Review - Jurassic World

Jurassic World (2015), PG-13, 124 minutes - Life has been a little crazy over the last month, which has contributed greatly to my lack of blog updates in general and with this post in particular.  Jurassic World hit theaters two weeks ago and has been devouring the competition ever since (it had the largest opening weekend box office total ever).  This was also deemed the film of choice for the annual HeroesCon trip to Charlotte, NC so that delayed my viewing of it by a week.  Judging from the insane amount of money that it has taken in thus far, I'm sure that I'm in the minority in saying that I was underwhelmed by this film.  

I have to admit that I haven't had much motivation to write about Jurassic World in the week since I saw it.   Reviews are the easiest when you either really enjoy or really dislike a film.  They are much harder when you have a ho-hum feeling about them.  Before I completely loose anyone's attention, let me state that Jurassic World is not a bad film.  I can also understand that for those of younger generations, this film very well may have the same awe-inspiring impact on them that the original Jurassic Park did for people my age twenty two years ago.  That being said, for anyone of my generation (or older) who experienced Stephen Spielberg's wonder, Jurassic World will feel like a re-run.  Just about every character or plot point is an analog for one that appeared in that 1993 film, and the parts that aren't are a bit over the top, even for a story involving humans and dinosaurs populating the same remote island of Isla Nublar.  

When this film was announced and in the months since, I really didn't think that I had any expectations for the film.  I absolutely loved Jurassic Park when it came out, and am still having a hard time believing that it has been twenty two years since that phenomenon hit.  I really like the cast - Chris Pratt (Owen), Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire), Vincent D'Onofrio (Hoskins), Ty Simpkins (Gray), Jake Johnson (Lowery) - and the concept of the film.  But it didn't quite work for me.  I guess that despite my seeming indifference going in, I was just hoping for something different than what we actually got with this film.  Instead of taking the story in new and different directions, they pretty much re-hashed the original story with bigger, badder genetically altered dinosaurs.  The genetic experimentation plot isn't even a new trick - anyone remember the frog DNA sequence being used in the original film?

Maybe I'm unfairly holding this sequel (now the fourth installment in the franchise) up against its predecessor, but I feel like it was a missed opportunity to really expand upon the franchise.  The best part of Jurassic World is the fact that it basically ignores the two previous less-than-stellar films (The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III).  As I said, this isn't a terrible film, I'm just personally having a hard time getting behind a film that tries to expand upon the franchise by re-hashing what we've already seen.  They may as well have just called Jurassic World a re-make instead of a sequel.

My personal feelings aside, this film is clearly striking the right chords with today's public.  If it is giving the younger generations the theatrical experience that Jurassic Park gave me at the age of fourteen (I saw it at a good old fashioned drive-in theater) then I can at least appreciate that, even if I felt like I have seen this film before.

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