"Yeah, but... if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists."
It took twenty-two years and three movies, but we finally got what Jeff Goldblum's character quipped about in the original Jurassic Park in this summer's newest blockbuster Jurassic World: full-scale dinosaur-on-tourist carnage. Yep, the park is finally open for business, complete with corporate sponsorships, endless lines, jaded employees and, oh yeah, deadly prehistoric animals genetically modified to up the "wow" factor with little regard to what might happen if the park's biggest attractions decided to go off script, tap into their natural instincts and chow down on some vacationers.
Unlike our previous cinematic visits to Isla Nublar where all we got was the likes of Sam Neill and William H. Macy, this time we get a full-fledged hunky action hero in Guardians of the Galaxy's Chris Pratt, playing what can best be called a "raptor whisperer", one of many silly/illogical plot points you'll scratch your head about once this thrill ride comes to a complete stop. Bryce Dallas Howard, as Jurassic World's workaholic operations manager, holds her own in the hero department, even more so by doing it in all heels. Once the mayhem ensues, the scruffy Pratt and the porcelain Howard set out to find her two wayward nephews (one a generic morose teen, the other a mop-topped, well, moppet), dodging dive-bombing Pterodactyls along the way as well as the film's big-big bad, the only-a-marketing-exec-could-come-up-with-this-name Indominus rex, a super-dino with quite a few tricks up his tiny-tiny metaphorical sleeves.
Even with all the digital dinos zipping across the screen, Jurassic World somehow escapes a CGI-overload, and the effects crew wisely included (like the previous Parks) some practical, hand-made dinos for the cast to get up close and personal with. Also wise is the inclusion of John Williams' iconic theme music, piped in just when a note of nostalgia is needed. Unwise was a few extraneous subplots and the need for a human "villain", nevertheless played to the moustache-twirling hilt by Vincent D'Onofrio.
All in all, Jurassic World proves to be quite the roller coaster ride, impressively helmed by a relative newcomer, Colin Trevorrow. Just remember that it would be best if you check your brain at the door when you cash in your E ticket for this one. Oh, and keep your hands and feet inside the theater at all times.
MD Rating: B
Review by Kirby Holt, creator and editor of Movie Dearest, The QuOD: The Queer Online Database and the Out Movie Guide.