In a way that few can, Natalie Bassingthwaite proved how celebrities can both be unwaveringly polite and sum up a movie all in one sentence, even before anyone has taken their seats. Mumbling, ‘Sorry guys,’ as I shuffled through a row of scrunched knees to my seat, Ms Bassingthwaite’s chirpy reply of ‘That’s alright!’ seemed a fitting commentary by the end of the film. Indeed, director Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World is alright. Not mind-blowing, not underwhelming. Just a good, upbeat, entertaining alright.
And who could go wrong with Chris Pratt anyway. As much as I would like to have seen him pull out the character of Andy Dwyer in this film (or maybe Burt Macklin), his sturdy, wisecracking, raptor-whispering Owen (in effect, a down-to-earth Star Lord) is still a decent hero to build a flick around. He’s no Jeff Goldblum, and he’s no Sam Neill—but he’s somewhere in the middle. Which is adequate.
As far as plot goes, do you remember the first Jurassic Park? Well, it’s a lot like that. But the writers—Trevorrow, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Derek Connolly—have made some noticeable upgrades. Time has advanced quite a way, and instead of a few visitors, there are hordes, as the park, now Jurassic World, has long since opened. And instead of cheery old John Hammond trying to convince the lawyer it’s safe (Richard Attenborough is irreplaceable, in that respect), it’s the striking Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) trying to keep the financiers happy and negotiating the visit of her two nephews. To top it off, instead of the T-Rex escaping, a new hybrid dinosaur—the frightening genome of which is a mystery—has escaped. This new monster kills everything in its path, and there are few situations it can’t think, claw or eat its way out of.
This may not be the most original concept, but really, there’s only so much plotwise you can do with an island full of dinosaurs. Sooner or later, someone’s gonna get eaten. And people deserve to be able to watch and eat popcorn while it happens – as perverse as that sounds.
Honestly, this is just great lighthearted fun. The action is engaging and thrilling, the CGI impressive and the cast generally impressive. Bryce Dallas Howard is a pleasure on screen, demonstrating an appealing chemistry with Pratt, and Jake Johnson pitches in for an amusing bit part in the command centre.
A little more suspense would have been nice, a bit less of the resounding orchestra would have been appreciated, and a few more memorable kills – a la toilet man, Samuel L Jackson’s arm – could have added that little something. But, to the writers’ credit, it’s never boring.
And, regardless, what in the end do we kids at heart actually come to see?
Dinofight! Come one, there’s really no point denying it.
Jurassic World will be in Australian cinemas from June 11 through Universal Pictures.