.

I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but I think it’s possible that Jurassic World is almost as good as its earliest predecessor. If you want the full effect, then I will not hesitate to recommend seeing it on the big screen. Go for it.

Andrew Walton

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