Jurassic World fares better than the previous two sequels of the dino franchise, but its forgettable characters, typical beast action, and recycled narrative turn it into a substandard knock-off of the original.

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park (1993), Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.

I watched Jurassic World a week after the initial release to avoid the crowd and not get carried away by the hype. The movie does deliver the blockbuster entertainment that audiences want, but not enough to achieve or surpass the impact of the original.

Jurassic World triples the scope of Jurassic Park, as Island Nublar becomes a theme park and bazillion-dollar business. The dinosaurs’ movements are more believable thanks to CGI. There’s a number of tense moments and chase scenes as a new batch of characters deal with a new dinosaur and the aftermath of her escape. As par for the course, there’s a showdown that audiences will love. Chris Pratt is easily likeable as the sardonic hero Owen Grady, who is the low-key smoldering version of Starlord.

If these sound familiar to you, its because Jurassic Park is re-packaged into a generic blockbuster that is Jurassic World.

While there’s plenty of action none of them are as inventive nor memorable as the original. This includes the T-Rex ripping an electric Ford Explorer apart, two raptors hunting kids in an industrial kitchen, and that iconic “clever girl” scene with Muldoon.

Instead, the fourth installment recycles some of the moments from the original, including a side trip back to memory lane to pander to old fans. The showdown is nothing that we haven’t seen before from previous installments and other creature feature movies.

The characterization hasn’t improved. The designated kids are now comprised of a hormonal teen and his dinosaur geek young brother. Chris Prat is a stand-in for Alan Grant. The rest are stereotypical, which includes a female uppity corporate flack turned bad ass in heels who needs a man to fulfill her life (yes that is her character arc) played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Jake Johnson provides the much needed humor in the end, but its too little too late.

In Jurassic Park, characters contemplate about Dr. Hammond’s misguided efforts. In Jurassic World, they’re just left to run and watch as dinosaurs fight each other.

Grady’s unique bond with the raptors has the potential to spark a theme. It teaches us that when man stops being a self-entitled arrogant asshole and cooperate with nature rather than control it, he could stop his own self-destruction. This could have injected some depth to a plot that is essentially an overlong hunt but wasn’t explored. The film uses the standard action template with contrived narrative hurdles and a bickering couple.

In the end, as Jurassic World pays tribute to its predecessor, its evident that the fourth installment to the dino franchise is just a watered down throwback.

In today’s digital age when there’s a variety of action films ranging from shark in tornadoes to comic book adaptations, dinosaurs are truly ancient. The chomp and chase action scenes don’t have much of an impact when you’ve seen plenty of monster movies.

Also, based from what we’ve seen from critically applauded reboots such as The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, good old fashion storytelling and relatable fleshed out characters trumps visual effects.

Unfortunately, the makers of Jurassic World wasted their opportunity to improve upon the original and settles for a typical sequel. It’s a notch better than the previous cash grabs and bigger and louder as ordered, but not better than the original that its trying to emulate.

My Rating: 6/10

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