Journey 178: Jurassic World

Twenty-two years ago, I saw Jurassic Park, and marveled with other movie goers over the special effects that brought dinosaurs to life on the big screen. Although the sequels were decent enough, neither had the surprise factor or the visual impact that the first movie did. Today, my mom and sister Linda accompanied me to see the long awaited new installment in this franchise…Jurassic World. Enough time has passed that we were ready to venture back into the world of genetically modified dinosaurs.

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Jurassic World stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson. The action/sci-fi was directed by Colin Trevorrow. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and peril and has a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Set 22 years after the disaster at Jurassic Park, the improved theme park on Isla Nublar is open and doing well. The park is full of new, genetically modified dinosaurs. Although attendance has been good at Jurassic World, the number of attendees has steadily declined in the past decade. As park operations manager Claire Dearing (Howard) explains to future investors, people are no longer impressed with dinosaurs. They want to see something bigger, more fierce, more menacing. With that in mind,  InGen, the park’s in house lab facility, has created the next exciting attraction at Jurassic World….the Indominus Rex.

However, prior to unveiling this newest “asset”, as the dinosaur is referred to, the park’s owner and CEO, Simon Masrani (Khan), has some concerns. He asks Claire to have former US Navy man and the park’s raptor researcher, Owen Grady (Pratt), to take a look at the facility housing the Indominus Rex, and evaluate both the structure and the dinosaur.

Claire and Owen have a strained relationship. She is an organizer, a numbers person, cool, detached and very business-like. Owen is flirtatious, humorous, easy going, but very serious when it comes to dinosaurs. He is working with the park’s raptors and has trained them to respond to commands given by him. He has become more than their trainer. Owen is the Alpha, the leader of the raptor pack. His work has captured the attention of Vic Hoskins (D’Onofrio), chief of security at the park, who believes the raptors have potential for use as military weapons.

jurassic world indominus rex

Owen and Claire stand in the observation area of the Indominus Rex habitat, watching for her, but she appears to have escaped. Alarmed, Claire heads to the control room to search for the dinosaur’s whereabouts by way of her implanted tracking device. Owen and two park workers enter the habitat, and are ambushed by the dinosaur. Owen escapes but the workers are killed. The newest dinosaur in the park crashes through the wall of her enclosure and the havoc and killing begins.

Claire’s young nephews, Zack (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins) are visiting the park. While their aunt is busy with the investors and park business, the boys slip away from Claire’s assistant and enjoy the many rides and attractions at the park. They are in the gyro-spheres when an emergency shut-down of the park is put into effect. The boys, who have wandered off track, have their own encounters with Indominus Rex and must use every bit of the ingenuity and courage that they possess to survive and get back to the main park.

It’s beast versus man as Indominus Rex runs amok, killing for the pleasure of it, learning to adapt and threatening thousands of people who are trying to flee the island. Claire and Owen, with his raptor pack, must bring this asset down, or risk the loss of many lives and the future of the park.

This was a fun movie to watch, although there were long sequences of intense action that made me jumpy! There was a parallel between what Claire told the investors, about people being used to seeing dinosaurs, so they wanted bigger, meaner beasts, and the film itself. Indominus Rex was the solution to raise attendance at the park. She was intended to be the solution for the movie as well, for we who are familiar with the Jurassic Park films have seen dinosaurs roaming the valleys of the island, interacting with people. And we’ve seen the T-Rex in action as the big bad boy of the film, while the raptors were the sneaky villains. We, too, are used to dinosaurs.

Jurassic World had to bring more than the surprise value of living behemoths and a few rogue dinosaurs hunting people down. It brought a bigger, meaner, smarter, more adaptable dinosaur….it brought indominus…which means “fierce, untamable”. It brought the surprise of the raptor pack, those sneaky dinosaurs, working with humans. Did the film deliver? Some don’t think so. Some do.

I enjoyed the movie, as pure entertainment. It brought back nostalgia, as soon as the familiar theme music played. There were similarities between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World…a young sister and a brother on their own, endangered by dinosaurs….and two young brothers facing the same threat, and in each film, a strong single woman and a knowledgeable man who are attracted to each, eventually, as they work together to save people’s lives. I believe the similarities were intentional, to bridge the two films, and to remind the audience of all that they loved about the original movie.

I found the special effects to be very good. And some surprises unfolded, one of which elicited an out loud exclamation from me! I’ll just say, beware the resident Mosasaurus in the murky water. That thing is huge! It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, with my mom and sister, watching an action packed movie. And if there’s ever a real Jurassic World Theme Park….you can bet….I won’t be there! I know how it goes. Those dinosaurs never stay in their enclosures!

jurassic world park

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