Jurassic World

Jurassic World is a sci-fi thriller film directed by Colin Trevorrow. The fourth film in the Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World was produced by Steven Spielberg’s company Amblin Entertainment and, as the first three films in the series, distributed by Universal Pictures.

Mosasaurus, a huge, 18-metres-long, carnivorous aquatic lizard, is one of the main attractions of the newly opened Jurassic World.

Shortly after the release of Jurassic Park III back in 2001, plans were laid for a sequel. Universal Pictures initially intended to begin work on a fourth film in 2004 for a summer 2005 release, but then the production endured more than a decade of hiatus, as scheduled release dates were pushed back several times, while the script went through multiple radical revisions, none of which satisfied Spielberg, who felt that neither of the drafts balanced the science and adventure elements of the story evenly. Many originally intended scenes and characters were rewritten or left out completely, but the memorable scene in the film that involves characters on motorcycles outrunning raptors (taken from the novel The Lost World), that was proposed by Spielberg already in 2005, was included.

22 years after the events of Jurassic Park, the fictional isolated Costa Rican island of Isla Nublar (that was also the setting for the first film) now features a new, redesigned, state-of-the-art, dinosaur theme park – Jurassic World, populated with cloned dinosaurs.

Gray Mitchell (Ty Simpkins), an ardent fan of dinosaurs, has his wildest dream coming true when he is sent, alongside his older brother Zach (Nick Robinson), to visit the Jurassic World and meet there their aunt, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the theme park’s operations manager. Because Claire is too busy recruiting more corporate sponsors for new dinosaur attractions in order to maintain the park’s attendance, Gray and Zach are given to the care of Claire’s personal assistant Zara (Katie McGrath) who acts as their guide through the impressive, hi-tech dinosaur theme park.

In the meantime, we are introduced to Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), dinosaur researcher working in the park as a trainer of four Velociraptors, whom he knows since they were hatchlings, and who have accepted him as their Alpha male. Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), head of the security, believes the raptors can be successfully trained for military use, but Owen disagrees.

Dinosaur researcher Owen Grady builds up a special relationship with the four Velociraptors (Blue, Charlie, Delta, Echo), who accept him as their Alpha male.

Jurassic World’s CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) sends Owen to evaluate the enclosure of a new exhibit, before it opens to the public. The exhibit in question is ‘Indominus Rex’, a new artificially created dinosaur made from the DNA of not one (as was the case with the other dinosaurs in the park so far), but several predatory dinosaurs, with the gaps in the DNA strands filled with the DNA of modern-day animals such as cuttlefish and tree frogs. The precise genetic makeup of the creature is known only to Dr. Henry Wu (B. D. Wong), the park’s chief geneticist, who keeps the exact combination a trade secret. As the visitors of the park become saturated with the present exhibits, the pressure is on to create something that would satisfy the demand of the public for ever bigger, stronger, scarier dinosaur, and Indominus Rex, bigger than even the king of the CretaceousT-Rex, should be the answer.

While Jurassic World cannot match the first film of the series for its originality, it satisfyingly succeeds in what it sets out to do – which is to entertain audiences.

Owen and Claire, who were once lovers but split over their opposite personalities, inspect the enclosure. The animal is nowhere to be seen and upon closer inspection they notice deep claw marks on one of the walls, leading them into a conclusion that the Indominus Rex has scaled the huge concrete wall and escaped. Owen and two staff enter the enclosure to investigate further, but the dinosaur, who is still in the enclosure, having camouflaged itself courtesy of cuttlefish’s genes, ambushes them. Owen escapes, but the other two men are killed and the Indominus Rex disappears into the island interior.

Masrani orders a specially trained unit to capture the dinosaur alive, but after the rampant creature kills most of the team, Claire realises the seriousness of the situation, and, though reluctantly (as she understands the financial consequences), orders an evacuation of the island.

In the meanwhile, Gray and Zach, who boarded one of the park’s attractions, a gyrosphere – wholly-transparent ball-like autonomous vehicle, to explore the enclosure with the more docile species of dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops, miss the evacuation announcement, wander off-track and encounter the escaped Indominus Rex. The dinosaur tries to get to them, but the boys escape, while the creature keeps busy gorging itself on the gyrosphere. The kids discover the ruins of the original Jurassic Park Visitors Centre, and, after repairing an old visitors’ Jeep (low-tech precursor of the present-day gyrosphere) which they find here, Gray and Zach drive back to the main park where they reunite with Claire and Owen who are by now searching for the boys.

Gray’s dream comes true when he is sent with his older brother Zach to visit the Jurassic World and meet there their aunt, Claire Dearing, the park’s manager.

The Indominus Rex in the meantime makes its way through the park, killing several Apatosauruses and breaking into the park’s aviary as it goes, realising the Pterosaurs within. The winged reptiles seize the unexpected opportunity, escape from the aviary, and fly over the park’s main street where they start picking people at random and cause a massive panic amongst the visitors.

Masrani, who has outfitted his helicopter with a heavy machine gun, attempts to shoot down the rampaging dinosaur from the air, but his plan is cut short when his chopper collides with some of the escaping pterosaurs, causing a crash that kills everybody on board.

With Masrani dead, Hoskins assumes the command and decides to use the raptors to kill the Indominus Rex. Owen, not having another option, goes along with the plan. The raptors follow the Indominus’s scent into the jungle, with Owen keeping up with them on a motorbike, and they soon find and corner the escaped dinosaur. However, the Indominus Rex unexpectedly turns the tables on them as it starts communicating with the raptors. It transpires that Dr. Wu included into the genetic makeup of this artificial creature some of the DNA from Velociraptor (whoops). Velociraptors accept Indominus Rex as their new Alpha (he is, after all, much bigger than Owen) and turn on the humans.

Indominus Rex, a creature made from the DNA of several predatory dinosaurs, was created to satisfy the visitors underwhelmed by the ‘ordinary’ exhibits.

Recognising that they are outnumbered and overpowered, Gray exclaims: “We need more teeth!”, and Claire, suddenly getting the hint, opens the adjacent enclosure and lures out the Jurassic Park’s veteran Tyrannosaurus Rex for a final showdown with the Indominus Rex

So, in the end, all ends well, along the familiar lines: The main hero saves the day and in the process gets the girl. Or, in this case, shouldn’t it be: The main heroine saves the day and in the process gets the boy? Oh well, whatever. But what about the film itself?

Since the most up-to-date interpretation of the fossil records suggests that at least some of the dinosaurs, including the fearsome Velociraptor, had feathers (though the reasons behind their downy coats are less obvious), I was hoping that this revelation will be reflected in the latest film of the Jurassic Park series. Alas, for reasons of continuity, Jurassic World’s producers stuck with the scaly, lizard-like depiction of dinosaurs. This has been explained away by the assertion that the use of amphibian DNA for filling the gaps in the dinosaur DNA (as mentioned in the novel Jurassic Park and its film adaptation) prevented the dinosaurs from growing feathers. In the Jurassic World itself, Dr. Henry Wu says that had they not used amphibian DNA, the dinosaurs “would look very different”, and that they were going for a look that is “cool – not realistic”.

“We need more teeth!” – Claire lures the Jurassic Park’s veteran Tyrannosaurus Rex from his enclosure for a final showdown with the Indominus Rex.

The dinosaurs in the film were created by combination of animatronics and CGI. Animatronic dinosaurs, that included the four raptors, were created by Legacy Effects who also worked on the previous three films, while Industrial Light and Magic returned to create CGI dinosaurs.

More often than not, when an original and successful blockbuster movie has a follow-up, it ends in a total disaster – step forward Kick-Ass 2. This however doesn’t stop some film studios flogging the dead horses of their precious franchises to a shapeless pulp.

Jurassic Park, the critically acclaimed first film of the series, spawned two commercially successful sequels, which were however met with mixed reception from critics and fans alike. While the visually stunning Jurassic World cannot match the first film for its mould-breaking originality and wide cultural impact, it works in its own right as an above-average science fiction thriller, that satisfyingly succeeds in what it sets out to do – which is to entertain the audiences.

It seems that this particular flogged horse, although well knackered, is not entirely dead yet.

TRIVIA: Jurassic World’s Main Street was constructed at the Six Flags theme park in New Orleans, Louisiana, that has been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.