starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong and Irrfan Khan
screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly and Colon Trevorrow
directed by Colin Trevorrow
I saw this one in a Galaxy Cineplex in Canada during my summer vacation. It was great. It was a Sunday matinee and the theater was only about 10% full. Jurassic World deliberately parallels the plot of Jurassic Park (1993). (Has it been more than twenty years already? My God!) Most of the characters in Jurassic World have parallels in the first movie, and the story is basically the same, except now it’s bigger, better, faster, scarier. One actor, B.D. Wong, reprises his role as geneticist Dr. Henry Wu, the scientist responsible for re-creating live dinosaurs from recovered DNA fragments. He is the only actor from the original film.
The Ingen corporation has rebuilt a much bigger theme park on the Costa Rican Isla Nublar, site of the original Jurassic Park created by John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough, 1923-2014). The scope, science, engineering and financing of it are incredible. It’s like Disney World mixed with NASA.
1993 Characters Parallel 2015 Characters
John Hammond Simon Masrani / Claire Dearing
Alan Grant Owen Grady
Ellie Sattler Claire Dearing
Donald Gennaro Vic Hoskins
Ian Malcolm Owen Grady
Lex Murphy Zach Mitchell
Tim Murphy Gray Mitchell
Dennis Nedry Lowery Cruthers
Dr. Henry Wu Dr. Henry Wu
Some of the characters are somewhat combined. For example, I feel that the character of entrepreneur John Hammond is shared by park owner Simon Masrani and his administrator Claire Dearing in the new film. But as the female romantic lure Claire simultaneously substitutes for paleontologist Ellie Sattler in the original picture.
The original picture had some comedy sprinkled through it, especially in Jeff Goldblum’s character Ian Malcolm who had a disposition to fire of witty zingers that proved correct. But Jurassic World is liberally decorated with humor throughout. There are running gags: deliberate and obvious foreshadowing, bantering dialogue (“If we evacuate we’ll never reopen,” “Your boyfriend is a real badass.”), and the Jimmy Fallon safety video on one of the park rides. Every reassurance Jimmy gives of safety from potential dangers proves unfounded and the dangers actually occur. Things break and people run away screaming with Jimmy’s faint voice in the background broadcasting the persistent boast of the safety features of the park. Like Ian Malcom said in 1993, “Life will find a way.” The lesson is that the dinosaurs are living things, not machines and they successfully defy all human efforts at control. Nature is uncontrollable, and human hubris will always be our downfall.
Nature is uncontrollable, and human hubris will always be our downfall.
As soon as Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) opens his mouth I knew he deserved to be eaten alive by a dinosaur. Thankfully, that’s exactly what happens. Hoskins argues with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the park’s chief animal trainer, about ways to take commercial advantage - i.e. military applications - of trained dinosaurs: primarily the infamous Velociraptors from the first two films. It’s similar to how the United States’ Navy once tried to train porpoises and dolphins for military applications. To Hoskins’ eyes the raptors appear under human control. But Grady knows that isn’t so. Hoskins is secretly partnering with Dr. Wu much as Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) did in the first movie in 1993. Dennis stole dinosaur embryos to sell to a competitor for profit while Hoskins and Wu are interested in bigger, better, scarier animals for profit - Hoskins dreaming of the military and Wu just dreaming of the money and the academic prestige. Dr. Wu is the vehicle for the frankest expression of the park’s purpose: to make money by cynically creating artificial (genetically manipulated) attractions to amaze the public. Dr. Wu knows that the park’s animals are not authentic dinosaurs - a point highlighted by Drs. Grant and Malcolm back in the first film in 1993 but conveniently forgotten or ignored by the likes of John Hammond and Vic Hoskins. In the opening of Jurassic Park III (2001) Dr. Grant makes the point that what John Hammond created were theme park attractions, nothing more. The real dinosaurs exist now only as fossils in the rock and it is in the rock - not the lab - that real scientists make real discoveries.
The hero of this movie is the Tyrannosaurus rex who is released from his pen to fight the Indominus rex, a completely artificial super dinosaur created by Dr. Wu by combining Tyrannosaurus DNA with Velociraptor DNA to create a more profitable theme park attraction. While Spinosaurus Egypticus was the villain in Jurassic Park III, in Jurassic World it’s the Indominus rex. Throughout the film I was waiting for the T.rex to appear. Not using him was unimaginable.