The dinosaurs are back… but do they bring back the same magic of Jurassic Park or should the franchise have stayed “extinct”?

It has been 22 years since the world fell in love with the first Jurassic Park movie.  And while the movie spawned sequels which were actually a financial success, they didn’t exactly live up to the talent and perfection (dare I say) of the original.  So, how does Universal Studios most recent addition stack up?  I will dive in to that in a moment to give you my opinion of the cast, story, special effects, and my overall view and rating of the summer blockbuster.

Be aware that this is NOT a spoiler-free review, so if you have not seen the movie and do not want to know anything else prior to seeing it, then skip ahead to bottom to read my “The Special Effects” section to continue reading without fear of spoilers and then get my conclusion and rating.

The Cast

Owen – The raptor trainer played by Chris Pratt.  This guy is amazing.  Such a talented guy.  Most people would recognize him from Guardians of the Galaxy, where he played the lead role as Starlord, but he is also known for his part on the hit tv show Parks & Rec.  Rumor is that he is the front runner to take over for Harrison Ford and become the next Indiana Jones.  Those are some very large and very important shoes to fill but I have no doubt Chris Pratt is one of the few people that could pull it off.

Claire – She is Jurassic World’s manager of operations who is played by Bryce Dallas Howard.  She is known for her parts in such hit films as The Help, The Village, and Spiderman 3.

Zach – Claire’s oldest nephew.  He is a little disobedient and is constantly scopin’ out the ladies… lol.  He is played by Nick Robinson, who is best known for his part in the classic indie film, The Kings of Summer.

Gray – Claire’s youngest nephew.  He is the good, cute kid that is super excited to be at Jurassic World.  He has actually been in a few big movies including Ironman 3, Insidious and Insidious 2.,

Hoskins – He is InGen’s head of security. This role is played by the fabulous Vincent D’Onofrio, who is currently playing on Marvel’s hit tv show Daredevil as William Fisk (aka The Kingpin) and on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Lowery – He is a control room tech who is played by the hilarious Jake Johnson.  He provides a great deal of humor for the film.  He is best known for his role on the hit tv show New Girl and for his leading role in the movie Lets Be Cops.

***ATTENTION -THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW***

(as mentioned, skip ahead to bottom to read my “The Special Effects” section to continue reading with fear of spoilers and get my conclusion and rating).

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The Story

The movie begins with a couple kids, Zach and Gray (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins), being sent off on vacation to visit a distant aunt, Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard.  After a boat ride to Isla Nublar (the home island of Jurassic World), the boys make it to the theme park and the excitement really begins.  It starts with some amazing footage of the park and it’s attractions.  Watching this sequence I couldn’t help but think that this must be the complete fruition of John Hammond’s (the original owner) initial dream of what Jurassic Park should be.  We also get footage of a few new dinosaurs including the super massive mosasaurus; the aquatic monster that snacks on the great white shark on the trailer/commercials.

Then, after a brief and awkward meeting with their aunt, Claire, the boys are off to see the park with their “babysitter”, Zara, Claire’s assistant.  However, it’s not long before the boys ditch the babysitter and get into some mischief.

Meanwhile, Owen (Chris Pratt) is involved in a very tense scene training his raptors from an elevated crosswalk above the raptor paddock (enclosure), when an employee falls below to near certain doom.  Enter the hero/alpha-male. (haha)

Back at the Jurassic World park control center, we learn Jurassic World’s management has decided to help keep park attendance high (and investors investing) by creating new hybrid “attractions”.  This is a topic of concern for Owen, who has been asked to inspect the paddock (or housing enclosure) for their newest upcoming hybrid attraction, the gigantic Indominus Rex.  It was believed the Indominus Rex had escaped the enclosure as the thermal sensors used to monitor her were not detecting her presence.  Little did they know they could not see her because of the hybrid DNA they gave her.  Using the DNA of a tree frog she was able to lower her body temperature which led to her appearing invisible to the thermal sensors.  She also received the DNA of a cuttlefish which gave her some amazing camouflaging abilities by chromatically blending her skin into her surroundings.  Anyhow, minutes later, Indominus is on the loose and the hunt is on to find and catch the new dinosaur who is killing other dinosaurs for sport.

From this point there is a bulk of very exciting dinosaur chaos that left me on the edge of my seat.  Whether it’s during an attack of the Indominus Rex on a Gyrosphere or a squadron of pteranodons and dimorphodons snatching up park patrons, my eyes were constantly glued to the screen.

The story winds down as Owen is forced by InGen’s head of security to comply with the decision to use Owen’s velociraptors to try and hunt down Indominus Rex before she reaches the parks Main Street area, which is where the parks 21,000 patrons are resting/recovering while the park is on “lock down”.  As that thrilling chase comes to an end we find Owen, Claire, Zach and Gray back at the center of the park and Indominus Rex just recently arrived.  Despite the help of a few velociraptors, our dino-heroes find themselves overwhelmed by the Indominus’ might.  This brings Claire to a move of desperation as she has the control center release the Tyrannosaurs Rex (this is the very same T-rex from the first movie) from its enclosure (the shot of this is simply perfect).  The battle that ensues is nothing less than utterly epic and leaves you wanting more.

Okay, so I have said plenty and don’t want to say so much that you don’t see the movie, however, for the record, the story was well written.

***ATTENTION – THERE ARE NO MORE SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT***

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The Special Effects

So obviously summer movies are known for their amazing special effects and this movie should be no different.  The practical effects were a little less used but I believe it worked for the betterment of the film.  Where the practical effects were not used, computer graphics easily made up for that absence.

In my opinion, Jurassic World should definitely be up for an Oscar nomination for special/CGI effects.  Just breathtaking.

That’s A Wrap

Does the movie stand up to the great film that Jurassic Park was some 22 years ago?  In my opinion yes!  We finally got a worthy sequel.  It might not have a super clever moment, like learning how dinosaur cloning all began with a mosquito unearthed in frozen amber however, it still has the same level of exciting dino-excitement that Jurassic Park is known for.  Honestly, the only part I wish was slightly different was a kiss that could have been setup a little better.  When that is my only complaint, then I know I have just seen a great movie.  Well done Universal Studios… now update your Jurassic Park ride at Islands of Adventure.

Am I a fan of Jurassic World?  Most definitely, yes!  I thought the movie was very well made with a great story being played out by some very talented actors/actresses.  The special effects were second to none and I am dying to see the sequel (it should definitely happen).

Nothing against Furious 7 or Avengers: Age of Ultron, but for me, Jurassic World is this summer’s top film so far and yes, I will definitely be getting this on blu-ray when it is available.

Well, if my article wasn’t enough to convince you then perhaps the trailer might do so.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Jurassic World Official Trailer

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!!

Well, that’s all for now.  Be sure to come back for more reviews and movie news coming soon.  Thanks for reading… now get out there and enjoy the summer movies! – JDM

Jurassic World

running time: 124 minutes

rating : PG-13

release date: June 15, 2015

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