Welcoming my guest reviewer for Jurassic World, my friend and colleague from GoreZone (back in the day) Sian Jennifer Smith.
But first, a little bit about the lady herself.....
Sian Jennifer Smith hails from Pontypridd, South Wales. Sian has a passion for music and has worked to promote grass roots, national and international bands for over 10 years. She has hosted international battle of the band festivals, written for magazines and webzines and had a regular show on a local radio station. Until recently, Sian owned a community pub where her love of live music helped to reinvigorate a previously failing business. She is currently on the look-out for new challenges and opportunities.
And now - let's get to the review.....
By Siân Jennifer Smith
When the news officially broke that there was going to be a fourth addition to the Jurassic Park franchise, nobody could’ve been more excited than me. Ever since I saw the Tyrannosaurus Rex gulping down that poor goat for the first time back in 1993 (scaring the living bejeesus out of an innocent seven year old me), I’ve been hooked and it’s stayed firm in my top three favourite films; I had to see the new instalment to the franchise on its day of release. As the music built up steadily, bursting into that unforgettable theme song penned by the genius composer John Williams, shivers ran up and down my spine. I and every other person in that sold out IMAX screening were being re-immersed back into a world where “if something chases you, [you] run”.
I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to like Jurassic World: The Lost World wasn’t a patch on the original release and Jurassic Park III was, quite frankly, embarrassing at times. Years ago I’d heard a rumour that the film was going to feature the dinosaurs as weapons; I hated the thought of the franchise going in this direction, it was too sci-fi for me. Then the trailer was released and we see weird futuristic glass mechanical balls and a whole new set of characters: no Dr. Grant or Dr. Malcolm to save the day. I could have cried.
Set 22 years after the original Jurassic Park was closed down, Jurassic World, the dinosaur park originally dreamt up by bonkers billionaire John Hammond, has been fully functioning for years without incident. It isn’t explained what happened to the dinosaurs that were left to run wild on Isla Nubar at the end of the first film, but let’s assume no animals were harmed in the making of this attraction..! The story focuses primarily on a new genetic hybrid ‘dinosaur’, the Indominable Rex. Due to be introduced to the public area of the park presently, disaster strikes as the mish-mash animal uses its genetic make-up to its advantage to fool the park’s security systems and break free of its enclosure to run riot on Isla Nubar. As our beloved Dr. Malcolm once said, “life finds a way”.
There are plenty of sub-themes going on this film to keep viewers’ minds racing: the rumour I’d heard about the dinosaurs being used as weapons was almost true: enter new JP hotty, ex-Naval Officer Owen Grady, played by Chris Pratt. Owen is employed at the park to train the dinosaurs, specifically the Velociraptors, for an InGen experiment. Linked strongly to this is a very familiar theme to JP fans: control. Man vs animal, nature vs science, learning to expect the unexpected. This seems an appropriate time to introduce the other new JP hotty, control freak park manager Claire Dearing, played spectacularly by Bryce Dallas Howard. Seeing her character transform from stiff, unlikeable office bitch to kick-ass, sexy, protective aunt was a pleasure to watch (and I am incredibly jealous of how well she runs in stilettos).
I was delighted to see so many throwbacks to the older films: from obvious insertions such as the original visitor centre and those goofy night vision goggles, to more subtle repetitions: did anyone else spot Dr. Malcolm’s autobiography in the control room? There were plenty more, but this is not a spoiler feature. I was also very happy to see the return of Dr. Henry Wu, the original lead scientist from the first film who hadn’t previously got the recognition on the big screen that he had done in the books written by Michael Crichton. Finally, it was a relief that the dinosaurs in this film did not ‘age’ the dinosaurs that we saw 23 years ago. The roars and the squeals were the same sounds, the general physical appearance of the dinosaurs was very similar – a very impressive seamless transition to 21st century film making.
I remain bitterly disappointed that there were no cameo appearances from any of our favourite heroes; I was expecting Dr. Grant to appear in some form right until the very end. However, with the introduction of Owen and Claire, as well as her adorable nephews Gray and Zach and a host of other quirky characters, we have an intriguing new cast that I hope will re-appear in future releases. The story has certainly been left wide open for follow-up films: I’m not sure how many more times InGen can make the mistake of trying to launch a family fun park so as much as it pains me to even think it, perhaps the experiment I mentioned previously could prove a base storyline for a new film, launching the Jurassic Park franchise into a new direction: watch this space!
Overall, Jurassic World was definitely worth the wait. This is a strong addition to the Jurassic Park franchise which, although does not surpass the original, it does come a very close second. Believable characters, strong storylines, plenty of connections with the previous films… I don’t think it’s too bold to suggest that Michael Crichton would have been very proud with this latest creation.
Bring on JP 5!
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