Hollywood’s willingness to re-boot a blockbuster has no limit. It’s been more than twenty years since Steven Spielberg brought the dinosaurs back to life in Jurassic Park and you’d think that, given the astounding developments in CGI etc in the meantime, a newer take on the theme would be even more convincing in its realism. Curiously, it’s not. Even more curiously, it doesn’t matter a jot, for this is a fab movie with or without caveats and comparisons.
We are back at the same island off the coast of Costa Rica and the Park is now a mega-resort with the main attraction a hybrid monster created by the company’s scientists. It escapes from its enclosure, goes berko and threatens the lives of thousands of rubber-neckers (which is what we’ve come to see, after all). Surely it’s not too much of a stretch to read into events the analogy that the West, by its meddling and manipulation of not fully understood forces, is responsible for the calamitous conflicts it finds itself in.
This idea is underlined by the mercenary Hoskins’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) plan to employ the velociraptors as military weapons. Disregarding that interpretation, what we have here is a classic ‘Satdy arvo matinee’ adventure. As the hero who will save the day, Chris Pratt is a revelation. Previously a nondescript actor tooling around in Marvel’s recent brain-dead Guardians of the Galaxy, he is wry, likeable and at all times in step with director Colin Trevorrow’s obvious intention to not let his film take itself too seriously. Bryce Dallas Howard is just right, too, as the glamorous redhead who gets caught up in the mayhem with him, running through the jungle in stilettos and morphing sexily from exec to Amazon. It’s a hoot when the pterodactyls get out of their domed aviary to swoop on the squealing punters and the coup de grace of the climactic fight has a brilliantly withheld surprise. A number of references are quite properly made to Spielberg’s original, most notably in the use of John Williams’s majestic theme.