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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Movie review: Jurassic World, dir Colin Trevorrow (2015)

The echoes of the original film in this franchise are multiple but give a team of creatives enough computers and enough money and they will put together an entirely new experience. This time, the mix is leavened by the addition of Owen (Chris Pratt), a dinosaur-whisperer with an Indy-Jones-type swagger and a knife permanently at his belt, and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park manager, a woman with highly developed leadership skills and a can-do attitude. Then there's the monster, Indomitus Rex, a chemical creation of the park's labs (still headed up by the same BC Wong acting as Dr Henry Wu who starred in the original film, Jurassic Park).

Owen does a nice line in velociraptor training and this skill catches the eye of private defense contractor Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), who aspires to harness the animals' natural abilities and turn them into something that might be marketed to the military. Owen despises him. He therefore meets a suitable end. Also satisfactorily crunched is the park's owner, Masrani (Irrfan Khan), an Indian businessman typically with fingers in many profitable pies. Masrani aspires to be a helicopter pilot and this passion leads to his undoing. He is hardly a likeable character.

More sympathetic from the point of view of your regular movie-going audience are the children of Claire's sister, named Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), who have come to the park on holiday and get caught up in the mayhem that is unleashed once Indomitus Rex starts to realise her true potential. The monster - a hybrid of many dinosaurs, including some velociraptor mixed in - has some interesting talents that were imbued in her during the process of genetic engineering, and which lead to outcomes that developers would probably never have believed possible. It's a case of science getting away with itself - as it was in the original movie - but here the emphasis is more on the tinkering with the code than with the fundamental aspiration of bringing back to life extinct animals.

There's plenty of blood but not a lot of it very disturbing. Some scenes might frighten the susceptible but most of the action is pretty formulaic. Owen as lead and Claire as empowered love interest generate meaningful romantic feelings especially when they verbally spar with each other, so there's stuff here for the girls as well as the guys. For the kids there are plenty of velociraptors and tyrannosauris rex fight scenes to compensate for all the mooshy stuff. And keep an eye on the mosasaurus - pictured here - which deals the fatal coup de grace on the monster. Who definitely deserves to die. She's too smart by half. Not unlike humans.

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