It is no wonder that, Jurassic World, the fourth film in the Jurassic films franchise, is taking the global box-office by storm. It is a given that a wide motley of people will turn up to watch it. To begin with, there will be those who are still hung over the original 1993 Spielberg classic “Jurassic Park” and will come to compare the new with the old and gravely nod their heads. Then there will be the monster film junkies, who get a kick seeing immense creatures shred helpless humans to bits, they will be the ones who will cheer the most at the man and animal conflict scenes so formulaic to the franchise. Inevitably, there will be a sizeable chunk of kids, there for the 3D spectacle involving dinosaurs. Adding to these groups will be a fourth sort, among the Indian audience, who will be there to watch Irrfan Khan. For indeed our very own actor par excellence hogs quite a bit of the screen-time in this blockbuster production, that too in a pivotal role.
Jurassic World begins in rather quotidian circumstances, with a pair of parents bidding farewell to their vacationing kids. It is only when at the airport, the mother is painfully made to mouth, “And remember, something chases you, run!” one knows they are in the right theatre. For only in a monster movie can a mother be blasé about letting her children go alone to a theme park that has dinosaurs in it. Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), the siblings, are not only visiting the park, but their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), an uptight control freak, is very aptly, the park’s operations manager. 22 years after the disaster in Jurassic Park, this film finds Isla Nubar as a fully functional theme park, but obviously, not for long. The catch comes in the form of waning public interest in the park and the need for something new. Claire dramatically explains to potential investors, that due to huge leaps in genetics, the park has come up with its very own genetically modified hybrid dinosaur. As the film progresses, and this said hybrid rather predictably wreaks havoc in the well-controlled park, the audience gets to know of the various genomes that went into the making of this new breed. With the base genome of Tyrannosaurus Rex, it has a little of cuttlefish, a bit of tree frog, a pinch of raptor, and perhaps some of Lady Gaga too, one wonders, given its odd appearance: a mixture of T Rex and a scaly fish, with spines on its back.
Thereafter, Indominus Rex – that is what the hybrid is quite originally named – pulls the plot forward on its tiny forearms, having quite intelligently ambushed the humans that had isolated it in an enclosure. Here comes in Owen Grady — a confident Chris Pratt recycling his Guardians of the Galaxy charismatic swagger — the film’s swashbuckling heroic figure who stays just on the right side of our nerves because he claims to understand that man cannot tame nature. Grady’s character, a raptor trainer, keeps the machismo quotient in the film going whether he is standing up against the sinister Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), with his plans to turn the raptors into a military asset, or against Claire’s cute proclamations at authority which he bypasses, albeit charmingly. The siblings do their stock part of being the curious young, who land them selves in trouble and give the film its share of adrenaline by narrowly escaping Indominus’s fatal claws.
The film also has parallel concerns, which is obvious in the way the exotic Isla Nubar, with its wondrous population of dinosaurs, functions like any other theme park. In one scene, a humongous Mososaurus—an aquatic dinosaur of some sort—is fed a shark to delight the audience, in the same manner a dolphin does in an aquatic park. Yet another scene shows children taking rides on other friendly species of herbivorous dinosaurs. By the time the film winds up, Indominus Rex, comes to embody the greedy spirit of consumerism, as it enthusiastically fulfils Grady’s prophecy that, it “will kill anything that moves”. All the characters in the film, with the exception of perhaps, Grady, Gray – the younger brother – and Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) – the owner of Jurassic World – seem to be wearing the blinkers of a materialistic culture that keeps them high-strung with the need for more, while inuring them to the organic charms of the park that could be a natural reserve.
But, despite trying to layer an essentially visceral action adventure with such universal themes, Colin Trevorrow fails to bring Jurassic World out of the original classic’s shadows. One of the film’s more cinematic moments takes place around the old ruins of the actual Jurassic Park’s visiting centre, while John Hammond’s sceptre doggedly looms over the going-ons, making this installment more of a tribute to the old film.
Quite early on in the film, Owen Grady observes, “You just went and made a new dinosaur! Probably not a good idea.” This holds true of Jurassic World which besides scoring on making the film an admirable 3D vision, cannot with all its purported advance in technology, add anything of its own to the original realm of dinosaurs that Spielberg had opened for us. Each scene of the dinosaurs roaming or killing, are reminiscent of Jurassic Park, only on a much expanded scale. And what’s more, Trevorrow himself might have realized that, for he reserved the appearance of the much-loved Tyrannosaurus till the end, to give his film a poetic climax.
Watch it if you have been starved of seeing realistic dinosaurs on screen for a long while.