DVD Review: Jurassic World

Long before the first extra is eaten in “Jurassic Park” you have a couple of realizations. First, you understand as never before that “King Kong” (1933) said it all. Second, you see that this fourth iteration of Spielberg’s “Jurassic” series is an unwitting self-parody.

We are back on Isla Nublar off the shore of Costa Rica. The dinosaur theme park we visited 22 years ago is bigger and better than ever despite the raptors-run-amok catastrophes that were served up in Jurassics I, II and III. Clearly, Isla Nublar is innocent of OSHA oversight.

As the action and foreshadowing get under way, we come to understand that the crowds have grown weary of the T-Rex and Triceratops. In order to be an international draw and remain competitive — with what? Six Flags Over Texas? — the marketing department at Jurassic World cooks up a new, genetically modified critter: Indominus Rex. Its DNA, RNA and LOL are not so much dinosaur as Godzilla. This is the bad ass King of the Jungle. Compared to this guy, the most alienated Allosaurus and vindictive Velociraptor look like Lady and the Tramp. Sure hope this bad boy doesn’t break loose and commence depopulating the ol’ Isla. Whoops!

This is where the self-parody is so thick you could cut it with a machete. The Jurassic series, like the theme park at its core, has become ho-hum to a generation so steeped in CGI, muscle and skin simulations (Gollum in “The Hobbit”) and awesome animatronics and animation (“Avatar”) that you have to go that extra mile to generate thrills.

If the monster is like something you’ve never seen before (it isn’t), the cast is all too familiar: two nice kids on vacation who nearly end up on the menu, a hunky animal trainer who respects nature, an icy workaholic who values her company’s market share above all else, a shadowy backer who envisions military application of merciless dinosaurs and a Dr. Henry Wu, the genome juggler in the lab who needs to get a life — a real life with people in it.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron’s daughter) are the love interest. Not bad.

And just as everything’s going to heck, Wu is helicoptered off the Isla with dinosaur embryos, lest his research be lost. Not good.

Which explains why a “Jurassic World” sequel is due out in 2018. Worse.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]

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