When Jurassic Park hit the big screen in 1993, it was pretty pioneering stuff. For the first time dinosaurs on screen looked like real dinosaurs. Insofar as we have any idea what dinosaurs actually looked like. And it’s fair to say there is still some debate in that area. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park don’t have feathers, for example. Which actual dinosaurs might have had. Or they might not. I don’t know. I’m hardly an expert on dinosaurs.
The point is that the Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park looked, moved and sounded like an actual animal that could exist. And a pretty scary one at that.
And so, thanks to CGI, the game was changed in terms of what it was possible to bring to our screens. Which in no small way lead to the Star Wars Prequel trilogy. But it wasn’t all bad. CGI has been responsible for some good films too.
Unfortunately the wow factor that came with Jurassic Park was somewhat lost in its sequels, because however impressive a velociraptor is the first time you see one on screen, it’s not quite as awe-inspiring the second or third time around. The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3, therefore had to rely a little more on storytelling to win audiences over, and in this regard they were not as successful as they might have been.
Consequently, 2015’s sort-of-sequel, sort-of-reboot to the franchise, Jurassic World was a risky proposition. No doubt special effects have moved on significantly since 1993, but while aficionados of the art might be able to appreciate how much better they all are, most of us are still only going to see the same dinosaurs that we saw in the preceding three movies.
And to quote a line from this movie, “no-one is impressed by dinosaurs anymore”.
Fortunately Jurassic World does try to do something different to the original movies, in that, for the first time in the franchise, the dinosaur theme park is no longer a bad idea waiting to be realised but instead a fully functioning attraction open to the public.
Which predictably leads to carnage, although, thanks to the heroic actions of Owen and Claire (an eminently likeable Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard), the carnage is less horrific than it might have been.
It could never be as groundbreaking as the original, but Jurassic World is far better than it probably should be. If you’re after a couple of hours of mindless entertainment, you could definitely do worse.
Score for Christmasishness
Jurassic World was ostensibly a summer blockbuster and should have no business featuring in a list of Christmas(ish) films. And for most of its running time there is absolutely no reason to think of this as a movie that is predominantly set at Christmas time. But early scenes of the obligatory annoying kids, before they set off for the theme park, suggest that it is very much Christmas time, not least because Christmas music is playing in the background. The owners of the theme park clearly see no need to cash in on the time of year, because Christmas is never referenced again. But it is definitely Christmas time nonetheless and so Jurassic World makes the cut for my compendium of Christmas(ish) films.