Jurassic Park is a modern classic. A staple in all movie lovers collections. This creature feature tapped into man’s deepest primeval fear – freaking dinosaurs on the loose – and indulged us in cutting edge CGI and animatronics, lovingly delivered by Grandpa Spielberg. Legends of the screen grounded the monstrous action sequences, breathing life into characters who cover the spectrum of humankind; rich and poor, faith and science, maternal and miser, realist and fantasist. All enveloped in the majesty of the orchestral score swooping over us as Isla Nublar is revealed in all of its innocent and natural beauty. This film was a true sum of its parts. Perfection in movie making. Twenty two years on and somebody is trying to recapture the magic…
Hands up those of you who thought they would never actually see a genuine Jurassic Park IV? Two words haunted this production through the years; development hell. Initially, back in 2001 there was some major disagreement amongst the then current players in the Jurassic universe surrounding a fourth instalment. Spielberg apparently had a script so good he wished he had thought of it for JP III but first choice director Joe Johnston was pulling in a different direction artistically, not on board with relocating the action to mainland Costa Rica. Over a decade of script and plot revisions played out in the writing rooms of Hollywood, with the evolution of genetics growing in significance to the story…
Fast forward to November 2014 and the first trailer landed. Mooted as a teaser, this revealed as much as we needed to know. John Hammond’s vision had become a reality and the park was open. Operated by the (potentially shady) Masrani Global Corporation, Jurassic World plays familiar and new. Large pens, visitor centres and giant flocking birds fight for attention alongside terrifying aquatic monster attractions. Crowds pack the streets of the theme park on Isla Nublar and all is merry. Subsequent TV spots have fleshed out the plot for us and it is safe to say they are attempting to clone the DNA of the original. We have a head ranger researching Raptor behaviour in the guise of Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady (practice run for the new Indy?), Dr. Wu playing god in the genetics lab and the deadliest creature rampaging beyond control. But how do you outdo an enraged T-Rex? You go hybrid of course! Just make sure you upgrade the security if you have a track record of dino escapology, hey.
Now, I am always dubious of a sequel separated by years, let alone decades. Unless you are able to magically recapture the time and the tone of the original, how can you even compare? A smattering of cameos from existing cast members can help to bridge the time gap but as far as we know, save a statue of John Hammond, this is the new breed. And so, who exactly is this new venture aiming for? The latest trailer plays out to the strings of John Williams’s original theme and boasts a spliced together narration from the sadly departed Dickie Attenborough. Ok, so you are playing to my sense of nostalgia. But the dinosaurs performing for shows, futuristic bubble pods and regression in FX is playing squarely to a new crowd. A crowd who will never experience the joy and terror of a life sized Stan Winston creation thundering through the undergrowth, its foreboding footsteps reverberating through the earth.
Chris Pratt will lift anything he features in but he cannot run this show alone and the vacuum left will ultimately be packed with filler. Jurassic Park was intended as a safari discovery adventure, not a crass amusement park and despite hat tips to the source material, Jurassic World is in danger of becoming The Kingdom of the Crystal Fossil.
Jurassic World is due for release June 11
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