High Heels and Dinosaurs
Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, B. D. Wong, Jake Johnson, Katie McGrath, Lauren Lapkus and Judy Greer
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Scriptwriters: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow based on characters by Michael Crichton
Cinematographer: John Schwartzman
Composer: Michael Giacchino with themes by John Williams
Rating: PG 13 for violence, children in danger and scenes that may cause vertigo
Running Length: 125 minutes
Once we get past the halfway mark in “Jurassic World,” and nods to various “Jurassic Park” films (even “Jaws”) with Steven Spielberg as a producer for “Jurassic World,” too, the movie goes into an inventive mode and that’s when you hold on to your arm rests and get ready for a ride. If your favorite actor of late is Chris Pratt ( headlining” Guardians of the Galaxy”), this is when Pratt goes into action mode and does his thing with a sideways smirk. Channing Tatum in “Jupiter Ascending” does this type of hero better, but they are alike in being creative with what they have to fight the enemy, either from another galaxy or from another gene pool. “Jurassic World” had my attention in 3 D.
It has been 22 years since Michael Crichton’s novel, “Jurassic Park” became a film and wowed audiences. Who can forget Sam Neill and Laura Dern staring upward as a brontosaurus sauntered by oblivious to the humans. The idea of using DNA to reproduce species was at beginning stages. In “Jurassic World,” John Hammond’s (the late Richard Attenborough) theme park on Isla Nublar (island off Costa Rica) is in full swing, having re-opened with mucho safety precautions and is THE theme park to visit. Good-bye Disney. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard who wears white and runs in high heels) is the manager, with Vic (Vincent D’Onofrio) as the head of security who has his own agenda here. Dr. Wu (B. D. Wong from the original film) is the head geneticist and there are secrets everywhere. Claire has nephews visiting (trouble looms), and they are Gray (Ty Simpkins as the older brother) and Zach (Nick Robinson as the younger brother.) Claire's assistant, Zara (Katie McGrath) ends up being a babysitter. Claire reluctantly relies on Owen (Chris Pratt) for assistance, but really he trains Velociraptors as someone would train dogs. Owen’s friend is Barry (Omar Sy) who also works with the raptors. He does it for knowledge, while Vic wants them for other purposes. The person with the money for this entire operation is Simon Masrani (Masrani Corporation and played eloquently by Irrfan Khan). A running joke here is his learning to fly a helicopter. “Why bother with a pilot? I can do it myself…..” And the unexpected happens, as it always does, which puts staff, the nephews, other animals and the we-never-saw-this-coming tourists. What happened in “Jurassic World” and succeeding films, happens here, but with a twist to update the action. Have your popcorn finished at half-time. The big one is an “Indominus rex,” and is a created animal who discovers freedom and runs amok. They ran out of gene pools here.
As far as acting, the cast does well, especially the brothers who think they are free in a park and find out someone wants them for lunch. Their adventure in a plastic bubble-car is a highlight of the film (and update of a situation in the original film.) Vincent D’Onofrio does the villain by shouting, while Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Omar Sy do their characterizations quietly. Howard’s Claire is a modern woman in charge of a large facility, but she wears white throughout the film and runs in high heels, mud and all, while Chris Pratt’s gear seems borrowed from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The theme of the film, besides destruction and havoc, is family time and those moments are in the right place.
Why re-do and re-start “Jurassic Park?” A good writer just can't get away from gene splicing, taming the wild and educating dinosaurs (remember what happened in the “Planet of the Apes” films?) There was a “Twilight Zone” episode of long ago that had humans traveling to an intelligent reptile planet, but in order to do so, the humans had to be temporarily changed into dinosaurs by a special machine. Maybe that’s next here. Or there could always be a comet passing by that ignites the reptiles again.
Michael Giacchino’s music score is part John Williams “Jurassic Park” theme and part what you would expect to have and it is not overpowering but adds to the action. Special effects are fine and not cumbersome as in “San Andreas.” The design of the Park is inventive, and transportation by circular plastic-ball cars. There is a water show and a hologram show. What fun if you don't know what lurks behind everything.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner
For another Chris Pratt film review, see the following: