The latest in the franchise doesn't quite capture the charm of the original, but with plenty of nods to the first film, eye-popping visuals and intense action scenes, you'll be thoroughly entertained to the end.
I really liked the first Jurassic Park film, like so many others, and I'm an even bigger fan of the book. So when rumours started circulating a few years ago that another film was in the works, I was pretty excited. Naturally, Spielberg wanted to ensure that the screenplay would be great, no doubt wanting to avoid a repeat of Jurassic Park III, so for many years production of Jurassic World was held up by several rewrites.
The film is set twenty-two years after the incident in the first film. InGen has been bought out by Masrani Global, which has achieved what the former never did: a theme park home to living dinosaurs.
The filmmakers were of course in with a huge challenge. In 1993, viewers were wowed by digitally animated dinosaurs at a time when CGI was still relatively new. Now, with the vast majority of big-budget films using at least some CGI, the bar is certainly a lot higher. The writers seem all too aware of this, as the main premise of the film revolves around the creation of a new hybrid dinosaur to impress visitors who are becoming less satisfied with seeing genuine dinosaurs.
Jurassic World contains several of the elements present in the first film. Some are very literal, and long-time fans of the franchise will not be disappointed to see several references to the original. The film also follows the long-running theme of the relationship between humans and nature. Some of the characters have a few lines of dialogue relating to the park's management trying to control animals they don't fully understand, but this point is never really expanded upon, which is something that would have perhaps been nice. However, much of this theme is portrayed through character and plot development, so I can understand why the writers didn't feel it necessary.
The film benefits hugely from the intervening fourteen years since the last film in relation to the development of VFX and CGI. Visually, it is simply stunning. The filmmakers have the opportunity to show us a fully operational theme park, and boy do they deliver. With broad sweeping shots of the park from the air the filmmakers illustrate the amount of work that the park's owners have put in since work on the resort began. Clearly a huge amount of effort on the part of the design team was put into the design and layout of the resort itself, and it is very easy to believe that this is the genuine article. The show involving the Mosasaurus was one we got to see in particular detail, and it genuinely looked and felt like a real theme park attraction.
As you might expect, action scenes abound in this film, and my are they intense. Once the action began, I was totally gripped. Tension is well built through the second act, and consistently sustained throughout the third with a combination of action and achingly painful silences. As a 12A (PG-13 in the US), you're never going to get much in the way of blood, but much is implied, and it's easy to feel like you're there in the thick of it, experiencing the same horror as that of the characters. This is combined with some well-written and well-timed humour that provides some momentary light-relief, with the end result being a film that grips but doesn't crush you.
Overall Jurassic World is a highly polished and worthy successor to the previous films. Whilst it never quite matches the charm of the original, its high production values, solid screenplay and references to the original make for a highly entertaining and thrilling summer blockbuster.