‘Jurassic World’ spared no expense

Published 1:34 pm Saturday, June 20, 2015

by Lauren Bradshaw

Hold on to your butts. “Jurassic World” is more than just a sequel. It’s the love letter to “Jurassic Park” that we have all been waiting for. Twenty-two years ago, paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler and chaos theory expert Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) embarked on a dangerous adventure through John Hammond’s dinosaur-themed “Jurassic Park”. But now, as Ellie would say, the park is “back in business.” Over more than two decades, the park, now rebranded as “Jurassic World”, has worked out its deadly kinks and is basically like Sea World or a large zoo. The awe of seeing dinosaurs has completely worn off and kids are now riding stegosauruses like ponies.

To reinvigorate attendance at “Jurassic World”, which is housed on the same island as the first park (Isla Nublar), operations manager, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) has tasked her team, led by Dr. Henry Wu (who you may remember from the first film), with genetically modifying a new hybrid dinosaur. Their creation, the Indominus Rex, is even bigger, smarter and scarier than the T-Rex. That doesn’t sit well with velociraptor trainer/researcher Owen (Chris Pratt), who can see the danger this new “monster” will bring to the park. After all, she has been in isolated captivity her whole life; what effect will this have on her psyche?

Meanwhile, Claire’s nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nate Robinson) have come to visit the park as a way to get a break from their home life. Claire’s sister (Judy Greer) and her husband are planning to divorce and wanted to give their kids a nice vacation while they ironed out the unsavory details. But with their aunt busy showing the I-Rex to the park’s billionaire financier (Irrfan Khan), she leaves the boys in the hands of her distracted assistant. So when the Indominus Rex inevitably escapes her pen, using her smarts and inherent biological traits, the boys (and the park itself) are in serious danger.

Because officials know that evacuating the park will result in a PR nightmare and its potential closure, they attempt to secure the I-Rex quietly, keeping as much of the park running as possible. In-Gen employee Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofria) also sees the benefit in militarizing the dinosaurs to start fighting proxy wars for the military. So instead of killing the agitators, “Jurassic World”’s beginning strategy is containment. Let’s see how long that works out…

“Jurassic Park” is hands-down one of my favorite movies of all time. It was the first PG-13 movie I ever saw, and is a huge part of what made me start my love affair with movies. It basically has everything I love in a movie: an original storyline, incredible, awe-inducing CGI, interesting characters, a couple to ship (Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler) and most importantly a strong, multi-dimensional female character. So it’s no surprise that I have been in full fangirl freakout mode since this new start to the franchise was announced. As the days have gotten closer and closer, my freakout turned feverish and I went into panic mode. Would… Could this movie be everything I was hoping it would be? And would it pay homage to its predecessor?

The answer is not only yes, it’s HELL YES. Especially if you were disappointed by The Lost World: “Jurassic Park II” and “Jurassic Park III,” your faith in the franchise will be restored in the incredible, “Jurassic World”. Director Colin Trevorrow found a way to not only put forth an incredible summer blockbuster, but to also reignite my love of “Jurassic Park” through numerous Easter Eggs, both subtle and overt, sprinkled throughout the entire film. One scene, which involves a classic “Jurassic Park” jeep and night vision goggles almost sent me into a coma. Seriously, this is the type of movie that you can watch over and over again and pick up on something new each time.

Speaking of watching the movie, you want to see “Jurassic World” on the biggest, loudest screen you can find. I usually hate 3D, but the effect for this film was actually not distracting. Especially since 3D/IMAX come hand-in-hand these days, I wouldn’t let 3D deter you; go see this film in the biggest venue you can.

Let’s get this out of the way. There has never been a sexier man on film than Chris Pratt in “Jurassic World”. There, I said it. His character may not have the typical Star Lord-esque humor and one-liners that we come to associate with Pratt, but it was nice to see him play a different kind of role. He is as badass as badasses come. I mean, come on, he rides a motorcycle flanked by RAPTORS. But he also has a soft-hearted dinosaur-loving side too. Be still my heart.

But while Pratt may be the “it boy” right now, “Jurassic World” is Bryce Dallas Howard’s movie. Her character, Claire, carries the story and has the biggest arc, going from cold, by-the-books businesswoman who saw the dinosaurs more as “assets” than living-beings to an improvising, kickass action heroine. Though some (coughJossWheedoncough) tried to say her character was a damsel in distress after only seeing one small clip from the movie, Claire is far from it. She takes control of her own story and doesn’t just hide behind Owen. And when she does let Owen take lead, it’s because he is a freakin’ dinosaur expert and he had a gun. Man or woman, you would be stupid not to look to him for help. When Claire fires up a flare to get the attention of an old friend, try not to burst into nerd tears like I did. Oh, and did I mention she does everything in heels?!

“Jurassic Park” is a classic, one of the stalwarts of science-fiction films and summer blockbusters. Of course “Jurassic World” cannot live up to it, but I never expected it to. This is a fantastic movie on its own, expanding Hammond (and Spielberg’s) vision while also making memories of its own. I dare you not to grab onto your armrest or the person beside you when the film expands to an aerial shot of “Jurassic World” with John Williams’ famous score blasting you back to your childhood. It’s obvious that Universal, Colin Trevorrow and everyone involved in this film spared no expense and left nothing on the table. Now, someone green-light “Jurassic World” 2 already!

My Review: A

LAUREN BRADSHAW grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area and can be reached at flickchickdc@gmail.com