'Jurassic World' (PG-13) — 3 stars
I wonder what it would take to recapture the magic and awe we all felt the first time we saw "Jurassic Park."
Remember the look on Sam Neill's face when he first saw what had been accomplished on the island — real dinosaurs before his very eyes? Remember the child-like glee of Sir Richard Attenborough as he explained the wonders of the park and proclaimed that he had “spared no expense"? We all shared in the wonder as the original film started to unfold.
Ever since, each sequel has tried to recapture that magic, and each has failed — including "Jurassic World."
Lest you think I’m writing this movie off, this is a film well worth seeing and it’s very entertaining. However, "Jurassic World" succumbs to the pattern of simply making things bigger and scarier so hopefully nobody notices the charm, character development and the storyline are not in the league of the original.
Interestingly enough, that reflects the plot of the movie. "Jurassic World" is up and operational with new management. The terrors of the past have been somehow overcome — with no explanation offered — and the struggle is to keep the park on the cutting edge and introduce new attractions and new creatures to thrill the public. The new management has had success in the past by introducing new species as specific DNA is recovered. But the push is on for something even more spectacular.
Hey, how about a designer dinosaur? Imagine bigger, scarier — it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, right?
Maybe the term should be “crowd eater.”
As for the cast, the highlight is Chris Pratt as Owen, a guy who is busily engaged in training velociraptors—not exactly a wimp. But when he is summoned by the park manager to examine the containment of the park's newest creation, even he is alarmed at what has been unleashed.
Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Claire, the park manager. Her two nephews have just arrived at the park and they’ve evaded their official guide. What could possibly go wrong?
Feeble attempts are made by the supporting cast to fill out the story and add some depth and comic relief, but it falls short. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the plot to weaponize the “dinos.” I can’t even go there.
Of course, you’ve got to see "Jurassic World." It’s worth the price of the ticket. But it sure doesn’t measure up to the original. And with the ramped-up violence, the PG-13 rating is bursting at the seams.