I went into Jurassic World with very little expectations. After all, aside from Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol, how many fourth installments in franchises end up being very memorable (Star Wars doesn’t count)? Not to mention the whole setup with a genetically engineered dinosaur sounded downright silly.
I was wonderfully surprised when the movie was over, as not only did Jurassic World not suck, but it was some of the most fun I’ve had in a movie in years. Not only is it the best non-animated blockbuster since Guardians of the Galaxy (which, interestingly, also starred Chris Pratt), but I’ll even say it’s my second favorite film of 2015 so far, after Inside Out (which I now feel I underrated in my review, but more on that another time).
So where did Jurassic World go right where so many other blockbusters go wrong? First and foremost, the characters. Jurassic World takes time to properly introduce its characters to the audience before all the mayhem starts, and even once all the dinosaurs start running amok, it still provides some breathing room and gives us extra moments of character development.
Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is an action hero right out of the 90s, but with a bit of an everyman touch added to make him a bit more believable. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) probably goes through the most character evolution throughout the film, and even the kids are more capable and much less annoying this time around.
All of the characters are given time to develop interactions and stories. Jurassic World makes you actually care about the characters, and because you care about them it makes you care about what’s happening around them. Compare that to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, where characters are rapidly introduced seemingly for the sole purpose of marking a checklist of how many super heroes from the comics the movie can cram in.
Now about that genetically engineered dinosaur. It was a risky move, but somehow Jurassic World pulls it off. I was a little worried at first since the movie itself is quick to make fun of the “Indominous Rex.” Yes, the idea of a brand new, mixed up dinosaur is a little silly, but I don’t want the movie to make fun of itself about it. Too many blockbusters these days make jokes of themselves, I’d hate to see that happen with Jurassic World. Thankfully, it doesn’t. After the initial jokes come and go, the movie quickly changes its tone on the creature from that point on. It addresses the potential ridiculousness at first, and then, appropriately, treats the Indominous Rex as a terrible threat for the rest of the movie. The Indominous Rex could have been a disaster, but it ends up working well as the film’s primary threat.
As you might expect, Jurassic World plays up the nostalgia card. But it does so tastefully, creating some moments of pure nostalgic joy (and melancholy) in regards to the first movie, but it never simply relies on it. The movie also makes the wise decision to ignore mentioning the events of the second and third films in the franchise. The climactic sequence even largely plays up on fanservice, but it does so in such a clever and genuinely entertaining way that I couldn’t help but applaud it. It was a moment that made me feel like a kid again.
Jurassic World succeeds in regards to action, suspense and horror in a way that so few blockbusters do these days. It may not have been directed by Steven Spielberg, but Jurassic World has the same beating heart of Spielberg’s best blockbuster movies. It’s an expertly crafted piece of entertainment through and through.
Not too many blockbusters have won me over these past few years, with most of them relying too heavily on excessive destruction and garish visual effects. But Jurassic World takes the best kind of blockbuster from the 80s and 90s and makes it feel brand new again. I went into Jurassic World not expecting much, but came out thoroughly entertained.
Simply put, Jurassic World is awesome.