Sunday, 14 June 2015

Parks and Re-creation

How many times can the story of a group of humans trapped on an island with genetically restored dinosaurs be told?  Surely less than four...

In the 22 years since Jurassic Park we might have become a little blase about about dinosaurs and the magic which brought them back to life.

Cunningly, Jurassic World seems only too aware of this and the first half of the film is permeated with a sense of ennui about these wonderful animals. It's a metatextual observation on the potential mind-set of the cinema audience: sitting thinking they've seen it all before, watching theme park attendees sitting thinking they've seen it all before... and so on. Perhaps it works a little too well, because I started to believe it.  Bryce Dallas Howard's character makes the observation that in the space of 20 years children look at a triceratops the same way they would a circus elephant, and it cuts deep.

The film's second half needs to pick up the pace, show us something new and even make us care about the human characters.  It's a tall order, but certainly succeeds with the first two.  If the 'lead mammals' grow on you or not will be a matter of personal preference, but I was on the side of the dinosaurs from start to finish.  Indeed a most unlikely but deeply appropriate hero emerges to save the day at the very end, and it's wonderful to see him rightfully restored as the true emblem of this franchise (as has always been the case in the branding).

The climax is truely exciting, and ultimately very satisfying, showing last year's limp Godzilla how a 'monster-off' should be done (with 'more teeth').  Another smart decision is to realise that John William's famous music score cannot be improved upon - so to not even try.

Like the scripted genetic procedure for revivifying the saurians, once so fresh and engaging at the dawn of the 1990s, we have now grown accustomed to the digital wizardry which brings them to the screen.  Anything imagined can be put on film with high definition photo-realism, (and ubiquitous 3-D), making it almost impossible for film-makers to recreate the sense of wonder which we all shared with Sam Neill and Laura Dern back in 1993.

Jurassic World samples the preserved DNA of the original film (there are many deft and loving references), and splices it with the chromosomal material of contemporary cinema and technological innovation. And unlike the Park's new star attraction - it works.

This review is blog-spliced with an early Simian ancestor:
and En - kylosaurus:

This infographic ran last week  - 'click to embiggen', as they say...

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