Jurassic World


Viewed – 20 October 2015  Online rental

I never got around to seeing Jurassic Park 3, I think the reason why was that by the time it came out, I was pretty burnt out of my fascination with dinosaurs, and the second film, The Lost World didn’t entirely blow me away.  Although I do regard the original as a classic.  So after a long break, the prospect of a new movie in the franchise was finally appealing again, even if I missed this at the cinema.

Jurassic_World

Hot off his star-making turn in Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt plays a former Naval officer turned park ranger at an all new, very successful and open to the public ‘Jurassic World’.  He could be what you might call a Dinosaur-whisperer, with a close bond with a pack of Velociraptors.  Lauding it over him is the park’s manager, Bryce Dallas Howard, a blunt, money-minded career woman and sort-of love interest to Pratt.  Her day to day routine is complicated however by the arrival of her nephews, just as the park is about to unveil their latest attraction – a hybrid dinosaur cloned from various different species.

JurassicI’d heard some mixed things about this, and agree it lacks some of the awe and wonder of the original.  Also Chris Pratt, so charismatic and funny in ‘Galaxy whilst still very likeable proved less fun than expected.  Yet the movie’s characters all go on a journey of sorts and develop as time passes, most notably Bryce Dallas Howard.  Initially too the nephews were like walking clichés but became much more interesting after a while.  Add to this an immediately more perilous setting with thousands of lives in danger as the (inevitable) shit hits the fan, and I was quickly transported back to the feel and the adrenaline that worked so well back in the day.  This was so much more than just another sequel and you can tell the writers and production team wanted to make a film both worthy of the name and worthwhile after such a long gap.  They succeeded.  The action is exhilarating, the new ideas bring the concept to life and when you get the dinosaur action, it’s at times shocking, intense and epic.

Familiarity does the movie a bit of a disservice in places and some attempts at humour fall flat, but with solid performances and excellent CGI (bar a couple of obvious green screen bits) this really was a lot better than it might have been.  Recommended.

Verdict:  4 /5

Jurassic Park


Viewed – 28 April 2012  Blu-ray

Universal Studios 100th Anniversary Edition

Not many movies have had the monumental impact with the box-office that this enjoyed during the nineties.  Directed by Stephen Spielberg, this was going to be the blue print by which all future summer blockbusters would be judged, and pioneered many of the effects we now take for granted.  Two Paliantologists (Sam Neill and Laura Dern) are called to a remote island by a wealthy tycoon (Richard Attenborough) in order to over see the imminent opening of a theme park.  Yet this one isn’t anything like Disney.  This one has living, breathing dinosaurs as it’s star attractions.  Of course something always goes wrong, and soon its a battle to survive against some of the deadliest creatures to ever roam the earth.

At its basic level, this is a monster movie, but with a director like Spielberg behind the camera, it quickly becomes so much more … uplifting, awe-inspiring, exciting as hell and to some extent magical.  He is a grand master at the high-concept picture, being responsible for the likes of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Jaws, to name but two of his many achievements.  Add to this some of the finest effects work of their day (that still look good now, even if day-time shots reveal the CGI a bit too much) and set-pieces that have become Hollywood legend (the amazing T-rex attack especially).

The movie does crawl in the quieter moments and there’s too much exposition at the start, but along with some enjoyable performances (with a memorable Jeff Goldblum) and that stirring score from John Williams … this still works magnificently and for me, remains one of the finest blockbusters ever made.

The Blu-ray picture quality whilst not jumping off the screen as I had hoped, still has enough ‘pop’ to satisfy, seems free of noise-redcution and is in pretty good condition.  More importantly the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack positively roars and really enhances a movie that for me, was always about its sound design not just its effects.  Saying that, in HD some of the CGI is showing its age, but overall this is a movie that has stood the test of time fairly well.  Extras-wise we get a 3 part documentary (not 6 part as stated on the sleeve) as well as archive featurettes, interviews and galleries.  I would have liked a Spielberg commentary, but apparently he doesn’t like doing them, so that isn’t going to happen.  Overall as a tribute to a classic movie, this could have been better, but as it stands, many fans will still find plenty to like.

Verdict:

(the movie) 4 /5

(the Blu-ray) 3.5 /5