Jurassic World, review

Jurassic World; the fourth installment in a series of films which started so well but couldn’t seem to perch atop the high pedestal in which film one – Jurassic Park – set. That’s not to say that this new feature after a fourteen year break is bad. In fact, it’s far from bad. But, does it hold the same level of intrigue that the original did? I suppose that’s up to the individual spectator to decide. My guess would be that enthusiastic fans of Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg’s thrilling film will be somewhat disappointed by Colin Trevorrow’s foray into the fictional Isla Nublar resort park.

Made on a not-modest-at-all budget of $150 million Jurassic World has currently obtained a phenomenal box-office success of $1.515 billion (and still counting). Weeks into its cinematic release the film is being shown twice a day, every day, in cinemas with audience members still wanting to experience – or re-experience – the awe-inspiring story of a world where Dinosaurs roam around a tropical island and kill off a bunch of people. Four films later, it still holds interest, that much is known.

The question of, is Jurassic World any better then the poorly received Jurassic Park 3?’ remains unanswered. And it will surely stay that way, for critics reviews have been generally kind, and the box-office smashing records speak for audience members but one thing is for certain; something is missing in the Speilberg-produced, Trevorrow-directed film. That something might simply be the fact that no sequel, no matter the budget or the cast, can ever overcome the genre-defining masterpiece that is the 1993 Jurassic Park. With its striking puppet-Dino’s and that kitchen scene, the original still stands today – some twenty-two years later – as a feature film that is as refreshing and good-looking as it was upon release.

bryce dallas howard in jurassic world

bryce dallas howard in jurassic world

Trevorrow brings us back to the original island, one which hasn’t been visited since film one. Now engulfed in futuristic theme-park rides and made-up Dinosaurs, the park is fully functioning and open to 20,000 guests. Arrival at the resort produces chills, for the films slogan read ‘the park is open’ and to see John Hammond‘s dream a reality is both scary and exciting for long-term fans of the franchise. We visit the new over-the-top park with its contemporary buildings and, get this – Dino petting zoo –  but we also get a glimpse of the original visitors centre that is now dilapidated and overgrown, which looks dystopian and bad-ass all at the same time. The odes to filmic times of the past are appreciated and the nostalgia of the piece is what makes it such a strong feature.

The cast is led by Bryce Dallas Howard as Clare Dearing, the parks operations manager, and Chris Pratt as Owen Grady. Making a return is B. D. Wong as Henry Wu, the doctor who so confidently told Jeff Goldblum in film one that the Dino’s couldn’t naturally evolve. Oh, he was So wrong. Here, he’s been up to all sorts of mischief, taking control of these once-extinct animals just a teensy bit more then he should. Howard and Pratt are both strong in their roles, the latter exceptionally so. New Girl‘s Jake Johnson provides the majority of the films humour, and the actor is a genuine talent – especially when it comes to comedy.

The only bug-bare would be the inordinate amount of plot holes. Grady trains the Velociraptor’s to a level in which they don’t try to eat him (whoda’ thunk it?), yet he came from the Navy…so, where has this skill come from? Then there is the much-talked about point of Howard running around in heels the entire 124 minute run-time. Oh, and the biggest distraction of the feature? The constant product-placement that rules a big portion of the first half of the film. Coca Cola Life? Check. Starbucks? Check. Mercedes? Check. Ben & Jerry’s? Yes, check. It’s so obvious it’s almost funny, and it unfortunately causes a bit of an issue in regard to taking the film entirely seriously. Having said that, it isn’t all bad. There are one or two impressive visceral scenes, and the creation of a new Dino is a genius idea in terms of bringing something exciting to the audiences metaphorical table.

Younger audiences who are unfamiliar with Jurassic Park and didn’t experience it while it was still the 1990’s will love this shiny-looking epic. It’s got humour, it has attractive leads, and the action-packed Dino fights are all there. People who consider themselves to be part of the fan-canon of ‘World‘s predecessors may struggle with the repetitive nature the franchise has adopted, and the lack of charisma – as well as genuine scares – Trevorrow’s film holds. It’s a satisfying and reminiscent watch, but it certainly doesn’t hold up to the original.

 

Jurassic World trailer unveiled

Before the new Jurassic World trailer was released the excitement for this up-and-coming project was off the scale. It has been so many years since the pitfall of the third, and hopes that this would be a return to the intensity and slight horror of the first were high. Having watched the trailer, the main component that stuck in my head was the futuristic element which is apparently a dominating force (well, dominating in the trailer anyway). Now, if you love a bit of sci-fi and you love some dinosaurs thrown in for good measure, the trailer (again, not necessarily the film) is right up your alley. Going forward with the thought in mind that trailers are often far removed from the final product, Jurassic World can (and I’m sure will) still be good fair.

promotional poster for jurassic world

promotional poster for jurassic world

What do we see in the trailer? Bryce Dallas Howard as a kind of Laura Dern-esque character, screaming ‘RUUUUUUUUN‘ and holding a flash light (exciting stuff), two brothers experiencing the new park for the first time (totally reminiscent of the brother/sister duo from the first, which is definitely intriguing in this instance) and the new leading man Chris Pratt as the guy that seems to be calling the shots in how to survive this whole thing. These moments in the trailer stood out as great elements of a survival drama which is hopefully what this will work out to be. But, the arrival of a ridiculously over-sized Alligator being fed a shark? C’mon…leave it out, surely that belongs in the old-school and rather silly (but still enjoyable) Lake Placid? And the genetic engineering of a giant dinosaur seems to be the antagonist of the whole piece (do these people never learn?). Why not just stick to what you know is good – you know, those cheeky Velociraptor’s that can open doors. My guessing is they’ve mixed those naughty so and so’s with a T-Rex and we are left with a super dino out for blood.

Whatever this film holds, be excited because its Jurassic bloody World. We’ve all been looking out for a new installement that bears that title, and we have it. (Oh, and the tagline for the film of ‘The park is open’ is pretty cool too.) Jurassic World comes out June 12th and you can watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFinNxS5KN4

 

 

Future films to get excited for

One of the best thing’s about being a film fanatic is the fact that there is an endless supply of new material to get your teeth stuck into. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the films to come at the end of this year, and the new year and this inspired me to write this post about those films! I would also love to hear about what up-and-coming projects have got you excited, so drop a comment and let me know! I’ve selected four films to chat about, all completely different, some with a release date in the next few months, some not until later on in 2015, but all unique and hella-exciting.

gosling on the set of lost river

gosling on the set of lost river

First up, Lost River, a film that has already been screened (at the Cannes Film Festival), to both positive and negative reactions from the audience. Lost River is the first directorial effort from actor Ryan Gosling, and has technically been released (but is yet to hit UK cinemas, so for the sake of this post, we’ll make an exception and include it!). Gosling is said to take great influence from directors like David Lynch and pal Nicholas Winding Refn, but the word on the street after its Cannes debut was that Lost River looked and felt all too familiar, meaning Gosling’s abilities as a director were definitely questioned by critics and film-goers alike. Despite this 50/50 reaction from the film’s premier in May (its said that some of the audience even got up and walked out), the trailer, and plot, definitely gave me reason to be both excited, and intrigued, to see what Gosling has to offer here. Starring previous co-stars Ben Mendelsohn (one of my favorite actors of the past couple of years), Christina Hendricks and Eva Mendes Lost River follows several characters (que some strange names including Bones, Rat and Bully) as they navigate life both above, and below water. All this seems pretty perplexing, and the trailer didn’t clear things up much more, but with a cast like this, and a director with a vision like Gosling’s, Lost River could be one of the best commercial art films in a long while (if Gosling can bring in a crowd for Only God Forgives, there’s hope).

Next up, a change in direction, and a look at a film that there is little to no information about. But this next offering is something to certainly get excited about; its Jurassic World! So, what do we know? The initial release date was said to be May, but now it looks like June 2015 is when it’ll hit (hola Summer blockbuster), Colin Trevorrow is taking the helm as director (an interesting choice here, bring Spielberg back!) and there’s an array of up-and-comers starring (including The Kings of Summer Nick Robinson and Twilight‘s Bryce Dallas Howard). So, a different director, and a whole new cast, but what of the story? The title seems to be pretty self-explanatory so far – Jurassic World will be set on Isla Nublar, twenty years after Jurassic Park (I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded what went on there), now a theme park open to anyone who wishes to visit (did they learn nothing?), it looks as though the dinos are gonna team up and take back the island for themselves. Filming wrapped in August so a teaser trailer can be expected soon, hopefully with a feature trailer to follow early in the new year. If Trevorrow can bring back the intensity of the original, and if there’s a new spin to the story, Jurassic World could patch up the wrong-doings of Jurassic Park 3. Watch this space.

the first poster for jurassic world is released

the first poster for jurassic world is released

Third up, another franchise re-working. Terminator: Genysis, has been on the cards for a while, and is finally in the works. A release date of Summer 2015 is expected at the moment (a little competition between this and Jurassic World perhaps?) and the film will welcome back Arny as the beloved (and equally hated) Terminator. Again, we have a bunch of up and coming actors to get ourselves info-d up on before it hits screens and a whole new look at a world full of killer robots. Sounds fun, right? Right now, I’m not sure whether to be excited or weary about the thought of a new Terminator film considering the franchise took a dip somewhat after Judgement Day, but with not a lot to go on right now my hopes are high that we’ll see a return to form (that form being the days when the Terminator films had witty humor, awe-inspiring effects and an original and unique storyline). Alan Taylor, director of Thor: The Dark World is taking the lead here, and with the success, and size of that, Taylor taking the helm could be pretty promising. Get ready to expect a re-imagining of a robot-lead world, time-hopping and lots of snazzy one-liners.

Last, but most certainly not least (this is actually the film I am most excited for), is Entourage, yes that’s right, there is going to be a film version of one of the funniest (and personally my most beloved) television shows to grace our screens. HBO, we love you. Not a lot needs to be said story-wise if you’re clued up on the series (if you’re not, you have until June 2015 to catch up, and trust me, it’ll be worth your time), as the film is going to take off exactly where things were wrapped up (in short, the boys all achieved what they had been after all along, and Ari discovered he didn’t need the business to be happy – or did he?). Dillon, Grenier, Piven, Ferrara, Connolly (plus more) are all to return, and expect some well-known celebs playing alter-egos of themselves, for your humorous effect of course. Whether you are already a fan, or completely oblivious of Entourage, you wont watch to miss what will be one of the funniest films of 2015. Never afraid to be controversial, and wonderfully adult, Entourage is a project to be excited for. Go and get that box-set, to either discover (or re-discover) the boys as they find their feet in Hollywood and become a permanent fixture on your T.V screen (and soon to be cinema screen).

These are just four of hundreds of films that will grace mine, and your, screens in the next year. There are so many more to research, mark in your calender, love/hate and discover from war drama Unbroken to the Bards Macbeth and adaptations like Tulip Fever. Enjoy!