Chris Pratt will make you want to hug him instead of your neighbor during the many guaranteed-to-grab moments in Jurassic World. IMAX has never looked so good and been so powerful. Twenty-two years in the creation, Costa Rica's Isla Nublar now has a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, the pet project of John Hammond for his monster pets. Because attendance has been on the decline, scientists have created a new creature to be fawned over, but early on in Jurassic World things begin to smell rotten in Isla Nublar.
A new prehistoric terror is created in the Aviary and much bedlam pursues as flying beasts light up the Costa Rican skies and devour. It seems usually larger people are the targets of terror or undesirable souls, and thus the plot can be predictable, but Jurassic World keeps a lid on predictability and still gets you to jump due to unexpected "yikes" moments.
One of the more terrifying moments is when a gigantic living fish is fed to a gargantuan-sized shark in Jurassic World's pool surrounded by paid visitors who watch the death of the fish at the jaws of the shark with applause, amusement and vulgar glee. "Too much," I said to my friend as I watch the horror of the delight in the patrons of the park as the fish was killed. Later I realized this was the point of the entire film. Steven Spielberg, who directed the first two Jurassic Parks,, co-produced this dinosaur of a film along with Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley. Together they have generated caring feelings for the mammals, animals, reptiles et al, Hence Jurassic World is more than a monster movie.
Bryce Dallas Howard is the darling zoo keeper to the dinos, and stunning at that. Her transformation from fastidious bureauocrat to warrior out-to-save-the-park is spot on. Pity her eye makeup had to come along for the journey. In the final scenes her natural beauty radiates, but throughout a large part of the film, she manages to have perfect makeup while running for her life and trying to protect Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) from the danger that turns them on. The most disturbing scene of Ms. Howards is of no fault of her own. The director Colin Trevorrow who does a masterful job except for one slight flaw -- his choice of posing the beauteous Ms. Howard as though she were a poster girl modeling for a calendar amidst the monstrous dinosaurs much like Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. This pose imposed upon Ms. Howard makes a really frightening part of this film downright silly.
The children in danger about whom we are to really care are Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson, and while they perform their acting chores adequately, a cuddly let's-really-protect-these- cherubs-from-being-eaten-by-the-big-bad-dinos quality is lacking in their personas.
Iffran Kahn, best remembered for his stellar performance in Life of Pi, plays Masrani who is nobly running Jurassic World against Hoskins portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio with the necessary evil though his big bad wolf character could have been a bit more menacing. When Masrani is flying in a helicopter to hunt for the creepy dino on the loose unfortunately, his expressive eyes are hidden behind dark sun glasses so intimacy with Mr. Kahn's wide array of emotions is limited
A delightful scene between two employees Lauren Lapkus and Jake Johnson who feel close yet must separate due to the impending doom of this bizarre play land for prehistoric pets is charming and well written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Their wit comes at an appropriate moment and adds a youthful and hip feel to the dialogue which until this moment is let's-move-the-plot-along-rapidly-so-the-dinos-can-show-off kind of writing.
But it is Chris Pratt who along with the special effects combine to pull this film together into one big fun fest if a good scare will do ya. And Chris Pratt is oh-so-handsome and with the kind of good looks that make you just yearn for him to be the one to rescue you from an island infested with prehistoric creatures who haven't eaten for centuries.
In the mid-seventies I had the privilege of being invited to see Imax at a planetarium in San Diego by a friend, Dean Tavoularis, who was Francis Ford Coppola's production designer. Coppola was inspecting the technology as he wanted to film Apocalypse Now in IMAX, but he concluded it was too expensive to install cameras in movie theatres. Bravo to technology which has advanced to allow us the awesome experience of seeing not a war between men but a war between man and mammals et al which is the heart of this story. Warning! Jurassic World could turn you into a vegetarian.