Film review: Jurassic World – Was it worth the wait?

Can you believe it’s been 14 years since genetically modified dinosaurs rampaged across our screens in Joe Johnston’s underwhelming Jurassic Park III?

After being stuck in development hell for over a decade, Steven Spielberg handpicked indie director Colin Trevorrow to helm the fourth instalment of the popular adventure franchise, Jurassic World, but can it return the much-loved series to form?

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World (2015). Photo:  Universal Pictures

Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World (2015). Photo: Universal Pictures

Man of the moment Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village), Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3) and Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past) lead a cast of characters in a visually spectacular film that whilst paying homage to 1993’s Jurassic Park, lacks a little of the original’s soul.

Jurassic World is now a fully functioning theme park taken over from John Hammond’s InGen by Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan in a pleasingly comedic performance). Welcoming over 20,000 visitors a day, the park sees the need to create something bigger, louder and with more teeth to sustain visitor interest – the Indominus Rex.

Naturally, this doesn’t go quite to plan.

The performances from all of the cast are on-point with Bryce Dallas Howard being a particular highlight. There were worries that her ability would match Tea Leoni from Jurassic Park III rather than Laura Dern’s brilliant Ellie Sattler from the original. Thankfully, this isn’t the case.

Her story arc is particularly intriguing if predictable with her uptight corporate image being shed throughout the film’s succinct 123 minute running time.

Chris Pratt proves why he is the man every director wants to work with. His less comedic side comes out in Jurassic World and proves that he has the acting chops to go with his good looks.

Vincent D’Onofrio stars as the obligatory villain but his side story is never really explored – possibly setting up for a sequel should the film perform well at the box office and with it making up 90% of global ticket sales this weekend, things look promising.

Music wise, Jurassic World treads a very careful path. Make no mistake, this is a standalone movie, but the references to the original are there for all to hear. Michael Giacchino, one of the best composers of the moment, takes over from Don Davis of Jurassic Park III and provides the series with its best score since John Williams’ original.

Special effects too are top notch with the park looking stunning and the dinosaurs, on the whole, faring the same way. There are a couple of moments where things start to look a little video game like, but this never takes away from the beauty of this film.

Unfortunately, whilst the last 30 minutes are breath-taking, edge of your seat stuff, it’s difficult to differentiate Jurassic World from the plethora of high budget blockbusters that litter the cinema these days, and whilst Trevorrow chooses references to the original carefully, it lacks a little of that film’s soul and ultimately charm.

Overall, Jurassic World is better than the majority of blockbusters that have come and gone from cinemas over the last year and it tops The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III to become a sequel worthy of the original.

Yes it’s not perfect, with the gorgeous finale lacking substance, but after waiting 14 years it comes pretty darn close and will no doubt be, along with Star Wars: Episode VII, one of the most memorable films of the noughties.

Do you remember seeing Jurassic Park for the first time? That’s the question everyone asks, and whilst Jurassic World won’t be making anywhere near the same impact, it’s a film worthy of the brand.

Jurassic World (2015) Rating: 8/10