Jurassic World

Movie Information

The Story: A big, bad genetically engineered dinosaur runs wild at the Jurassic World theme park. The Lowdown: Better written, better directed and better acted than any film about rampaging dinosaurs has any right to be.
Genre: Sci-Fi Dinosaur Action
Director: Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong
Rated: PG-13



Like most kids of my generation — thanks to B sci-fi movies and The Flintstones TV series — I had a youthful fascination with dinosaurs. I even aced some fifth-grade science project by crafting a dinosaur display with a bunch of mismatched plastic dinosaurs and some plastic palm trees (the latter appropriated from a Flintstones play set). But my interest in these creatures didn’t survive puberty (which is still longer than my interest in The Flintstones lasted). By the time of the original Jurassic Park (1993), I was pushing 40 and the big beasties were long off my radar, so it was kind of a non-event for me. I never even saw the first sequel, but the much-maligned Jurassic Park III (2001) came out after I was reviewing movies on a weekly basis, so that I saw. (I thought it was OK for what it was, but I had no special reverence for the series.) Now we have Jurassic World, a slightly revamped sequel (that may ignore the earlier sequels), and while it didn’t rekindle my interest in dinosaurs, it’s an excellently crafted film with coherent action, good effects, a top-notch supporting cast and a surprisingly witty screenplay.




When it was first announced that Colin Trevorrow was directing Jurassic World, I cringed — not because I thought he couldn’t do it, but because I thought it was a waste of a unique talent. I don’t blame him for taking it. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I’m sure he made more on this in the time it took him to sign the contract than he’ll ever see from Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), and since it’s already a monster hit, as a career move it’s hard to beat. That he and Derek Connolly (who wrote Safety Not Guaranteed) worked on the script was encouraging — as was the fact that they brought along Jake Johnson for a large supporting role — but, let’s face it, this can of carnivores is a different proposition. One of the things that’s pleasantly surprising here is just how much Trevorrow and Connolly’s fingerprints are on the film in terms of tone and humor. Another pleasant surprise is how well Trevorrow handles action. It’s clear, clean and coherent. Little, if any, of this was conveyed by the film’s trailer.




On the one hand, the film is exactly what you think it is — a lot of people being chased or menaced by ill-tempered dinosaurs that are trying to eat them. On the other hand, there’s a level of wit here that you may not expect. The story is no great shakes, of course, since it exists only to put our main characters — and disposable extras — in harm’s way. The reason behind this latest addition to the revamped dinosaur amusement park is, however, worth pondering — it’s all because a jaded public demands something bigger and badder and scarier than your plain old dinosaurs. As a commentary on our collective Imax and 3-D infused Next-Big-Thing blockbuster mentality, that’s pretty on point. That the commentary is served up in a movie aimed at that very mindset makes it just that much more subversive. And it most certainly delivers on its promises. The ultimate bad-ass dinosaur — the Indominus Rex — is everything you could hope for in bad-assery, and the film’s rather cavalier attitude toward human life ups our inability to predict who won’t be standing by the ending credits. The film is surprisingly violent — apparently arterial spray is OK in PG-13 so long as we only see what it sprays on — which will delight those kids it doesn’t send racing for the exits (know your children).




The casting is a big plus. I have no quarrel with the leads (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) or the kids (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson), but for me the real selling point here lies in the supporting players — Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy and BD Wong (playing the same character he did 22 years ago). These actors imbue their cleverly written but actually thin characters with shadings and nuances that have little to do with the printed page. My only problem is that there’s just not enough of the great Irrfan Khan — and that, like most quibbles I have with the movie, is hardly enough to sink what is a most agreeable time at the movies. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.


About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

17 thoughts on “Jurassic World

  1. T.rex

    Good, that raises my excitement for this a little bit. Nothing in the trailers made me say anything more than “meh” nor did they stop me from quoting Geirge Harrison: “It’s been done.”. This is ofcourse is summer so I will see all the tent pole movies regardless. My favorite critique so far has been “Do we really need ANOTHER remake of WestWorld?!” (From the interwebs) I have fond memories of the first Jurassic Park and I think the score is my favorite part but even I walked out of opening night back in 93 saying “gee, that was fun but it was the exact same story as WestWorld” (not surprising since Crichton wrote both movies/book)

  2. Dino

    I had fun, but could have done without D’Onofrio’s character’s unbelievably ridiculous simple-mindedness. I wish they had given that great actor a little more than just being a clownish military stooge. It would have helped him AND the story. Yes, the film is a cartoon unto itself, but every time he suggested that raptors could be used to fight in wars instead of soldiers, I rolled my eyes at what contrivance was to come… And, oh boy, was that implausibility applied. I know I’ll get criticized for picking apart this logic when the whole film is fantastic (not qualitative), but the inner logic for most of the film worked for me. Anyway, it was an exhilarating ride.

    • Ken Hanke

      Always remember George Zucco wanted to fight the Nazis with his home-made werewolves in The Mad Monster (1942) — and everyone that laughed at him ended up with his throat torn out.

  3. KYW

    I’ve been trying to figure out the meaning of Owen and Blue’s last encounter, when Blue turned around and looked at Owen before disappearing into the jungle with T-Rex. I believe that Owen nodded sideways – meaning “no”? – so was Blue saying goodbye to Owen or asking Owen if he wanted to go with them? ???

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      I don’t know. I don’t speak dinosaur – but I still had a great time with this movie.

    • Allison

      The way I read that scene was that Blue was interested in eating Claire and the two kids, and Owen was telling him no, you don’t get to eat them, move on.

  4. Jenny

    Not one believable element to this film. If you like to look at dinosaurs, then this is movie will be remotely satisfying. If you are looking for substantive story-line, then NOPE! Jurassic Park continues to stand alone as the only good move in this franchise. I just wanted it to end – or have the raptors kill everyone. Especially when the cheeseball element of communication between big dino and raptors came into play. Does anyone know anything about science anymore?? So sad.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      I thought the story was well above average for any blockbuster, much less the fourth film in a series. I didn’t go in looking to dissect the science, either. What are some recent films that you feel intelligently handle science?

      • Ken Hanke

        I confess I don’t tend to go to movies about genetically-created dinosaurs in a theme park looking for believability.

        • luluthebeast

          I quibble many times about bad science in movies, but as Ken said, this is ” about genetically-created dinosaurs in a theme park looking for believability.” I don’t really care except that at the end the T-Rex stands tall and lets everyone know “THIS IS MY ISLAND BITCHES!”
          I enjoyed this more than any of the others. I had more laughs and scares and enjoyed the more intelligent beasties, no matter how silly it might have been. I would love to see another one where they get off that island (after all, Wong did take his goodies with him) and set up shop on the mainland. Preferably in Europe.

  5. T.rex

    It was fine. Some fun stuff, a whole lot of dumb stuff. Sally Exposion hung around far too long in the beginning. Did we really need the parents? Just have the kids show up and say we are here to visit our Aunt, boom, done. One pill I could not swallow was the Raptor Whisperer thing. The dumbest scene that really bugged me, and I guess we can blame editing for this one, Pratt is in the garage reaching for his gun that’s leaning on the jeep but all of a sudden he rolls back when the I-Rex pops in. The I-Rex bumps the jeep a few times but leaves. Pratt goes back for the gun and ITS STILL THERE!? Was it glued to the jeep? That stuck out like a big thorn. Fun movie, worth the price of the ticket but I’ll forget about it in two days.

  6. Barry

    I’m a chronic dinosaur freak, but I didn’t even find this movie exciting, much less thrilling. And I found it numbingly predictable. The bad guy dies right on schedule, killed by a raptor that turns its back on the good guys so it can execute him (because we all know he is bad), after which it runs away. It’s as if the shark in “Jaws” were to hold off on its attacks until the mayor entered the water. I did like the T-Rex roar at the end, utterly familiar but a nice way to end it. And also pleasant because it meant the movie was over. I have always figured that I would see any Jurassic Park movie, but after this one, I don’t think so.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.