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Review: ‘Jurassic World’ – a sequel with bite

Review: 'Jurassic World' – a sequel with biteAnother sequel to the astonishing thrill-ride that was ‘Jurassic Park’? Twenty-two years after the original was released? How can that possibly work?

The answer is: very well indeed.

The characters are stock disaster-movie fodder (literally, in some cases). There’s the tough-but-tender hero, Owen (Chris Pratt); a couple of bickering siblings, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins); Dr Wu, a scientist who can’t see how his work can possibly go wrong (BD Wong); and Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), a cut-out-and-boo military type who’d like to put trained velociraptors on the front line. There’s also Bryce Dallas Howard, playing career-woman Claire, the park’s Head of Sales – scripted as so unfeeling and remote she doesn’t even remember how old her nephews are. Hey, she’s chosen to have a career rather than a family, she must be devoid of any familial emotions, right? The sexism is a jarring note, her relationship with Owen unconvincing; but once we meet the film’s true stars – the scarily realistic dinosaurs – the human stories become a secondary interest.

John Hammond’s theme-park vision has been realised by his successor, Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), and ship-loads of eager tourists are now flocking to see the park’s ‘assets’. There’s lots to see – trained velociraptors who recognise Owen as their ‘alpha’; a T-Rex; an aviary filled with pterodactyls; gentle brontosaurs roaming the hills; and an aquatic show where a shark is merely the titbit used to lure the 60-foot mosasaurus out of the water for a snack. There’s even a ‘petting zoo’.

But Joe Public is a demanding creature, forever demanding ‘Bigger! Better! Faster! Scarier!’

So the scientists at Jurassic World have used Genetic Modification to create the biggest, nastiest, smartest dinosaur ever. They’ve called her ‘Indominus Rex’, and she ate her own sibling by way of a taster while she was growing up. She’s now bigger and toothier than a T-Rex, and is ready to meet the public for the first time. There’s just one last check to do on her secure enclosure…

Which is (of course) where things start to go horribly wrong. Owen and Claire set off to find her nephews, who are lost in the remotest part of the island and running for their lives. Tension builds, bones crunch, blood spatters, and scares come from land, air and water.

Along the way, there are many references to the first film, some of them obvious, some more subtle, all of which are clearly done with love and respect for the original.

“Do you think this will scare the kids?” Masrani is asked, when he’s shown the dinosaur his money has helped create.

“I think it will scare their parents!” he replies.

He’s not wrong!

(Editor’s Note: See the opposing view here.)

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