Movie Review: Jurassic World

By Edwin Davies

June 18, 2015

Feed me, Seymour.

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Twenty-two years ago, a man named John Hammond had a dream. A dream of opening a park filled with dinosaurs, resurrected by the wonders of science, and open for all the world to see. That dream went tragically sour when the actions of a rogue employee led to the park's security measures failing, several deaths, and the apparent abandonment of Isla Nublar to its prehistoric inhabitants. Yet the magic of Hammond's vision - and its undeniable potential for huge profits - meant that people would try again, so now his park - renamed Jurassic World, no doubt as a canny bit of rebranding to move away from that whole rampaging dinosaurs thing - is a glistening hybrid of Disney World and SeaWorld.

Now that the park is up and running, however, it has to make money, and the pursuit of higher revenues has led its corporate masters to push for the creation of new dinosaurs to wow the crowds. Since no one in these movies ever heeds the old adage about people not learning from history, or considers Ian Malcolm's spiel about "could" and "should," things with their new super-dinosaur go about as well as you might expect.


There are a number of scenes in Jurassic World, the third sequel to Steven Spielberg's original blockbuster, where the characters take surprisingly self-lacerating jabs at the very existence of the film they're in. One scene in particular finds Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the Operations Manager of this modern, ultra-sleek version of John Hammond's dream, talking to potential sponsors about how visitors to the park get bored of seeing the same old dinosaurs over and over, so they have to create new ones by lashing together DNA of multiple species, giving the crowds bigger scares and "more teeth" for the price of admission. It's a surprisingly pointed acknowledgment on the part of director and co-writer Colin Trevorrow of what his job is as the man behind the fourth film in a massive franchise. We've all seen what a T. Rex can do (and it's hard to find Velociraptors all that scary after you've seen Sam Neill placate them by blowing into a skull) so what choice does Trevorrow have but to invent new dinosaurs like the Indominus Rex?

In a later scene, Lowery (Jake Johnson), a member of the crew that monitors the operations of the park, mocks the notion of letting corporations sponsor dinosaurs by asking if they will some day play host to the majestic Doritodon, all while wearing a vintage Jurassic Park shirt that he bought from Ebay. Considering that the film very prominently displays the Beats headphones worn by Zach (Nick Robinson), one of two brothers who are sent to Jurassic World to visit Claire, their aunt, by their troubled parents (Judy Greer and Andy Buckley) so they can spend some time together, and features dozens of shots of smooth-running, dinosaur-evading Mercedes vehicles, it's hard not to read this as an expression of frustration. Having made a splash with his debut, the independent, sci-fi inflected romance Safety Not Guaranteed, Trevorrow's swapped a world of scrabbling for funding for one where he has to make sure Starbucks and Pandora and Coca-Cola get their moment to shine amidst the carnage.

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