"Jurassic World" successfully fulfills our dream of returning to Isla Nublar. We finally get an answer to the 22-year-old question of what would happen if Jurassic Park actually opened. It has the heart of the original but it also serves as a reminder that the original story will never be matched. I feel like the three sequels in this series are a catch-22: we love “Jurassic Park” so much that the sequels don’t feel right when they go in a different direction, but if these films didn’t go in a different direction then we would hate them for copying the original. I wasn't crazy about some of the themes in the film, but I believe that the writers did a good job of paying tribute to the first film while getting the series back on track. The park is incredibly creative and somewhere that I would like to visit, even after seeing the disaster. Everything from the petting zoo and interactive displays to the mosasaurus water show are believable because they are a reflection modern theme parks… with a dinosaur twist. It is also an interesting commentary on our society’s need for bigger and better when there are amazing things right in front of us. Still, I think that the writers tried to bend our disbelief a little too far. The whole military angle was ridiculous and spoiled the realism for me. Worst of all, it added a subplot that wasn’t really necessary and I feel like it was mainly in there to set up a sequel. I’m not saying that I could have come up with a better plot but after 14 years of delays and rewrites, I thought that it would have a better focus. Even with a few plot flaws, great acting helps the story to shine. The tension between Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard immediately gives us a reason to root for the characters of Owen and Claire. I was skeptical of them being cast as the leads but now see that they were perfect in these roles. It was really cool to see them bring back B.D. Wong as the single link to the original park disaster and Jake Johnson was a great source of comic relief. Also, Ty Simpkins gives an impressive performance for a preteen and I always love any film with Omar Sy and Irrfan Khan. One of my favorite parts of this film was Michael Giacchino’s score which utilized the original theme at the all of the right moments. When the theme plays over a pedal tone that makes it minor, it really caught my ear. The scenery special effects are absolutely breathtaking. These films always come with the caveat of utilizing the dinosaurs enough on screen and there were plenty of dinosaurs this time around. I love that the raptors are as fierce as ever but that we get to see them up close and personal. I cannot even comprehend the complexity of bringing these creatures to life in a way that we just accept that they were there with the actors. Oddly enough, my favorite scene is one of simplicity. When Owen sits with the dying Apatosaurus, we get to see an important emotional transition in Claire and the sheer cinematic beauty of the moment is overwhelming. My last criticism of this film is the amount of daylight. The movie gives us the intensity that we were hoping for but the scares are at a pretty PG-level. They all take place while the sun is out and it feels like the series has completely transitioned from “scary movie” to “sci-fi thriller.” I would love to see another sequel in this franchise, but I worry that this film has set them up to take genetic hybrid dinosaurs into a war-zone or use them to help end world hunger. It isn’t perfect, but “Jurassic World” was definitely worth the wait. It really can't compare to the original but nothing ever will, which is why my rating reflects the quality of the film and not how it fares in the "Jurassic Park" universe. People have been drawn to this concept for the past 22 years (hence setting the record for the largest opening weekend ever) and I hope that the producers will show more caution than last time when continuing this series.
[Pictured: The raptors rule “Jurassic World”]