In 1993, we were all awed by the first "Jurassic Park" film by Steven Spielberg. We remember that moment when our jaws dropped when we saw that first Brachiosaurus appear onscreen. We definitely felt the fearsome terror of the T-Rex and the Velociraptors as they went on their rampages. Everything looked and felt so real, fully deserving of all the technical awards it won.
Now, 22 years later, "Jurassic World" brings us back to Isla Nublar where it all began. John Hammond's vision is now a very popular theme park, with interactive rides and activities with the dinosaurs. Claire Dearing is the park's uptight all-business operations manager. She is having a particularly hectic day when her nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) arrive for a visit. Serious problems arise concerning the park's latest, largest and most vicious hybrid creation, the Indominus Rex. Claire calls on Owen Grady, the park's onsite Velociraptor trainer, to save the day.
Despite the existence of "sequels" "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" (1997) and "Jurassic Park III" (2001), "Jurassic World" is THE true sequel to the first "Jurassic Park." It is set in the same Costa Rican island where the first film was set. We see numerous references about the first film here as characters stumble into the ruins of the original resort in this film. We still see Dr. Henry Wu (B.D.Wong), the park's chief geneticist, the only human character from the first film in this one. And of course, there is the T-Rex.
Now under the ownership of Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), the dinosaurs of the park have become mere commercial assets of a big business. The initial scenes show us the shallowness of what the park has become: kids riding baby Triceratops in a petting farm, boating and safariing among the plant-eaters, watching the gigantic Mosasaurus performs like a dolphin in a pool.
The stuffy Claire, in her stiff hairdo, designer outfit and stilettos, represents this cold corporate philosophy. It is this philosophy of wanting to be constantly ahead that led to the ill-advised splicing of the DNA of various dinosaurs and other species creating the ultimate high-IQ killing monster, which would later be the park's own undoing. Practically all the adult human characters in this film are unlikable: greedy, petty, heartless.
Lead star Chris Pratt plays probably the only likeable character in this film. His Owen is the only one we all rooted for as he badass-ly led his posse of Velociraptors on a motorbike. He basically plays his charming "Guardians of the Galaxy" character, but a smarter, less goofy, no-nonsense version.
That her high heels get more attention than her acting does not speak too well of Bryce Dallas Howard's annoying performance as Claire. I guess her character was really supposed to be annoying so she is probably doing it right, yet she was blandly uncharismatic as a leading lady.
The original timeless theme music by John Williams effectively evokes a sense of nostalgia as it gets played. The story telling by Steven Spielberg in the 1993 original though, remained superior over this one by newcomer Colin Trevorrow, riddled with some illogical close calls and questionable dinosaur psychology. The brotherly bonding between Zach and Grey was used as an emotional core, but it did get a bit too unrealistically sweet in the end (predictably so). Owen and Claire's love affair did not really seem to be necessary, yet they also put that in for some romance angle. The ethical and political issues about genetic bioengineering are touched on once again, just as the first did, with a bit less sting this time.
Overall, the main highlight are still the dinosaurs. The awe we felt during the first film cannot be replicated, but the thrill is still there. Every time a giant meat-eater approaches a human character, the fearful tension created is heart-pounding, as it was before. The visual effects are first rate as ever, made even more realistic by updated technology, as are the sound effects that accompany the action. We all felt we were those kids riding that cool glass gyrosphere gazing up in wonder as the vestiges of a lost world roamed around us. 7/10.