Good ol’ dinosaur park has lost its novelty? Create something new that’s bigger and scarier, people will come and pay to get frightened. The basic plot of Jurassic World is pretty much the movie franchise’s situation. 20 odd years after the original Jurassic Park, prehistoric faunas walking the present day won’t wow anyone, so the studios resort to creating something more furious, from the basic ingredients. Does the recipe work? Fasten your seatbelts, keep your hands and bodyparts inside the vehicle at all times, we’re going for another ride around Isla Nublar.
Present day, Jurassic World is now a full fledged luxurious theme park resort that’s been around for a while, actually long enough that dinosaurs as an attraction is no longer that fantastic, and business is slowing down. A new attraction always draws more visitors, but since they’ve pretty much made all the dinosaurs there is, including a gigantic waterbourne thing called mosasaurus that snacks on sharks, Jurassic World execs and scientists decided to then engineer a whole new hybrid species on their own. New monster on the block brings ‘more teeth’ and playfully named ‘Indominus Rex’. Of course nothing can go wrong, right? Well surely enough things went south, the Indominus Rex got loose, chaos ensues, people gets eaten, more dinos run amok, and fun begins.
Despite the whole DNA engineering and hybrid dinosaurs science talk, the nature and science undertone evident in the original now takes a backseat. It’s great to see the direct approach of Jurassic World as an action blockbuster this time around. This sequel is a straightforward ride of thrills and scares, and as such, it is quite effective. There have never been more all out action, carnage, guns, bullets, destruction and ‘controlled gore’ in a Jurassic Park movie before. While the first act really takes its time, Jurassic World goes full throttle in second and third. Visually, ‘World’ seems to have more color than ‘Parks’, possibly due to the more announced use of CGI in environments, while creature-wise, the animals mostly look less real than previous movies. The action scenes in Jurassic World doesn’t shy away from getting big, a refreshing change from the previous lonely jungle island settings, as now the Disneyworld-like resort has got 20,000 tourists in danger. On the star-power side, Chris Pratt took to his role rather well as Owen Grady, an ex-Navy military man turned raptor-wrangler-hero. That’s right, he trains velociraptors, popular baddies from the previous instalments. Looking handsome and costumed almost like a character designed for an adventure video game, Pratt convinces you that he’s the guy you’ll count on to survive a dino-park chaos. Seriously, riding a classic motorcycle while flanked by badass raptors? Awesome scene unimaginable by old school Jurassic Park fan. If you’re worried that Chris will act Star-Lord style, be at ease, he did not. Meanwhile, Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire, the ‘suit’ that’s so busy running the resort island, she didn’t have time to attend to her visiting nephews Gray and Zach, played adequately by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson. The kids got lost amidst the chaos and Beth took the aid of Owen to find them, while transforming from a stiff exec into suddenly-adventure-hardened woman in the process. Being a straightforward action adventure this time around, Jurassic World needs no deep plot, back story or elaborate subplots. All the action makes up for those absence. However, it is the lack of depth in its characters that holds this solid actioner from being a full blown entertainment powerhouse. Pratt’s Owen, while believable as a capable hero the audience will root for, lack any story despite the effort on building his character in the first act. Showing more emotion than everyone else in the movie, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire is also someone you will probably accept or like, but nothing more. And the two kids, despite having had their emotional moments and a back story, felt somehow underdeveloped. I feel like the makers wondered, how should they write the siblings. Nasty? Good? Troubled? Not too troubled? Doesn’t get along good, or do they? They even have this subplot that seems to somehow disappear. Anyway, you will most likely like all these main characters, and you will want to love them more, but you can’t, as you find that there’s really nothing much under the surface. No you won’t complain. I won’t complain too. Yet I can’t help but imagine how much better Jurassic World would be if the characters weren’t so paper thin. In the end, I left the theater feeling quite happy as a Jurassic Park fan. Jurassic World is a legit thrill ride, and you gotta give the makers credit, because really, after two less-glorious sequels, it’s hard to pull this one off. It would be so easy to screw this one up and make a bomb, but director Colin Trevorrow didn’t, and achieved the opposite. Just like how the scientists engineered a brand new dinosaur, the franchise cooked up a different approach that seems to serve itself well. Jurassic World brings Jurassic Park to the new generation, and if this is how they roll, I won’t mind another sequel.
Special thanks to Mercedes-Benz Indonesia for the media screening of Jurassic World.