As a character in the new “Jurassic Park” sequel says, the public wants bigger, louder entertainment. For island theme park and resort Jurassic World, bigger and louder also means more teeth and a bigger appetite.
“Jurassic World,” shot in Hawaii, Southern California, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, serves moviegoers bigger, louder and closer encounters with hungry prehistoric creatures. And there’s a refrain of the cautionary message that’s always run through the series’ DNA: If you mess with Mother Nature, you might get chopped by a dinosaur.
“Jurassic World” is set 22 years after “Jurassic Park,” Steven Spielberg’s original summer movie thrill ride. Jurassic World, a theme park on an island off the coast of Costa Rica, draws more than 20,000 visitors a day. Guests flock to the island to be in the presence of real-life dinosaurs that have undergone the scientific process of de-extinction.
Steven Spielberg, the new adventure’s executive producer, turned the directing over to Colin Trevorrow, whose only previous feature film is 2012’s comedy-drama-romance, “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Even without Spielberg in the director’s chair, “Jurassic World” is classic Spielberg. It’s “Jaws” times 200 million years.
Featured attractions at Jurassic World — a hybrid of Disneyland, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and Sea World — offers rides through a valley of the dinosaurs, an epic pool show and a dinosaur petting zoo. Composer John Williams’ original “Jurassic Park” music plays as a reminder of the wonder that Jurassic Park creator Dr. John Hammond hoped would inspire the world.
Hammond’s dream went horribly wrong 23 years ago, but his vision has since grown into a fully functioning, profitable business. But Jurassic World is far from the altruistic institution Hammond hoped it would be. Greed is afoot.
Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire, the luxury resort’s cool-headed and, in normal times, cold-hearted CEO. Her chief concern is keeping revenues high.
The all-business Claire doesn’t know it all. When a potentially big problem escapes in Jurassic World, she turns to Owen, the ex-military animal behavior expert who’s been training four velociraptor siblings at the edge of the park.
Chris Pratt, previously seen in last summer’s sci-fi-adventure hit, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” co-stars as Owen. Pratt’s in hero-mode again in “Jurassic World,” the movie that’s likely to be the biggest movie of this summer, just as “Guardians of the Galaxy” was last summer’s No. 1 movie.
To ensure profits, Jurassic World debuts a new attraction every few years. Dr. Henry Wu handles that. B.D. Wong, the only actor from the original “Jurassic Park” movie in “Jurassic World,” returns as Dr. Wu, a geneticist who worked for Hammond’s InGen company a generation ago.
Dr. Wu and a private security firm honcho, Hoskins, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, are the movie’s excellent villains. The subtly evil Dr. Wu is in league with Hoskins, an agent of the military-industrial complex. They’re working clandestinely, hiding their real intentions from Claire and Jurassic World owner Simon Masrani, an up-for-adventure billionaire played by Indian actor Irrfan Khan (“Life of Pi,” “The Lunchbox”).
Spielbergian style, two younger characters — Nick Robinson’s Zach, 16, and Ty Simpkins’ Gray, 11 — run for their lives from rampaging dinosaurs through the heart of the story. Claire’s nephews, the boys’ Jurassic World visit is perfectly timed for disaster.
Because visual effects have progressed enormously since 1993’s “Jurassic Park,” “Jurassic World” impressively takes moviegoers to this place where tyrannosaurus rex and brachiosaurus roam. The effects, though, are always in the service of the story. Hugely entertaining, “Jurassic World” fills the 3D screen with summer-movie thrills and fun.