Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Omar Sy
Twenty years after the tragedy that forced it to close, the dinosaur park has now reopened. It is more spectacular and ambitious than ever before, thanks to the investment of a rich Indian man who, on paper, wants to give everyone the possibility of becoming aware of the smallness of man compared to nature. Yet, in reality, he hides a less worthy deal with the army to use the park “monsters” for military purposes.
As expected, precisely when the manager of the park (Claire)’s nephews visit, the new attraction— a genetically modified dinosaur— escapes, scattering death across the island. The only one capable of stopping the killer dinosaur is Owen, a former marine in charge of training a team of vicious velociraptors—a dangerous weapon that will come in handy in the battle for survival…
Steven Spielberg’s emblematic popcorn movie of the 1990s, the Jurassic Park saga, which opened in 1993, has made a comeback with Jurassic World. The new film openly declares itself to be an enhanced recovery of the original. Its dinosaurs are larger, more dangerous, and “cooler,” in order to keep its visitors intrigued. We also find “human” characters that respect the archetypes of their genre, without, however, becoming clichés.
Thus we are introduced to the workaholic manager, who tries to be in control of everything and yet manages to lose her nephews (while trying to hide her attraction to the rugged dinosaur trainer); to the unscrupulous scientist, the fake philanthropist manager, the typical ruthless military serviceperson, and two teenagers—one with his hormones in a turmoil, and the other smaller and fearful.
These characters lead us beyond the doors of the Jurassic park (where references to the previous film are certainly not lacking and which are simultaneously addressed to both the characters and to the audience of the film) for the discovery of even more surprising “experiences….” Also, thanks to a superb use of 3D technology, the dinosaurs no longer look at each other from afar; they can be touched, they can be ridden right under our—and their— eyes.
The story (in this film as well as in the rest of the saga) remains faithful to Spielberg’s original point of view on the theme: the dangers of a science that lacks control (and often goes hand in hand with the most brutal militaristic spirit) do not take away from the gusto of adventure and the marvel of these ancient creatures that are capable of enchanting both adults and children on the big screen (and even out of the theater, thanks to some meticulous merchandizing).
The direction of Trevorrow appropriately emphasizes “scary” scenes (the death count is quite high and it is important to note that certain killings are rather shocking) without letting us lose the comical and sentimental interludes between Pratt (who after starring in Guardians of the Galaxy has become the new action hero with a passion for punch lines) and Dallas Howard, as well as scenes of comic relief between the two young brothers who visit the park.
Moreover, the family continues to be the central value that needs to be defended. This remains so even when the family in a sense “includes” a team of velociraptors (whose movements we are greatly familiar with and can predict because of the previous films) who are extremely dangerous and yet, nonetheless, demand respect.
The relationship between trainer Owen and his dinosaurs is perhaps one of the best aspects of the film, as it provides ironic elements, as well as non-trivial ethical conflicts, and the starting point for the most interesting turning points in the story.
In short, this Jurassic World may not go down in history as a milestone in cinema. Yet it represents in all respects a very good investment both for those who produced the film, and for those who benefit from it, as they are sure to find a great level of entertainment that does not even require that we turn our brains off to enjoy it.
Viewer discretion is advised for the following elements: Some scenes of intense violence within its genre. In the United States, children under the age of 13 were prohibited from viewing the film if not accompanied by an adult.
Luisa Cotta Ramosino is an Italian television writer and creative producer; she is also a regular contributor to the website Sentieri del cinema and Scegliere un film, an annual collection of film reviews.