Convinced that its already wildly cavalier attractions – kayak with apatosaurs! Drive a hamsterball – sorry, gyrosphere – through a triceratops herd! – will at any moment cease to draw the smartphone-clutching masses, the harried managers of a showily relabelled dinosaur park built on a rather familiar island rush through a new “asset”: a tyrannosaur-sized,
The combined flappings of flustered career women (crisply coiffed corporate stiff and negligent aunt Bryce Dallas Howard chief among them) combine to set two young brothers loose in the park just as the aforementioned monster dino gets uppity. Happily, leather-clad velociraptor wrangler and former navy man (that must make for some LinkedIn profile) Owen (Chris Pratt) is there to save the day.
Pratt, completing his metamorphosis into Hollywood alpha male (pretty literally stated) is likeable enough as the bike-fixin’, raptor-herdin’, gal-charmin’ action man, bringing a graceful economy of motion to his derring-do, though perhaps just a shade more twinkle would have steered him through the occasionally creaky dialogue a little better. Bryce Dallas Howard gamely steers her uptight way through the chaos, rather frustratingly leaving her high heels on well beyond the point of lunacy – the main portion of feminine dynamism comes, in fact, from the dinosaurs themselves. The rest of the cast are mostly stuck with thankless placeholder work – Plotting Army Guy (Vincent D’Onofrio), Unscrupulous Scientist (BD Wong), Kid Dino Bait (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, the aforementioned nephews).
The film attempts a certain double-bluff cynicism with the aid of bespectacled, ironic-t-shirt-clad Jake Johnson (of New Girl fame) – through him the script can bemoan the park’s tricked-out commercialism, before it goes back to tossing more 3D teeth and scales at the screen. It does later, however, seem to have quite some fun smashing up said glossily corporate park.
The essential question must be: does the dino action measure up?
More or less, yes. It’s silly to hope for the sweeping sense of spectacle or the genuine shivers of the first picture, especially given that Jurassic World pitches itself as part of a jaded, over-it world. Many set-pieces, not least a certain headlong motorbike chase, tip into outright daftness, but then again – what else did we really sign up for?
It’s a little hollow at the heart, but if you wanted to see pterosaurs (literally) tearing it up and velociraptors doing their horrifying thing – but this time at the behest of a dude with a training clicker – you’ve come to the right theme park.
Jurassic World | Directed by Colin Trevorrow (USA 2015) with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard. Starts June 11