“Jurassic World” is the first film in this hugely successful franchise in 14 years and early reviews say it harkens back to Steven Spielberg‘s original “Jurassic Park,” which chomped its way to a staggering billion dollars in box office receipts back in 1993. It went on to win all three of its Oscar bids for those jaw-dropping visual effects, inventive sound editing and complex sound mixing. Could this fourth film in the series do as well on both fronts?
The first sequel, ‘The Lost World,” also helmed by Spielberg, lost the 1997 Oscar race for Best VIsual Effects to “Titanic,” which rodes a tidal wave of success to a record-tying 11 Academy Awards. “Jurassic Park III” came out in 2001. Directed by Spielberg protege Joe Johnson (“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”) it did decent business but failed to register with critics or Oscar voters.
This time around, indie darling Colin Trevorrow (“Safety Not Guaranteed”) is sitting in the director’s chair while red-hot (in more ways than one) Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy“) stars. The reboot is rated 71 at Rotten Tomatoes and 59 at MetaCritic. While some of the reviewers took issue with the plot points, they were wowed by the dinos.
Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly) enthused, “Like the theme park’s mad scientists trying to rev up the scare factor of their attractions, Trevorrow knows exactly how to get butts into the multiplex: by throwing as many CGI dinosaurs gone wild onto the screen as he possibly can in 124 minutes. It’s a distraction game. But it works. Normally I’d grouse about that kind of bread-and-circuses cynicism. But it’s what makes ‘Jurassic World’ such breathless summer entertainment. Exposition and character-building chitchat are kept at a minimum as we gawk at raptors on the prowl, prehistoric sea monsters breaching out of their water pens to feed on a great white, and our old pal T. rex slugging it out with the new-and-improved I. rex.”
And, as Chris Hewitt (Empire) notes, “the joy here comes from watching a new director on the summer blockbuster scene make an impact. He’s at ease with the oohs and the aahs as he is with the running and screaming, even if he knows full well that the impact of the original’s astonishing ‘you-will-believe-a-dinosaur-can-roar’ effects can’t be recreated (though ILM does sterling work here). And when the dino-doo doo really hits the fan, you can almost hear him cackling as he piles outrageous beat upon outrageous beat. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to endorse this park.”
Finally, for Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times), the film “earns every inch of its PG-13 rating for some bone-crunching violence, numerous scenes of dinosaurs munching on humans and blood spraying here and there. There’s one fairly sick and wickedly funny scene in which a character is plucked from the ground by a Pteranodon and then dropped in mid-air, only to land in the clutches of ANOTHER Pteranodon, Cirque du Soleil-style, and that’s not the end of her dilemma.”
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