Even though the characters are different in Jurassic World, it’s still a great summer spectacle that wont disappoint fans of the series, because the film doesn’t neglect the foundation that made the originals great.
The narrative centers around two brothers who got an all access pass to Jurassic World from their aunt. When they inevitably wander off the well worn path, they stumble upon one of Ingens experiments gone wrong. A gigantic dinosaur that’s three parts T-rex, two parts raptor and one part… cuddle fish? Anyhow, it’s up to their Aunt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and raptor trainer extraordinaire, Chris Pratt, to save them.
The two of them go off in search of the nephews and for most of the second act Pratt and Howard do the whole Romancing the Stone routine: two people who can’t stand each other are forced to trek through the jungle together. Except neither of them have the foresight to cut the heels off of the bottom of her shoes—I know, I know, it’s nit picky, but when a woman is trying to outrun a T-rex in heels, it takes me out of the film.
While they’re busy falling in love the nephews take a nostalgic stroll through the original Jurassic Park. The abandoned facility is quaint when juxtaposed to the new one, much like the original film is quaint in comparison to the stakes and budget of Jurassic World. The whole scene is a much-needed breather in an otherwise non-stop movie.
Amidst the struggle of these four trying to reunite, we have the park’s resident Baddy, Vincent D’Onofrio, ramping up the chaos as much as possible. The protagonists seem to hate him because he has a mad plan to use the dinosaurs in the park to stop the hybrid. In essence he wants to let nature sort itself out. And though he has personal interests in mind, he’s not wrong. Both times the military tries to take on the hybrid Dino the audience is entreated to a recreation of the hive scene from aliens: Plenty of screams, Flatlines, Jump cuts, and Go-Pros going black. Only the resident raptors at the park seem capable of taking it out.
Although Vincent D’Onofrio’s subplot doesn’t take me out of the film, it does end up weighing it down. The point of the film is not the military versus nature, or even nature teaching man a lesson in respect, all that’s secondary. The heart of the narrative is the reunification of the family unit amidst insurmountable odds.
Don’t believe me?
In the first we follow the arch of Alan Grant, a paleontologist who gets his kicks scaring children with raptor claws and ditching them in jeeps. But through trials and tribulations he takes responsibility for their safety and in the end comes around to the idea of maybe having kids with Laura Dern. They all ride off into the sunset together with Grandpa Hammond and crazy uncle Malcolm—who spends the second film trying to keep his family together. And in the third, William H. Macy and his divorced wife trick Grant into babysitting their lost kid for a weekend at the park.
And this film is no different: The protagonists work together to protect the kids and in doing so they find themselves falling for each other—or sticking together for survival sake, to paraphrase the film. Even the parents of the kids, who are in the film for all of five minutes, seem to decide not to have a divorce. Honestly, InGen should quit the theme park business and go into couples counseling.
Hell, while were at it, let’s have some fun and apply the theme of family to the raptors as well. Throughout the film they flip flop on their allegiance to Chris Pratt as their pack leader. Sometimes they try to eat him and sometimes they listen to him, but by the end of the film they seem to find the true meaning of family and come to his defence. Why? Who cares. Maybe the hybrid Dino had to be punished for going all Cane and Able on his brother.