MOVIE MAN

Fourth dinosaur movie is a monster

By Movie Man | Published Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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As usual, it’s sequel/series city this summer. That’s been the case for quite a number of years now.

In fact, we’ve already seen several sequels/series continuations arrive so far this year.

ABOUT THE FILM

Now here’s Jurassic World. The Movie Man has seen the first three, of course: “Jurassic Park” (1993, MM No. 5, 9, Best of Year); “Jurassic Park: The Lost World” (1997, MM No. 183, 7); and “Jurassic Park III” (2001, MM No. 414, 6).

“Jurassic World” can’t touch that first one – none could – but it’s plenty good, certainly No. 2 in the series.

THE PLOT (SPOILER-Y)

Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) runs Jurassic World. The park has been successful for 10 years, but stockholders are clamoring for something new to repack the park. Howard’s researchers create a hybrid critter out of a slew of other critters. But the mighty Indominus rex escapes its enclosure.

With 20,000 people on an island amusement park, Howard can’t get them all off, so the I-rex must be taken down. That’s where Owen (Chris Pratt) comes in. He is working on taming velociraptors by imprinting on them at birth. They obey him, and that makes Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) happy since he wants to sell the raptors to the military as weapons.

Howard has another problem. She’s supposed to be watching her nephews, but they happen to be being attacked by the I-rex in a distant part of the jungle.

Pratt and Howard find them, and they all flee. But a helicopter accident sets free a zillion pteranodons, and those critters descend on the trapped parkgoers. When the I-rex begins communicating with the raptors, suddenly it looks very bad for everybody.

Eventually, the boys and Pratt and Howard are cornered by the I-rex and the turned raptors. But Howard calls in a big prehistoric gun. However, that I-rex is super tough – until a final behemoth arrives and takes care of business.

WHAT WORKS

Pratt is sarcastic and funny. He pulls off the macho man stuff fine. Howard is OK, too, but really the humans are secondary characters in a rampaging dinosaur movie.

The original “Jurassic Park” was a mind-boggling cinematic miracle – that raptor scene in the kitchen and the T-rex attack early on were movie firsts. In “Jurassic World,” the dinosaurs are still 100 percent believable.

Director Colin Trevorrow uses the technology to the fullest from zooming shots of herds of dinos to creature eyeball close-ups to wide panoramas of Kauai (standing in for Costa Rica). And all the dinosaurs are simply amazing. It was cool in 3-D (but the process could’ve been even better).

The sound is fantastic, and that I-rex is one great-looking, very loud dinosaur.

BEST SCENE

The final battle is a humdinger. Even with a substantial assault – human and prehistoric – the I-rex looks like it can handle all sorts of challengers. Then comes that help from an unexpected source that makes all the difference …

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

This is another movie where a woman runs around in high heels – through alleyways and even jungle – and manages to keep her distance from vicious creatures racing after her. She even out-runs a T-rex starting just a few feet away. It’s so dumb.

One worn-out movie trope doesn’t work here: the older brother who finally comes around to appreciate his worshiping little brother. Neither kid is memorable.

Getting a vehicle to start that had been in the elements for two decades also stretched things a bit. But you don’t go to a dinosaur movie expecting common sense.

THE RATING

This is classic PG-13 – a few mild cuss words from Pratt and kids imperiled constantly. But it’s the dinos chomping on a variety of folks – realistic but not bloody explicit – that earns the rating. Small children will freak out but not anyone else.

SUMMING UP

“Jurassic World” is good. The effects are stunning, and the movie delivers just about everything you’d want. The only reason it’s not an 8 is that the constant fleeing got a little old. But it’s still terrific summertime fun – that, by the way, had the second biggest opening week of all-time.

NEXT UP

Pixar’s “Inside Out”

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