The most popular movie in the series is Jurassic World. It takes the structure of the first movie and blends it with the franchise's ultimate fantasy to reveal what a fully functioning dinosaur theme park looks like. John Hammond's vision came to life. The result, however, is a mixed bag, because for everything it does to imitate the original film so well, it makes two or three mistakes along the way.
We are going to watch all of the films from the series before the June 10 release of the final film in the saga,Jurassic World Dominion. Steven Spielberg's 1993 movie "Jurassic Park" started things. The Lost World: Jurassic Park was followed by the 1997 sequel and the 2001 sequel. Many fans thought that was the end of the series. But 14 years later, things have changed.
It was an amazing success when the movie was released. It was the only film to ever make $500 million in a weekend and the fastest to ever gross $1 billion. If the story had a fresh new spin, it was proof that fans were ready to return to the world of dinosaurs. Humans have figured out how to put dinosaurs at the center of a theme park. The theme park is wildly successful. The park director says that kids in the time of the movie are tired of dinosaurs. They need a new thing. The scientists of the park have begun to create new dinosaurs, one of which is called an "Indominus Rex", which will wreak havoc when it escapes into the park.
Many things are right on the money in that setup. It is satisfying to see the park functioning. The idea of dinosaurs being old hat is believable. A smart spin is that humanity has created a new, bigger and meaner dinosaur. There are some great moments set to John Williams and Michael Giacchino's new themes. It is the only dinosaur that gets everything to the races. The movie is just the right blend of good, original ideas all within the framework of the movie.
The firstJurassic Park kept things very simple. At all. It is almost comical how many different storylines and relationships the audience is expected to follow. Brothers Grey andZach are visiting the park. They have their own dynamics and later we learn their parents are getting a divorce. The first act of the movie is where he stares at the girls.
There is more. The boys go to the park to see their aunt, who has her own set of problems. She has to deal with corporations, park employees with their own agendas, as well as the park's owner, who is way more happy-go-lucky than he should be. Owen Grady is a former Navy soldier who works on the island training raptors, and he has a history withClaire. There is a pack of trained raptors as well as an evil corporate guy who wants to weaponize them. I could go on and on. There is so much happening.
The ride is more like a pinball machine than a roller coaster. pinball can be fun, but it is also chaotic and usually without a cohesive story. It's also very fitting since there's a pinball scene in the film. The movie becomes mostly about stopping the Rex once it gets loose, and how each of the characters plays a role in that. There is a struggle for power on one side, a rescue mission on the other, and 20,000 park attendees just sitting there awkwardly as a killer dinosaur rampages around the island.
You don't end up caring about any of the characters because you don't have enough to make a difference. The film seems to be more focused on the details. Some of it is cool, like the underwater Mosasaurus which comes back at the end, but most of it just seems extraneous. The perfect example is the film's lead character, who is on screen a ton but is treated like an afterthought by the director, who lets her run around in high heels the entire movie. At the time of the film's release, that became a big story, but it's also the perfect metaphor for the film as a whole. It has great intentions, but it makes a lot of dumb mistakes to get there.
The best scenes in the movie are the ones between Owen and the raptors. Like the other stories, it is underwritten but it is a fascinating dynamic that plays out in some really fun and entertaining ways. The previous two movies did not like the whole thing, but it gives the movie a unique flavor. I dare you not to smile as Chris Pratt rides a motorcycle in the middle of a pack of raptors. It is ridiculous and glorious.
The second-best movie behind the original isJurassic World. There are enough good ideas combined with nostalgia and action to make it stand out. The film basically has it all, we get helicopter rides, Jeep chases and the most compelling villain in the series, the Indominus Rex. What it does best is make you want a trilogy that slows down the movie. The first movie might explain how someone got this park to open after everything that happened in the previous films. Maybe a second about the park getting popular. The finale is where it all ends in a mess. The greatest achievement of the trilogy is that it makes you want to spend more time in that world. Meet the characters and the creatures in the park. You never get a chance to do that because it is so busy.
io9 gave a code for this review for the movie, which is available for purchase and rent on sites such as Movies Anywhere. The last pre-Dominion film isJurassic World Fallen Kingdom. I wonder if my thoughts have changed since this review.