Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Story: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver,
Screenplay: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Characters: Michael Crichton
Music: Michael Giacchino
Owen – Chris Pratt
Claire – Bryce Dallas Howard
Masrani – Irfan Khan
Hoskins – Vincent D’Onofrio
Gray – Ty Simpkins
Zach –Nick Robinson
Lowery – Jake Johnson
Vivian – Lauren Lapkus
Main Street: Costa Rica, leading up to Sleeping T-Rex’s Castle
I’d left this one until late in its run, then I realized it was “See it now in 3D on a big screen, or you’ll have to live with a second run cinema or DVD.” I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was, and not too unpleasantly surprised by the scary bits. There is a single-frame exactness to achieve those trademark Spielberg shocks, and this never manages to get in that razor-tight on the “Aargh!” moment.
Criticism is dominated by the closeness of the story arc to the Jurassic Park which was twenty-two years ago, but I thought the realized theme park boosted the story, complete with its Disney Main Street USA entry way to a sci-fi building as the mountain / castle, and its Sea World killer whale feeding experience. Drop in a shark and watch that sea dinosaur (Mosasaurus) take it! Add in Disneyesque health and safety announcements, monorails, a semi-comatose employee supervising entry to the Gyroscope Ball which takes tourists through the herbivore section. There’s the petting zoo with small dinosaurs, dinosaur inflatables. You could be in Orlando.
Feeding time: 11 am, 3 pm, 6 pm daily
It follows a time honoured basic plot, so let’s describe this version of it. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a career-oriented woman in smart clothes. She is at high executive level in the park. She invites her nephews, Gray and Zach, to visit, but being somewhat autistic on families, has no idea of their ages and abandons them to the care of her English assistant. They escape the leash and wander off into danger. Claire has to go and find Raptor-trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) to advise on Elf and Safe Tea at the secret Indominus paddock. Indominus is their GM-modified intelligent dinosaur. Owen is a rough and ready un-PC-modified fellow, who is a dab hand at training raptors. ‘Stay!’ And they do. OK, just think African Queen. Beautiful girl. Rugged bloke. Dangerous situation. They don’t like each other at the beginning. She points out his shirt stinks. Do I have to spell it out?
Claire doesn’t like Owen. Or does she? (BTW, she drives a Mercedes)
Meanwhile back at the paddock, they can’t find Indominus. The creature has eaten the heat sensors monitoring it. Indominus, being a cunning critter escapes and is bent on killing for fun. The nephews are off in a Gyroscope ball in the herbivore area … the last one before the rides are closed because of the danger. OK, Owen and Claire set off to rescue them. Importantly the lads’ parents have sent them away while consulting about divorce. Gray weeps at the thought. Aah. But a new family group is formed with Owen and Claire. They work together. They survive. Etcetera etcetera. Then the parents turn up at the end and everyone hugs happily. Divorce probably off the cards.
The boys set off in the Gyroscope Ball – halcyon day, but Now you see them …
Oh, dear. Now you don’t. (BTW, that’s a Mercedes 4 x 4)
I got fascinated by Claire’s stiletto heels … not in a fetishist way, but because they seemed unsuitable for walking through jungle and over rough stones. There’s a joke about her shoes in the script. There’s also a jokey moment when she ties up her blouse and readies herself for action with skimpy top, torn skirt and still those high heels. I liked the humorous touches throughout. Claire has high heels stashed all over apparently, because I’d swear she’s barefoot running away from the pterosaurs then high-heeled afterwards. Actually, I thought she captured the role perfectly. She does a lovely Fay Wray moment, lying on the ground right by the monster, attractively disheveled, panting slightly.
Tie a knot in your blouse, luv. The dinosaurs are coming.
I enjoyed the Indominus escape, because there are three people in the paddock, not knowing it’s hiding waiting to pounce. You know in ALL these films the “fat guy gets it” but in this case there’s Owen, another guy and a fat guy. The other guy gets it, not the fat guy! Huge surprise. Of course the fat guy gets it seconds later.
My favourite bit of humour is around the two people who work in the control room, Lowery and Vivian. Lowery is in trouble for wearing a vintage Jurassic Park T-shirt. Towards the end, there’s the big “We made it through!” moment and Lowery goes to kiss her. She dodges with ‘I’ve already got a boyfriend.’
There’s the convoluted subplot involving Hoskins, the main baddie, and Dr Wu. This is lifted from Day of the Dolphin and their aim is to create GM dinosaurs as military weapons (much as Robert Merle’s story was about training dolphins as weapons). You know Hoskins is going to get it as soon as Dr Wu escapes the island, and get it he does. You have to have one villain survive for the sequel. You don’t need two.
Owen is a raptor trainer of note.
I think the ending confusing. Towards the end the four trained raptors are used to hunt Indominus. That’s a bit of a mess up, because Owen and Claire had not realized Indominus has some raptor DNA mixed in with the T. Rex DNA so it turns our it can communicate with them (I use “it” as I’ve never been close enough to a dinosaur to tell its sex). It seems obvious enough. I share DNA with every human and indeed great apes, so I can communicate with all of them. Hang on …
One raptor gets blown up totally, but others get run over and shot but still there are three. The four raptors are like the bullets in six shooters in 1950s westerns … easily replenished or revived so in unlimited supply. There is the big dino-fight, T. Rex versus Indominus, the intelligent dinosaur. The loser falls into the lagoon and Mosasaurus gobbles it up. The winner strolls away, followed by the surviving raptor, and is seen at the end posing on the helipad. I’d thought the winner was Indominus, but apparently it was T. Rex … equally big and nasty but dumber. It seems I was the only one of our party who thought this. Earlier they said the Indominus had chameleon DNA so it could hide, but they forgot all about that later in the script. Colour coding would have been good for the fight. Indominus was supposed to be much larger, but I couldn’t see the difference when intertwined in combat.
You knew the sequel was in preparation as soon as Dr Wu (who was in the original) disappears in a helicopter with the DNA. I assume the name was always a reference to Dr Who. The whisper of Jurassic Universe as a title might be premature. Anyway, summer 2018.
Music soundtrack? I didn’t even notice it. That might be a good thing meaning it worked as intended.
Product placing: you see an awful lot of Mercedes logos. Every modern vehicle.