After 14 years since the last Jurassic Park film and 22 years after the first dazzled audiences everywhere finally arrives Jurassic World and earned decent grades from critics but was a monster box office hit with it holding the largest opening ever in North America and the entire world ($208 million in N.A., and over $500 million worldwide) and grossing over $1.5 billion (!) with more coming in through DVD and BluRay rentals and sales, tons of merch and even a Lego game that has sold rather well. But how is the movie once you get past the glitz of the Almighty Dollar?
Well, the story starts off on the mainland in the US where two brothers are sent to Isla Nublar which contains the hottest them park in the world, Jurassic World. They are sent to spend time with their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), while the parents supposedly are entering the first stages of splitting up.
Claire runs the park and is always extremely busy, trying to keep things flowing smoothly and keeping operating costs down. While always busy, she can't dedicate herself to her nephews, pawns them on her assistant while she presents the newest attraction to her boss and owner of InGen (And the park),Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan).
The newest attraction? A rollercoaster? A museum dedicated to dinosaurs? No, its a genetically modified dinosaur dubbed Indominous Rex designed to scare and amaze at the same time. Wanting to evaluate their genetic specimen (Created by Dr. Wu, played by B.D. Wong, the only returning cast member from any of the films) they use the trainer of the raptors, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt).
Of course he says its dangerous to keep an animal isolated from others, the dinosaur starts adapting to its surroundings surprisingly well, able to mask its heat signature, camouflage its body and is very smart and dangerous ably escaping into the rest of the park pitting the dinosaur vs. thousands of walking liability lawsuits in cargo shorts.
Oh and some stuff about the nephews escaping from their guardian and stray from the beaten path and a crazy military man wanting to use raptors as weaponry (Don't ask.) and Dr. Wu spearheading the entire thing, yada, yada, yada.
Ok, I'll start off by saying the plot is terrible. I love the idea that there is an operating dinosaur park and is like every theme park with a mix of Disney, Universal and Sea World all rolled into one with the usual commercialism that comes with these establishments (Which is a slightly underused aspect of the film, such as seeing a Dave and Busters and Starbucks on the main drag, Verizon owning the naming rights to Indominuous Rex, etc). The main idea of a dinosaur adapting to nature and we having to hunt it down is fun enough but it gets bogged down by the subplot of Vincent D'Onofrio's character wanting to weaponize dinosaurs for combat that makes me more stupid for having wrote that statement. But thinking back, this film feels like the I, Rex in many ways, it blends different traits to make a new animal, which looking out of the viewing glass, you can see huge chunks of Jurassic Parks 1 and 3 throughout with some Lost World filling out the rest of the helix, which suits the film perfectly. A mashup.
But this film still gave me the wonder I had as a child watching Jurassic Park for the first time when I was six. Sitting down after renting the VHS from Movie Max, staring at dinosaurs come to life right before my eyes. I loved seeing the dinosaurs here, though largely CG, but very beautiful CG, and when I saw the new Rex and the water dino, I could feel myself wearing Barney slippers and PJ's watching the tape on our old 19" Quasar.
The actors are all solid with Chris Pratt being a well-suited hero in Owen, being charming and funny but tough enough to handle the action scenes with flair and also giving us the pose of 2015 (You know the one). Howard was very good as Claire, giving us a strong willed and smart woman who can handle herself, and wearing heels while running to boot! D'Onofrio is suitably villanious, Wong is as charismatic as always as Dr. Wu and Khan stole the show as a CEO who is like the audience, just looking for the next thrills. The kids, however, while not annoying didn't bring much to the film, though the characters didn't do much for the film.
Colin Trevorrow had never done a blockbuster-sized film before (Heck, he never directed a moderately budgeted film. His previous film was Safety Not Guaranteed for less than a $1 million) but manages to handle action extremely well, showing off the big budget capably and directs the actors with skill. The camera work (Shot on film!) editing, CGI, sound and score (Man that score..... Giacchino you rock!) all scream big budget and huge talent.
And that blockbuster treatment follows through over to the BluRay 3D with impressive results. Starting with the PQ, the film looks simply phenomenal. The picture (Shot on film) is as sharp as you can as from a day-and-date release, retaining the rich textures, sharp colors and detailed images you could ever ask for, at least til the 4K release. The 3D on the other hand is surprisingly docile for such a movie such as JW. Yes, this film retains all the perks of the 2D disc, but adds depth to every scene in the film, but doesn't have a lot of pop-out moments either. Where it being the scene where raptor and trainer ride side by side to the crowd-pleasing sea-dino shot of it leaping out of the water lack the punch to fully immerse the viewer. Audio wise will knock your house off the foundation while also accurately replicating dialogue, music and effects in a surround sound accurate way.
Extras are also surprisingly light for such a major hit. I wish this had a full-on making of documentary or a commentary, whats included here is fine but longs for a major double-dip to include more stuff. Included are:
Deleted Scenes - 6 minutes of ok scenes
Chris & Colin Take On the World - a 9 minute piece where star and director interview each other
Welcome to Jurassic World - The biggest and best extra is a half hour look at the making of the film with plenty of BTS footage.
Dinosaurs Roam Once Again - A 17 minute look at the VFX
Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt - a 3 minute look at the minor details in the main center of the park
Jurassic World: All-Access Pass - a 10 minute insiders look at the making of the film (Seems like an aborted P-in-p commentary)
Lastly and rather ironically given the subject manner....
Jurassic's Closest Shaves -- Presented by Barbasol - This a 3 minute look at all the close calls throughout the series.
Also included is the DVD and a Digital HD copy of the film and a nice slipcover to round of the package. All in all, a rather decent movie with excellent PQ and AQ, though with muted 3D effects (Still a nice 3D disc but not demo worthy) and slim extras, wait til this is on sale, but still comes recommended.