It’s got dinosaurs. It’s got scientific labs. It’s got … a Pandora and a Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville? That’s right, folks. Jurassic World is open for business, and it’s a top tourist destination. And truth be told, it’s a roarin’ good time. From good ole’ dino-on-dino battle scenes to Chris Pratt‘s Owen zooming through the jungle amidst a pack of raptors, Jurassic World features everything you love about Jurassic movies, including some ferocious prehistoric beasts.
Quiiiiiiick recap (with mild spoilers, obvs.): So, the Jurassic World theme park is up and running, and has enjoyed a successful 10 years (because why wouldn’t it?! Dinosaur theme park!). We get brief glimpses of the different attractions available to Jurassic World visitors, such as kayaking through a river inhabited by herbivores, taking a ride in the Gyrosphere, safari tours, etc. Basically everything you’d dream that a dinosaur theme park would entail.
However, our leading lady Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) says that people are becoming less and less impressed with the dinosaurs (#millenials, amirite?!) so corporate is doing a big push to get attendance rates soaring again.
And what is that big push? I’m glad you asked. It’s the Indominus rex, a genetically modified dinosaur that is bigger, faster, toothier, and, hopefully, the coolest attraction yet at Jurassic World. Of course, this dinosaur is a combination of tons of different science-y type experiments and such, making it, well, a super dinosaur. And if you’re thinking “Hmm, that seems like maybe not the best idea…,” you’d be right—it’s not.
When the Indominus rex escapes her cage to wreak havoc among the park, Claire enlists the help of motorcycle-riding, raptor-training Owen, who’s got serious beef with Claire—and corporate as a whole—for forgetting that, above all, these dinosaurs are still animals and need to be respected. From a standpoint of mutual respect, Owen is able to train four raptors—Echo, Delta, Charlie, and Blue—so they follow his commands, which is super amazing! But of course, I’m not the only one who thinks so. When Hoskins (Vincent D’Ofnofrio) and Dr. Barry Wu (BD Wong!) get involved, these “bad guys” want to turn the trained raptors into military weapons, and Owen takes a staunch stance against it. Down with the (corporate, dinosaur-theme-park-owning, army-building) man!
Intertwined in all this dino goodness is a story about family: This Jurassic film’s leading kids Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, respectively) are Claire’s nephews, who came to JW to spend time with their distant, career-focused aunt, who has a lot to learn about family. Lucky for her, dangerous situations breed the perfect teachable moments, and we see heartwarming bonding between the two brothers themselves, between aunt and nephews, and even between Claire and Owen (ooh la la).
The real stars of this movie, though, are the dinos themselves, which get a real serious upgrade from two decades ago. While Jurassic World is a visual spectacle—especially in IMAX 3D—I think it’s safe to say that the movie gets a little meta on itself as one character states, “Let’s face it: No one’s impressed by a dinosaur anymore.”
The movie lacks a bit of what made the original Jurassic Park movie so amazing—and that’s the novelty of the cool movie magic that brought the dinosaurs to life in the first movie (REMEMBER HOW IMPRESSIVE THE T-REX WAS?!), but makes up for it with incredible CGI dinosaurs. The new dinos are awesome to watch, unbelievably lifelike, and truly the high point of the film. There is, of course, a lot of fantastic Jurassic creature action—fighting, ripping apart limbs, chomping, stomping, roaring—with an epic battle at the end that will have Jurassic fans’ dino hunger satiated. In addition to the new Indominus rex and a prehistoric equivalent of a bulked up whale who’s been hitting the gym seven days a week, and favorites such as the T-rex who emerges just in time to show everyone how to handle things in Jurassic World (YAAASSSSS KWEEEEEN), there are plenty of incredible dino creatures to fawn over, and I loved every second of it.
The rest of the cast is perfectly fine—although the dinosaurs might be the most well-rounded female characters—and the plot plays like your typical action movie. There was some nice comedic relief from characters such as Lowery (Jake Johnson) and Vivian (Lauren Lapkus), who are on Jurassic World’s control center team. Pratt’s performance as Owen seems effortless, and he’s just as charming and badass as ever. Howard’s Claire is a very stereotypical damsel in distress, yet career-driven woman, and a lot of the other characters back stories and personalities seem a bit weak or not fully flushed out, but if we’re being real, Jurassic movies are never about the humans, right? So I’m not too hung up on it.
Jurassic fans will love the callbacks to the old movie—I’m looking at you, old school ’90s Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler. This fourth installment of the franchise is less gory and terrifying than I remember the original being, but still packs the same punch on the excitement scale. It’s got all the makings of a good Jurassic movie: action, adventure, people driving Jeeps, heart, and, of course, people getting eaten.
Overall, you’ll be glad that you visited the Park again, and happy you stayed for the dinos. Is it the best trip we’ve ever taken to the Park? Not really, but it sure is good to be back.