The New Park Is Open (who’s offering them insurance?!)
I could not have been more adamant about this film. Adamant I was going to hate it. That it would sadden me as it trampled over John Hammond’s legacy, God rest his soul. That it would be worse than Jurassic Park III. How can they connect with a film made over twenty years ago? How could they possibly recapture the tone, the essence, the time?? Read my Jurassic World Preview to see just how pessimistic I was for the fortunes of this movie…
Ahem, I was wrong.
Rather than just taking the premise of Jurassic Park and adding a bunch of gadgets and an explosion thinking that’s all it takes to entertain a modern audience, this film is as perfect as it can be. The standard sequel blueprint of turning up the volume is masterfully sidestepped as Spielberg and Trevorrow triumph in their restraint and simply upgrade the components of a winning formula. The park is modernised, the cast are likeable and the threat is real. A more perfectly balanced summer blockbuster you are unlikely to ever see
Let’s start with the characters; Nephews visiting their auntie, Zach and Gray Mitchell are neither ridiculously heroic nor sniffling weenies. Older brother Gray has an eye for the girls but is quickly reigned in by younger brother Zach whose excitement at the sights of the new park are perfectly in tune with that of the audience. Chris Pratt plays it Indiana Jones with a touch of Peter Quill and Dallas Bryce Howard shakes off the corporate robo spiel to get her hands dirty and join in the fun. The only slight misfire is Dr. Wu, now cast with a smart mouth and crazy evil overtones.
To say I wasn’t enamoured with the dinosaur content of the trailer would be an understatement but in the context of the film, they work. The genteel old guys lumber around the plains and jungles whilst familiar foes are on lockdown in maximum security pens. The idea of training Raptors may seem a touch arrogant but emphasis is placed on the fact these wild creatures with millennia of savage instinct can never truly be tamed (or weaponised!). It even makes sense that a company who engineered its animals in the first place would attempt to splice together a new super-dino of their own. The Indominus Rex is everything evil about mankind, part T-Rex, part T1000.
Even homages to the original are slight but intelligent, revered as grand scientific endeavour and warning from history all at once. The iconic gates, a souvenir t-shirt, the original banner in the abandoned visitor centre are touching moments for old fans and interesting side notes for newcomers. Even John Williams’ score is used sparingly and abandoned all together for the grand final shot. And a momentous scene is born with little more than a heart pounding soundtrack, a red flare and the unleashing of that tyrant lizard. Prepare for your hair to stand on end.
If I’m picking hairs, the military side story feels shoe horned in just to give the big bad corporation something no good to be up to, the establishing of a franchise reeks a little and you will leave the cinema desperate for a bottle of coke or a Mercedes all terrain vehicle but these can be forgiven in the greater context of this refreshingly familiar sequel. Not only is it a great stand alone feature, it teaches you just how much you love the original.
Ramblin Entertainment Rating? 5 / 6
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