Sunday, 21 June 2015


We know the story. Twenty-two years after the horrific events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is home to a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World. But after ten years of operation, visitor rates are declining. People are bored. They want bigger. They want badder. They want a lot more teeth. So why not give them what they want? No expense spared, and all that.

He said: Somehow, over the last fourteen years, with our minds muddled by soaring superheroes and a stampede of overwhelming television shows keeping our tails tied to our sofas, we forgot how cool dinosaurs are. Dinosaurs. Those terrestrial vertebrates who dominated for over 135 million years. Terrible lizards, if you will. Although the meaning may be somewhat misleading, those who ditched rollercoasters in favour of Jurassic World – and in the current climate who could blame them – might not disagree with the first part.

She said: Jurassic Park III was rubbish. We can admit that now. Not only did the film finish halfway through, some of the early effects are awful and one of the raptors talks. Whilst flying. On a plane. It's a dream sequence but still, a meteorite didn't kill the dinosaurs, the writers of Jurassic Park III did.

He said: A new attraction. A new dinosaur. A new problem. In fact, a lot more problems. There’s surprisingly little screen time for our dinosaurs in the opening twenty minutes. 

She said: Ah, now eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your, on your dinosaur tour, right? Hello?

He said: Instead we’re introduced to characters with little rapport and irritating in manner. 

She said: I liked them from the start. The two children in particular were a delight, they must have been, I cared about them. I didn't care about Ian Malcolm's daughter in part two, she added nothing to the mix. I liked Zach's one-track mind, and his contempt for pretty much everything other than girls. I liked Gray's wide-eyed wonder too, and the fact he didn't drop-kick a dinosaur or get electrocuted by 10,000 volts only to make a bad pun and walk away. 

He said: Fear not, they grow on you, but not until director Colin Trevorrow plays his hand, revealing our big bad, the Indominus Rex. It makes the velociraptors look like puppies, which as far as Owen (Chris Pratt) is concerned, isn’t too far from the truth.

She said: Oooh, aaah. That's how it always starts...

He said: The body count is huge, helped along by one of the most goose-bumpy screen presences in many a year. Nastiness ensues from here-on in, its menace compounded when one of the gentler giants gets it in the neck. Humans are one thing, but Trevorrow takes time out to pull at the heart strings, and despite the human fatalities that came before, shit just got real.

She said: Hold on to your butts! The human casualties were huge, but it is the poor dinosaurs you feel sorry for most. It's not often you cheer on non-humans, that kind of emotion is usually reserved for the worst kind of movie, but Jurassic World's big bad is a genetically engineered monster, so I had no problem siding with the Veggiesaurus'.

He said: Forget the next big thing, Pratt reinforces his big thing tag with gusto – his presence almost as gratifying as our time spent with the park’s monstrous inhabitants. Of which there are surprisingly few. You can see why someone spliced a new one. 

She said: If Chris Pratt isn't the next Indiana Jones I'll eat my hat. And my whip. With a side order of Nazis.

He said: The T-Rex is AWOL. Others perform and play with visitors. The raptors have been tamed, showing mercy, even kindness. In fact, if it wasn’t for Indominus, the raptors would have been auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent come the next instalment.

She said: You think they'll have that on the tour? The final scene reminded me of Marty McFly's entrance in the closing moments of Back to the Future II. Pure and utter cheese but an air-punching moment all the same. The raptors were much better here though, and Trevorrow deserves credit for keeping them on the right side of untrustworthy. They are loveable and all that, but you wouldn't want one as a pet.

He said: That said, there's something a little unsettling about siding with such brutal adversaries. Too much history. It gets worse, too. There’s so many thrills packed into a pleasing running time (running being the operative word), Jurassic World is as tense and frantic as you always hoped it would be.

She said: Despite the bigger, badder, more teeth premise, Jurassic World felt stripped back. Trevorrow kept the action sequences short, sharp and swift, but because I actually cared about the characters (Bryce Dallas Howard even grew on me) there was enough tension to prevent it from feeling too calculated. I mean, it was calculated, they patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunch box, but Jurassic World feels like a breathe of fresh air. Nostalgic, 90s air, but fresh all the same. I'll shut up now.

He said: By the time you reach the welcome return of the true alpha (with a slightly silly climax to boot), you have long-since committed, and can easily forgive its sappy shenanigans. You may even fall for it.

She said: Looking back, it was ludicrous. But then, some people said the same thing about the ending of The Lost world, and I absolutely adored that. Jurassic World concludes with the face-off we had all hoped for and it doesn't disappoint. The human characters are sidelined again, which is further proof that we are a nation of animal lovers, but it works. Though talk of a new trilogy strikes me as odd. I can't imagine this is the last we'll see of Jurassic Park - box office records have been shattered - but it's kind of refreshing that the fourth instalment doesn't end on a cliffhanger.

He said: Everyone remain calm. Moments will surprise, more will shock, but most will entertain. Replacing science with suspense, Jurassic World has more teeth than the last two chapters put together. Trevorrow found a way. Remind me to thank John for a lovely weekend.

She said: We can all forget about part three now. Dinosaurs and man, two species separated by 65 million years of evolution have just been suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea what to expect? Jurassic World is a welcome return to form for the all but extinct franchise. Action, suspense and more carnage than the previous films combined, Jurassic World is the sequel we have all been waiting for. Clever girl.

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